Don’t let this band’s scary French name make you run for the closet.
They are truly generous in their offerings of joy, as they proved lavishly last Thursday at the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco.
This imaginative quartet is Vic Wong, guitar; Benito Cortez, violin; Nick Christie, rhythm guitar; Daniel Fabricant, string bass.
And in their mix of standards and less-known material, they embody the great virtues of memorable swing improvisation: a speaking eloquence in their solos, delightful ensemble interplay; extraordinary subtlety in their dynamics, tempos, and shadings, and a real understanding of how deeply listeners need melodies. Although the members of the group look youthful, they are mature improvisers with well-developed imaginations, ears, hearts, and wit. But I will let the music speak for itself:
An opening built from two songs, played back-to-back (something other bands could learn from PANIQUE): DOUBLE WHISKY and J’AI CHERCHE APRES TITINE:
NUAGES, a little more briskly than it is often played, the change bringing the song into sharper focus:
DINETTE, so much more than a little table in the corner of the kitchen:
TROUBLANT BOLERO, Reinhardt — not Ravel:
An exploration of BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS that slowly unwraps itself:
JE SUIS SEUL CE SOIR (“I am alone tonight”):
I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS:
May your happiness increase.