Les DeMerle

Gypsy Rendezvous, Vol. 1

origin 82544



MUSIC REVIEW BY David Franklin, Cadence

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Drummer Les DeMerle's long career has included playingwith Harry James for a dozen years, fronting his own Fusiongroup for a time, and more recently leading various straight-ahead VOL. 1 ensembles. Gypsy Pacific, comprising violin, two guitars, and bass, is a unique Jazz band based in Maui, Hawaii. DeMerle happened tohear the quartet in a club there and one thing led to another. Many of the tracks do suggest the famous duo of violinist Stephane Grappelli and Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Sonny Rollins' "Pent Up House" and Charlie Parker's "Yardbird Suite," for example, sail by at breakneck speed with violinist Willie Wainwright and lead guitarist Tom Conway spinning virtuosic lines that swinghard and make good sense. And Django's own "Field Artillery" has the group digging in in a medium groove. But nine of the arrangements are vocals, seven of them by DeMerle's wife, Bonnie Eisele, two by the leader himself, and one by the two of them. The vocals vary in style from Les' cocky "St. Louis Blues" and hip "Do Nothin' ?Til You Hear From Me" to several songs, such as "Besame Mucho,"where Eisele sings the melody fairly straight and that lack any improvisation. But Eisele sings the ballads and the Jazzy up-tunes with the finesse and confidence that comes with experience. And on the slow songs, whether Wainwright is improvising or staying close to the melody, his gorgeous, silky tone is enchanting. David Choy joins the band for a soulful soprano saxophone excursion on"Swingin' Shepherd Blues." The final track finds DeMerle alone, demonstrating his deftness with a drum kit.








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