The latest album by gypsy jazz guitarist Wawau Adler shows his wide range of musical influences. The ensemble here is the drum-less, three guitar, double bass and violin format popularized by Django Reinhardt’s Quintette Du Hot Club De France. We have the amazing Hono Winterstein on rhythm guitar, bassist Joel Loche, violist Alexandre Cavaliere and guitarist Denis Chang.
The album begins with For Leo, a driving up tempo swing Wawau Adler original that establishes the mood of this album. The unison melody played by guitar & violin blends perfectly too! Then, we hear a bass solo from Joel Locher, followed by a great solo by Alexandre Cavaliere before the first guitar solo on the album leads up back to the head.
Following that, the mood changes with the beautiful ballad by Luis Gasté entitled Le Soir. The trading section at the end of the piece is a highlight as we hear a great musical conversation between the guitar & violin.
Wawau’s tune Jazzy Populair is up next with the catchy melody. This time we get to hear Wawau stretch out on a Gibson electric guitar (with George Benson influences) outlining the chord changes with impeccable time. Alexandre’s violin solo here is a delight as well before we hear the melody again.
With Manoir de mes Rêves (Django Reinhardt) – this tune sounds great with this ensemble’s interpretation. Some may know this piece as “Django’s Castle” although the French title actually translates to “Manor of my dreams” or “Castle of my dreams”.
For Holzmanno is next with the pulsing rhythm and a melody that plays with the space. Love the expressive violin & guitar solos here as well!
Ray Noble’s Cherokee makes an appearance as track 6. Even at this fast tempo, the improvisations are melodic and tasteful.
The title track, I Play With You brings the mood into a introspective feeling as the violin & guitar melody plays. I particularly love the harmonics which punctuate the phrases at times (and at the end of the piece too). It is a treat to hear Wawau’s originals on this album.
What Is This Thing Called Love begins slow and then goes into a faster tempo continuing with powerful playing throughout.
Wawau’s piece Martinique again bring us into a different realm with Wawau playing electric guitar again. The rhythmically bouncy opening lines by Wawau in his guitar solo sounds great to set the vibe before he goes into a mix of bebop and blues influenced soloing. The double time guitar lines are just the right intensity before we hear the violin take a solo again. Wawau’s chordal stabs are much like horn hits answering the violin with the stable duel guitar in the background. The cadenza at the end sounds great too. Love the lines!
La Belle Vie is filled with a lot of tasty soloing as the ensemble keeps the head nodding pulse going. Between the double time lines, rhythmically powerful hits & bluesy phrases, there’s a lot to love in this piece.
Samois Sur Seine is a romantic piece that takes us to the town to which Django Reinhardt retired (and the site of the famous annual music festival). The tremolo strums during the violin solo are a nice texture before the double stops take over during the guitar solo. For me, these tasteful musical choices are a real highlight to this piece.
Rodgers and Hart’s Chicago closes the album on an upbeat feeling & virtuosic playing in the guitar solo. I also love the trading section, which although relatively brief, sounded great! A fitting end to a great album.
In conclusion, this is a wonderful album that is a worthy addition to the library for any gypsy jazz fan. The focus here througout is great music, well played. Whether you are an avid music listener of this style or play some gypsy jazz guitar yourself, definitely get this record!
Wawau Adler | guitar, compositions
Denis Chang | guitar
Hono Winterstein | rhythm guitar
Joel Locher | bass
Alexandre Cavaliere | violin
Manoir Des Mes Reves
I Play With You
What Is This Thing Called Love
La Belle Vie
Samois Sur Senne
Find more information about Wawau Adler where you can stream, purchase & download his albums at his official website here: https://wawau-adler.com/en/
I received a complimentary advance copy of this album courtesy of Liam of Jazzfuel. Thank you for the CD.
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
If you are an artist, record label or press outreach interested for me to feature your new release on this site, please email me at azsamad3 at gmail dot com.
I prefer physical CD submissions whenever possible alongside streaming/download links. Do not attach any files to the email but include Dropbox/Google Drive links.
I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p
NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. Thanks!
About Wawau Adler
Wawau Adler is internationally known as an outstanding Gypsy Jazz guitarist. He was born Josef Adler in 1967 in Karlsruhe. Adler took to the guitar at the age of nine and gave his first concert when he was only 13 years old. Today, Adler is regarded as one of the best Gypsy Jazz guitarists globally, devoted to Jazz Manouche also known as Gypsy Swing. This was the first Jazz Style with European roots, created by Belgian-born guitarist Django Reinhardt, who brought it to fame in the 1930s.
Adler released his first CD Wawau Adler – With Body and Soul with Bella Musica in 1991, which was inspired by Bebop and Jazz Rock. Throughout the nineties he toured Germany and Switzerland.
At the world-famous Gypsy Jazz festival, the Django Reinhardt festival Samois sur Seine in France he made his debut in 2003. In 2006 his album Wawau Adler – Back to the Roots was released by Satin Doll Records. Holzmano Winterstein, Joel Locher and the accordion virtuoso Marcel Loeffler accompany him on this album. Various live performances in Germany, Italy and France followed.
Through Jazz Manouche, Wawau Adler reached international fame and the American music scene takes notice of him. The album Back to the Roots Vol 2 became another great success in America in 2007 and in June of the same year he performed at the Django Festival in Northampton, USA. His appearance on a radio show in Albany with guitarist Ted Gottsegen was broadcasted live in sixteen US states. Between concerts he also gave Gypsy-Jazz guitar workshops to the delight of his American fans. In 2008, Adler toured Canada, performing for instance at the famous jazz club UPSTAIRS in Montreal. Other stops included Quebec City, Val David and St. Therese. At the same time Wayne Nakamura and Denis Chang produce the DVD Jazz Manouche – In the Style of Wawau Adler (www.hyperhipmedia.com).
From 2009, Wawau Adler appears as one of the main acts at festivals across Europe giving countless concerts in Denmark, Croatia, France, Austria and Germany, among others. In 2009 he also released the CD Songs for Guitar and Bass, Wawau Adler & Joel Locher and Here’s to Django with Minor Music Records in 2010 for the 100th anniversary of Django Reinhardt.
In 2020, Adler celebrates his 40-year anniversary as a performer with a new album release for the occasion. His dedication to the Django Style is second to none and songs like Happy Birthday Django 110 honour the deceased artists on his 110th anniversary. Adler’s interpretations are impressive, without alienating or copying. Numerous live performances are on his agenda for 2020.