« Inventive biguines » by RocknReel

Clarinettist and bandleader Ernst was a leading figure on the French Carribean music scene in Paris by the 50s, having been a member of Stellio’s band when the music first got onto wax at the end of the 20s. The first CD of this two-disc collection is a textbook example of how good this music can be, a collection of mainly driving, endlessly inventive biguines, including some older items from the Antillean repertoire. Unfortunately the second CD is much more inconsistent, featuring the band playing « tropical » music (a hazard for Carribean bands in the 50s) behind a succession of vocalists of varying ability and aptitude ; Gilles Sala and André Salvador (brother of the better known Henri) are fine, but the others … Buy this one of the first CD ; the second is for historical interest rather than listening pleasure. Norman DARWEN – ROCKNREEL