“delightfully unpredictable” by The New York City Jazz Record

“Orphéon Célesta is a French quartet with a consistently humorous take on swing, drawing on direct or indirect influences ranging from Slim & Slam, Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Cab Calloway to the satirical Spike Jones. Orphéon Célesta have their Francophile influences as well, including cabaret singer Maurice Chevalier. When they aren’t offering wordless scat vocals, Orphéon Célesta sing in French (or occasionally English). The quartet consists of leader Emmanuel Hussenot (alto saxophone, flute, trumpet, kazoo and vocals), Christian Ponard (banjo, acoustic guitar, cornet, kazoo and vocals), Patrick Perrin (tuba, kazoo and vocals) and Romain Ponard (drums, washboard, percussion and vocals). The combinations of instruments vary, helping to make the CD delightfully unpredictable. Some of Orphéon Célesta’s groove-oriented songs draw on post ‘40s influences. “Chat Bada”, for example, incorporates the vocal group harmonies of ‘50s doowop while “L’Asile” combines French lyrics with a Brazilian bossa nova beat. But most of Cuisine au Jazz’ inspiration comes from the ‘30s-40s. “Flic Flac Faut d’l’Eau” is mindful of Slim & Slam’s 1938 hit “Flat Foot Floogie” and “Flic Stompers” recalls Calloway’s Depression-era hits. “Pocket Basie” is a quirky, smallgroup tribute to big band leader Count Basie. Orphéon Célesta parody France’s chanson genre on “Les Fleurs Sont Moches” and “Sleepy Crooner”, which sounds like an oddball combination of Spike Jones, French pop and the Peter DeRose-Mitchell Parish standard “Deep Purple”. “La Chorale des Oiseaux” gives Jones’ ‘40s recordings a run for their money in the goofiness department, with the band emulating the sounds of various fowl. And they aren’t any less eccentric on “Marche Turque” or “Une Chanson Douce”. But for all its madcappery, Cuisine au Jazz is quite accessible.”