Tag Archives: Ben Powell


In the summer of 2021, Leo Forde, a young guitarist from Glasgow, living and playing in New Orleans since 2014, sent me a delightful new CD, which I praised here:

He’s done it again, with a new effort called DOUBLE WHISKY:

One no longer calls music “entertaining,” but this new CD is just that.

OH, LADY BE GOOD is an engaging sample, with legendary pianist David Boeddinghaus joining Leo, solo guitar; Ben Powell, violin; John Rodlii, guitar; Nobu Ozaki, string bass for nearly four minutes of time-travel . . . what if the Quintette of the Hot Club of France had met Teddy Wilson in 1937?

Leo and friends understand something about the genre termed “Gypsy jazz” that is not common practice. Yes, it is a music now often characterized by technical virtuosity. But even more, it is an embrace of melody and melodies. It’s ultimately not about how to execute Django Reinhardt’s gestures at top speed and even more ornately, but it is a passionate embodiment of the classic tradition created by Louis Armstrong and his colleagues. Even though there’s no vocalizing on this disc, Leo and friends sing out every note, fashion every phrase so it goes right to our deepest feelings.

Oh, they can bounce in the most sophisticated postwar ways — hear the title track DOUBLE WHISKY — but their joyous messages, their swing affirmations are never firing notes at the listener, who (even admiring) has to take a rest at the end of each track.

I say THANKS A MILLION — and the aural embodiment of gratitude is right here.

Details. Oh, details. The music is available here. The songs are MY BLUE HEAVEN / OH, LADY BE GOOD! / JUST A GIGOLO / DOUBLE WHISKY / THANKS A MILLION / IMPROVISATION ON TSCHAIKOVSKY’S ‘Pathetique’ / WHEN DAY IS DONE / LOUISE / I SURRENDER, DEAR / DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO MISS NEW ORLEANS? The recorded sound is warm and accurate, which means a good deal.

I can only explain the effect of this session, if it hasn’t come across to you by now, by saying it is like encountering a dear friend after a long absence. Heartfelt, playful, gentle sounds, a small treasure in this noisy world.

May your happiness increase!