CD Reviews

MusicWeb International

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Reviewers: Tony Augarde, Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

[ Jazz index ] [Nostalgia index]  [ Classical MusicWeb ] [ Gerard Hoffnung ]

AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Roby Lakatos and Biréli Lagrène

Tribute to Stéphane & Django

AVANTIJAZZ 5414706 10532 (CD/SACD)

A VANTIJAZZ 5414706 1053-3 (DVD, 16:9 widescreen, Region free)



Roby Lakatos – violin and drums*

Biréli Lagrène – guitar

Andreas Carady – guitar

Niek de Bruijn – drums

Modern Art Orchestra

Kornél Fekete-Kovács – leader

Djangoligy (Reinhardt & Grappelli)

Tears (Reinhardt & Grappelli)

Nuages (Reinhardt)

Troublant Boléro (Reinhardt)

Mr Grappelli (Lakatos)

Minor Swing (Reinhardt & Grappelli)

Mimosa (Dorado Schmitt & Hono Winterstein)

Nuits de Saint Germain-des-près (Reinhardt)

Stella by Starlight (Victor Young)

Cherokee* (Ray Noble)

Violinist Roby Lakatos has long sailed an individualist path between the worlds of gypsy and classical music, including releases on the Deutsche Grammophon label, and more recently a quirky Vivaldi Four Seasons on the Avanticlassic label ( review ). Recorded live at the Marriott Hotel in Budapest in October 2014, Lakatos here joins his contemporary, guitarist Biréli Lagrène, for a full-on tribute to Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt.

This recording documents a spectacular concert backed by the superbly disciplined Modern Art Orchestra on top form. The atmosphere is one of mutual respect and friendship amongst musicians, Roby Lakatos writing about his first meetings with Biréli Lagrène in Paris while playing alongside Stéphane Grappelli in Paris. The two played concerts together with the Big Band of the Hessischer Rundfunk and have been 'like brothers' ever since. The younger generation of top jazz musicians is represented by guitarist Andreas Varady, a talent signed by Quincy Jones at the age of 16, and drummer Niek de Bruijn who had substituted for his teacher Hans van Oosterhout and became an immediate hit with Lakatos.

The programme is a well-recorded and nicely contrasting set, opening with a high-impact rendition of Djangology, and paring down the sound with laid-back numbers such as Nuages and some nice duet playing in Troublant Boléro. Lakatos has Grappelli's fluent and loose-limbed style well under his fingers, and "speed demon" Lagrène, while less in evidence note-for-note over the whole album than Lakatos, conjures Django Reinhardt's nimble lines without being a pale soundalike. His witty throw-in classical references in Minor Swing are a delight, and the technical fireworks displayed on something like Mimosa are not only breathtaking but always supremely musical.

The musicians are introduced to warm applause just before the final trach, Cherokee, in which Lakatos gets a chance to show his prowess as a drummer, and there is also a fine trumpet solo from band leader Fekete-Kovács Kornél. Audience noise is kept to a minimum, and certainly never intrudes while the music is ongoing. The DVD version reproduces the CD/SACD without any extras, showing the musicians on a pretty cramped stage, but with plenty of useful camera angles reflecting their sense of fun and showing that artistic interaction which makes this recording rather special.

Dominy Clements


Return to Index