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This week: new discs by Lumiere and the White Hots

Music reviews - 12-27-06 

This week: new discs by Lumiere and the White Hots

Untitled Document

 

Lumiere
At Last
Self-released

A custom Bernie Lehman guitar is a rare bird indeed. Rarer still are fingers that can really make one of these beauties sing. Lumiere’s Roy Berns has got 10 of ’em and they coax, caress, and cajole Django-esque phrases and rhythms of aching fire and beauty. Equally proficient are upright bassist Brian Williams, who brings the swing wherever he goes, and accordionist Ed Marris, whose digits give color to the melodious scene.

At Last is a beautiful departure; you’re swept away instantly to all those images that gypsy jazz paints. Cafés, cobblestones, fresh bread, coffee, and hand-rolled cigarettes --- all props in Lumiere’s romantically picturesque music. The trio belies the music’s complexity with an unparalleled talent and elegance. At Last is both simple and essential.

--- Frank De Blase

 

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The White Hots featuring Tina Albright
Caught In The Act
Roll Records

Rochester’s sultans of swing, kings of cool, jesters of jazz, The White Hots are now sportin’ a skirt in the line up. The core quartet --- Aleks Disljenkovic, Steve Greene, Ted Mosher, and Tom Hanney --- has always encouraged guest musicians, affectionately referred to as “the relish” in live sets. The relish adds a little spontaneity to the band’s casual bop and wit. The relish comes and goes. Vocal relish Tina Albright is sticking around, however. Her dusky, mellow tone gives The White Hots a nice side of sultry.

Caught In The Act has the band exploring a few standards with ingenious augmentation, like a brilliant minor take on “Folsom Prison Blues” where Albright breathes the lyrics ala Julie London, or the band’s smart aleck march through Hank’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” complete with nose flute solo. Still the band’s originals shine brightest for me. Just dig guitarists Greene and Disljenkovic trade off licks on “Mechanical Pizza.” This is class act Caught In The Act.

--- Frank De Blase

  • This week: new discs by Lumiere and the White Hots

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