Monday, January 26, 2015

15th Anniversary of QUATRE TICKETS DE SWING

November last year, the Dutch string swing quartet in the ‘Django Reinhardt’ Hot Club  tradition, Quartre Tickets de Swing, celebrated its 15th anniversary. Below follows a short review of the career of the ensemble.

Georg Lankester
It was at the end of the Nineties of last century that guitarist Georg Lankester took the initiative to form - with three other Dutch musicians - a swing quartet in the ‘Hot Club’ style and he called it Quatre Tickets a French song from the mid Forties. They were inspired by the European Jazz which, in 1934, was created by the “Hot Club de France ‘ Quintet with the legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt & violinist Stéphane Grappelli. It was the first string jazz quintet and only around 1940 this changed in such a way that the violin was replaced by a clarinet. Their unforgettable swing style was – next to several other European groups -  in Belgium adopted by the great WASO quartet which, however, broke up around 1985  

Quartre Tickets de Swing in the beginning
Quatre Tickets de Swing chose for the same line-up as WASO : a reed man, two guitarists and a double bass player. And the enthousiasm of the formation soon brought a lot of performances. Moreover their first cd recordings were made, which in  addition to the many Django compositions included several track from the American ‘Swing’ period.

Quartre Tickets de Swing in ‘Monte Porzio’ near Rome, 2005
In 2005 the quartet was invited to play at an Italian Django-festival nearby Rome. A few years afterwards followed by a visit to the Vosges in France for several concerts. Again a new cd was issued with a variety of swing and ballads in the French way.

Quartre Tickets de Swing with singer Ita van Dijk
Since 2009 lady singer Ita van Dijk came to join the band till end 2013. Starting from 2014 she was succeeded by Inge Alberts and the band repertoire now  includes new songs, many of them again in the French language.

Quartre Tickets de Swing today with singer Inge Alberts
Apart from performances in theatres and jazz clubs, Quatre Tickets took part in the unique Guitar Festival 2014 in Enkhuizen (Holland) and launched their cd  called ‘Swinging and Singing. These recordings can be ordered by e-mail

The CD 'Swinging & Singing' by Quartre Tickets de Swing (click to enlarge)
In November 2014 special swing sessions were organised in Deventer to celebrate the band’s 15th anniversary, whereby several guest musicians were invited. Among them the Lammy Bruyn Combo (Swing Musette), several guest soloists and singers.  It was a swinging performance for a full house.

Quartre Tickets de Swing at the jubilee performance, November 2014
Here are the members of Quartre Tickets de Swing: Peter Swart (clar/sax), Georg Lankester (solo g), Arthur Siero (g), Eric  van Buysen (b), Inge Alberts (voc.). Together a swinging ensemble, listen to Quartre Tickets de Swing in the inserted audio-videos below.

Quartre Tickets de Swing plays ‘Swing 42’, a composition by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, enjoy!

Finally, Quartre Tickets de Swing with vocalist Inge Alberts plays the standard ‘For Me Formidable’ with lyrics in French, enjoy!

Further  info on Quartre Tickets de Swing available here or here 


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Monday, January 12, 2015

Jacob Fischer Trio - Two CDs Recorded In Two Days!

Jacob Fischer (photo: Ina Løndal)
The Danish jazz guitarist Jacob Fischer (b 1967) made his debut at the Copenhagen jazz festival at 17 and has since then been one of the hardest working musicians in Scandinavia. Jacob Fischer has worked with the best Scandinavian musicians as well as with visiting jazz greats. His versatile virtuosity can be heard on about 200 CDs. Since 1992 he has been a member of violin legend Svend Asmussens quartet and in 2008 he finally decided to release his first album in his own name, Jacob Fischer Trio featuring Svend Asmussen. This was followed by two more CDs by a Jacob Fischer Trio recorded in Copenhagen, in 2010 was released a CD titled Blues featuring Jacob Fischer's Organ Trio and in 2011 the CD titled Django - a tribute to the Gypsy legend featuring accordionist Francesco Cali. During a guest performance at The Fourth Annual Arbors Records Invitational Jazz Party (Fl., USA) in January 2012 Jacob Fischer recorded a CD titled Guitarist under his own name featuring fellow guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli in a quartet setting. More about the mentioned CDs at the official website, here.
Jacob Fischer (photo: Morten Langkilde)
Jacob Fischer has toured Scandinavia, Great Britain, Japan, Brazil and several European countries and he has recorded with internationally acclaimed musicians both in Denmark and abroad. In June 2013, he was in New York to record material for the Japanese Venus Records to be released in Japan, the recordings were done in two days, June 20 and 21, and the recorded material was released on two CDs in Japan later that year. Now the music of both CDs finally is available outside Japan and accessible for purchase at Amazon, Itunes a.o.
CD-front: My Romance (Venus Records, VHCD-1132)
As mentioned, the two days recording session in New York was released on two CDs, in all 25 tracks of which 13 are accessible on the shown My Romance, a tribute album to the inventive jazz piano player, Bill Evans. Jacob Fischer is accompanied by double bass player Martin Wind  and drummer Tim Horner, both acclaimed and New York based musicians.
Martin Wind - photo: All About Jazz web
The repertoire of the disc is concentrated on ballads and lyrical standards like the title tune by Richard Rodgers and there are four compositions in this genre by Bill Evans, "Time Remembered" and "Waltz For Debby", further "Show Type Tune" and "Interplay". Bill Evans and Miles Davis' collaboration is remembered in a reading of Davis' "Nardis" and modern jazz ballads like "I Fall In Love Too Easily" (Styne/Kahn), "My Foolish Heart" (V. Young), "Come Rain Or Come Shine" (H. Arlen) and "Polka Dots And Moonbeams" (J. Van Heusen) are also presented, the last mentioned as a solo guitar piece. A complete tracklist is available here.
Tim Horner - photo: Tim Horner website
The complex yet lyrical interpretation of the music reflects Bill Evans' ideas of using standard jazz tunes as a stepstone for reharmonisation and modulations of themes thus creating a tonal improvisation and motivic development of the music. This consept of jazz improvisation resembles the ideas applied by other modern jazz piano players like Thelonius Monk and Bud Powell, however, each of them are distinct and different in their own specific way, of course. Here on the CD by Jacob Fischer Trio no piano is playing, nevertheless Fischer's guitar playing reflects Evans' ideas convinsingly with great support by his two sidemen. Fischer's approach reminds me of fellow guitarist Lenny Breau, who also excelled in the exploration of jazz and standard tunes with ideas 
from the field developed by modern piano players like Bill Evans a.o..
CD-front: Black Orpheus (Venus Records, VHCD-1138)
The second CD from Jacob Fischer Trio recorded in the June 20 and 21 New York session is titled Black Orpheus  containing 12 tracks of Brazilian or Brazilian inspired tunes and may be considered a tribute to bossa nova and the roots of this style of music. Jacob Fischer, guitar, is again accompanied by Martin Wind on double bass, however, Brazilian drummer Duduka Da Fonseca has replaced Tim Horner.
Duduka Da Fonseca - photo: All About Jazz web
The title track of the CD refers to the famous 1959 film Orfeu Negro made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, set in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval. The film is particularly noted for its soundtrack by two Brazilian composers, Antônio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá, who - together with vocalist João Gilberto -  introduced the bossa nova internationally with this film. The music from the film has since been absorbed in the standard jazz repertoire and recorded numerous times by various artists. 
Original film poster (source: Wikipedia)
The tune "Black Orpheus" is also known as "Manhã de Carnaval", composed by Luiz Bonfá, and there is one more composition by Bonfá included, "Gentle Rain", which introduces the CD. A.C. Jobim is represented through five compositions - "Triste" (from the Black Orpheus film), "How Insensitive", "Once I Loved", "Desafinado" and "This Happy Madness" - the last mentioned here performed as a solo guitar piece. The remaining repertoire is represented by three compositions by choro mandolinist Jacob Bittencourt (aka Jacob do Bandolim) - "Assanhado", "Bole-Bole" and "Doce de Coco" - and two compositions by Jacob Fischer, "Little Teardrop" and "Sonho Carioca", both also recorded at the Django tribute CD from 2011 and reflecting Fischer's adoption of Brazilian choro. The trio again delivers a great musical output, the support of the rhythm section is excellent and Fischer's guitarplaying marvels throughout, his approach to this repertoire pays its due to other guitarists like Charlie Byrd and Gene Bertoncini a.o. as well as modern jazz influence, however, arrangements and interpretation are his own.

The music on the two mentioned CDs is a splendid example of the span of Jacob Fischer's musical universe and his capacity as a musician and guitarist, here exposed in a trio setting that shows off the best both in solo playing and support. Highly recommended!


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