« Lovely stuff » par Rock’n’Reel

The subtitle of this release is « Biguines & Mazurkas Créoles Today », which is accurate – though not completely so. Many French Antillean bands include an occasional beguine or mazurka in their repertoire, performed in a modern fashion, but this is a little different: Coeur De Chauffe is a band under the leadership of Gérard Tarquin, clarinettist with famed French jazz band Les Haricots Rouges – who once opened for The Beatles. Gérard was born in Paris but his father was from Martinique and he grew up in a family with a strong Créole infrastructure. He long dreamed of making an album of the music of the islands, and this lovely – no other word for it – CD is the result. The production is modern but the music is timeless, drawing on the classic repertoire of Paris’s Caribbean club and dancehalls from the 20s to the 50s. A little akin to New Orleans jazz, the leader’s clarinet is steeped in the classic sound, which is hardly surprising as he was taught by Eugene Delouche, one of the pioneer recording artists, and he also handles the bulk of the vocals, though songstress Maura Michelon also makes a fine contribution, and fellow Antillean Roland Pierre-Charles ups the French sounding quotient with some accordion playing that recalls – more or less equally – French café society and Louisiana bayous. This is a bygone sound played with a vibrant and affectionate though not over reverent approach. As I said, lovely stuff.
Norman Darwen – ROCK’N’REEL