A Duo


A Duo


Straight ahead but veering off’ jazz by Matt Holborn and Kourosh Kanani


A Duo by Matt Holborn and Kourosh Kanani

Holborn and Kanani have been partners in jazz for more than a decade, taking the acoustic stylings of Django Reinhardt and the sound of Jazz Manouche as inspiration to create their own improvisational language.

A Duo is a snapshot in time, a culmination of 10 years of playing, thinking and talking about jazz together. A collection of some of their favourite jazz standards played with warmth, humour and care, an album of acoustic, ‘straight ahead but veering off’ Jazz.

Kourosh is of Iranian/Irish descent, growing up in Leeds, he learnt guitar from a young age picking up music from everywhere. Studying fingerstyle guitar and moving on to Django, then John Coltrane, Keith Jarrett, Iranian Classical Music and Karnatic Rhythm; Kourosh is an eclectic and powerful guitarist who has toured the world both as a performer and a teacher..

Matt is a Hull born, Edinburgh raised violinist. Learning classical music as a child before finding jazz and improvised music. A consummate performer who has entrenched himself in the study of Jazz, various forms of Romani and Eastern European fiddle styles and Hindustani Classical music. Matt has played all over the world, recorded on countless albums and also runs the Jazz Violin Podcast.






A Duo by Matt Holborn and Kourosh Kanani
Lejazzetal Records is a guarantee of quality and this new album by Matt Holborn and Kourosh Kanani more than measures up to the label’s exacting standards. A Duo presents violinist Holborn and guitarist Kanani playing a set of eight Manouche-to-swinging standards and each one is a gem. Holborn and Kanani have worked together for something like ten years and it shows on this digital-only release.

From Cole Porter’s opening All of You to a sublime set-closing I Fall in Love Too Easily, it’s evident the musicians respect and trust one another’s abilities as first one, then the other, conjures an immaculate solo anchored by their partner’s empathetic rhythmic support. The recording quality is first rate: the sound of Kanani’s fingers on the fretboard evokes an up-close, front row feel, prompting the thought that Holborn and Kanani should be heard in concert. Until the opportunity arises (hopefully Holborn and Kanani will tour the material!) downloading the album is the thing to do. www.lejazzetal.com. Russell

Track listing: All of You; Double Scotch; You and the Night and the Music; Melodie Au Crepuscule; Someday My Prince Will Come; Butch and Butch; How About You?; I Fall in Love Too Easily.

A Duo by Matt Holborn and Kourosh Kanani
Violinist Matt Holborn and guitarist Kourosh Kanani present a delightful set of standards given their own intensive and engaging treatment. The results are a treat for the ear, with a depth of repertoire and style showing their experience and communication.
Talk of a violin/guitar duo instantly suggests the seminal pairing of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt with the Quintette du Hot Club de France, and this is indeed the jumping off point here. However, it’s far from the end point. Holborn and Kanani have been playing together for more than a decade and clearly have a mutual understanding and relationship that has evolved on the bandstand in the kind of hard-sweating way that gives them a real head-start when it comes to putting down their ideas on record.
Kourosh Kanani grew up in Leeds of Iranian/Irish descent and has explored many musical facets from John Coltrane to Iranian classical music. He show real dexterity on his acoustic guitar, including delicious modulations and substitutions alongside a fine pounding ‘pompe’ rhythm which he deploys judiciously. Matt Holborn was born in Hull, raised in Edinburgh and has also explored a variety of musical styles including Eastern European and Hindustani. He also runs the Jazz Violin podcast (well worth a listen if you’re at all keen on jazz fiddle and its practitioners). Together they bring an exceptional range of possibilities to bear on their music.
Their repertoire is an important part of the equation on this recording. Yes, there are some classics of the jazz Manouche (gypsy) tradition among the eight tracks. Django Reinhardt takes a share of the spoils with the swinging Double Scotch, taken at a scorching pace with Kanani extending himself over the boppish harmonies. Reinhardt’s Melodie Au Crepescule is a calmer piece, Holborn finessing the melody over the generous guitar backing.
Alongside these we also get some standards from different eras of jazz; the opening All Of You moves out from its introduction into a satisfying swinger. Someday My Prince Will Come, so beloved of Bill Evans, is given a floating reading with a lovely ambiguity of beat, pushes and pulls, and a chance for both participants to shine. And when was the last time you heard Oliver Nelson’s bluesy Butch And Butch tackled in this format, my own favourite track on the album which has both Holborn and Kanani stretching out with some virtuosic phrase-swapping.

A Duo is only available as a download for now, releasing on 28 February 2022. A CD release may come later in the year. But please, don’t wait! This set has a great deal to offer, whether you are Manouche, mainstream or simply mad for beautifully performed jazz.

Additional information


Arrangements by Kourosh Kanani and Matt Holborn
Recorded at the Lightship Studios, London – May 27th 2021
Engineered and mixed by Dave Holmes
Mastered by Giles Barrett
Cover Photo by Pete Gavin
Cover art by Dave Kelbie


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