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CD Review: Orkest Polytour
le Roi des jongleurs

Jean-Pierre Guiran - Accordion, Vocals
Jan de Jong - Solo Guitar
Stefan de Ridder - Rhythm Guitar
Lion Van - Double Bass


J'ai rendez-vous avec vous (G. Brassens) 2:58
Le Bal de la Marine (F. Deguelt / J.P. Mottier) 4:09
Djangology (D. Reinhardt & S. Grappelli) 2:59
Les Feuilles Mortes (J. Kosma / J. Prevert) 5:37
Coeur Vagabond (J. Colombo) 3:11
Douce France (C. Trenet) 3:46
Menilmontant (C. Trenet) 3:00
Softly as in a Morning Sunrise (S. Romberg) 4:22
J'attendrai (D. Olivieri / L. Poterat) 3:04
Le Vent (G. Brassen) 2:01
L'Indifference (J. Colombo / T. Murena) 3:29
Le Roi des Jongleurs (B. Bernie, K. Casey & M. Pinkard / P. Amel) 2:52
My Blue Heaven (W. Donaldson) 2:38
Les Amoureux des Banc Publics (G. Brassens) 5:07
Le Danseur de Charleston (P. Clay . J.P. Moulin) 3:13
La Chansonnette (Yves Montand) 3:26
Polytour (J.P. Guiran) 2:51
Lucia (J. de Jong) 3:39

total time: 62:16
release date: 1997
review date: January 2000

label: POL002
Order from: J. P. Guiran
Langbroekerdijk 14, 3972 ND
Driebergen, the Netherlands
tel +31-343-533787
fax +31-343-533845

Review by Thomas Fabinski

This is what Art Van Damme would sound like if you strapped a musette to him. Jean-Pierre makes his accordion sing - his phrasing and vibrato make it a natural accompaniment to his own voice. Lion Van on double bass and Stefan de Ridder on rhythm guitar provide all the drive of a drummer.

This is the debut album of Polytour - "The King of the Jugglers" - a skillful juggling of French musette waltzes, chansons and the music of guitarist Django Reinhardt. The french song, chanson, began around 1880 in the cabarets at Monmartre. Back then the bagpipe was the featured instrument. The accordion later replaced the bagpipe in the chanson. Then around 1934, Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli combined to mix jazz, European salon music, and gypsy elements. This new admixture was poured back into the chanson to produce these wonderful sounds. J-P formed this group in 1995 in an attempt to combine the rhythm of the "Bubblin' Toorop Trio" and the subtle melancholy of "Accordion Melancolique."

There is a very live presence on this recording due to the vocalist being placed closest to the two microphones and the bass being placed the furthest. There seems to be very little sound processing using in the recording. Only the live dynamics of the musicians is heard. No sterile electronics. But what you will hear and experience is the fun and joy of being there with Polytour in creating this CD.

The tune Le Roi des Jongleurs is an improvisation based on Sweet Georgia Brown. Les Feuilles Mortes is Autumn Leaves. Les Amoureux des Banc Publics is The Love of Public Banks. (Just kidding - I think.) But the point is there is no point or need to translate the French lyrics. I'm sure these tunes would lose their charm if they weren't sung in French. The Dutch national radio network, AVRO, used one of the tracks from this CD. And the promotional material which J-P sent indicates that it's been played in Canada, Australia, France, Ireland and Holland.

Let me share with you this tribute penned by Yaron Hallis, the host of the Sydney radio show, "The Hot Club" - "I absolutely love the Polytour CD. It is one of my favourite CDs, and I play it regularly on my show. Finally, let me tell you that a few months ago I had a big car accident, which nearly destroyed my car, and guess what CD I was playing in my car at the time of impact - Polytour! So, there the car was, on the side of the road, completely bashed, with Polytour blazing out of the windows!!! Let me tell you, it's great music to have a car-crash to!"

You may draw your own conclusions from this testimonial. But I assure you that just like a car accident, you won't soon forget this group. Well, that's not quite right either. Let's just say that Polytour smashes through the cookie-cutter musical blandness of American Pop and Jazz. Do yourself a favor - buy the CD and skip the car accident. Let Orkest Polytour's transfusion of musical joy be your rescue.

Orkest Polytour has some MP3 sound samples and stream real audio at - check it out for yourself.

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