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January 22, 2006

CD Review Gerry Beaudoin Trio and Swing Cafe

Written by
cindy mcleod

CD Review – Swing Jazz
The Gerry Beaudoin Trio
‘Swing Cafe’
North Star Records Inc./2005

From the opening bars of ‘Swing Cafe straight through to the lingering finish, this is a CD of superb quality and utter musicality. Guitarist Gerry Beaudoin leads his trio and a world class ensemble of friends through this delightful swing journey, tastefully presented in an intimate combo setting.

Beaudoin, who is a virtuoso in his own right, has invited the legendary guitarist and master of the genre Bucky Pizzarelli, iconic mandolinist David Grisman, blues guitar giant Duke Robillard, and jazz clarinetist Billy Novick to join him for this choice collection of standards and originals. He works with two rhythm sections throughout, made up of bassists Bob Nieske and Marty Ballou, and drummers Grover Mooney and Chuck Laire.

Six of the tracks are remixed and remastered from Beaudoin’s out of print (and now cult classics) recordings, the rest recorded in Boston. They seamlessly fit together, for the sound is the binding factor, a buoyant, effervescent and joyful expression delivered in a most congenial manner. Beaudoin contributes five original compositions to the project, with the rest coming from the pens of Duke Ellington, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Sonny Rollins, Errol Garner, and famed R&B artist Bill Withers.

Swing is the operative word here, and the Duke himself smiles down upon the Robillard/Grisman dialogue on ‘In a Mellow Tone’, and Novick/Pizzarelli mix on ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’. Grisman and Beaudoin shine on a rollicking version of Sonny Rollin’s ‘St. Thomas, while drummer Mooney produces some fine stick work on his solo. Grisman, who graces seven of the tracks with his innovative voice, produces a funky version of Wither’s ‘Aint No Sunshine’, and a luminous take of Garner’s ‘Misty’. The mystical ‘Django’s Castle’brings a European flavour to the recording, with a Gypsy tremolo gently suspending the alternate voices of Beaudoin and Grisman. Beaudoin’s ‘Airola’ heads into a contemporary Latin feel, with the artist conversing with Grisman’s mandolin in a loose and fluid groove.

Textural, clean, and distinctive, this amalgam of voices carries the message of jazz and defines an era. The CD cover promises ‘cool swingin’ jazz’, and doesn’t fail to deliver.

To purchase Swing Cafe’ visit the CD Baby website at:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/beaudoin5

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