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JAZZ MANOUCHE FRANCE
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|The Guardian UK||
Dave Kelbie's rhythm guitar is the motor tonight, providing a strict, subtle pulse – whatever the tempo. Pete Kubryk-Townsend's bass parts are rarely flashy, but take advantage of the freedom provided by Kelbie's solid four, with occasional vocalised arco playing. Christian Garrick has settled on a violin style compatible with the idiom without pastiching the sweet tones of Grappelli.
Debarre is something else: a lean, dark, seated figure, cradling his guitar – motionless apart from his hands and fingers, which fly around the instrument at speed. Such virtuosity is not a decoration, but essential to Debarre's artistry, turning sentimental swingers such as I'll See You in My Dreams into bittersweet sonatas.
The set list draws heavily on the early jazz repertoire: Limehouse Blues, Ol' Man River and fine Reinhardt compositions such as Tears and Place de Brouckere. The three-part Porta Cabello demonstrates Debarre's assured playing at a slow tempo before charging into hot solos for guitar and violin. A version of the Sheik of Araby prompts a quirky, clipped outing from Debarre, while Impromptu provides the starting point for another dazzling display.
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