Wawau Adler • I Play With You

I Play With You Wawau AdlerThe Gypsy Jazz movement of the past 30 years has resulted in scores of rewarding albums by guitarists who are inspired by Django Reinhardt. Some have imitated Django’s style as best they could while reviving his repertoire. Others have sought to stretch the idiom by playing more recent songs in the Django style, sometimes with just mixed success. It can be quite tricky finding one’s voice in a world formed by an earlier jazz giant.

Wawau Adler, who is from Germany, first recorded in 1991 but really came into his own in 2019 with Happy Birthday Django 110 which teamed his guitar with the superb violinist Alexandre Cavaliere, rhythm guitarist Hono Winterstein, and bassist Joel Locher. For 2022’s I Play With You, he added a second rhythm guitarist (Denis Chang) to the group, utilizing the same instrumentation as the Quintet of the Hot Club of France.

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Adler contributed six of the dozen selections on this CD, all of which swing and are in the tradition. In fact, several could pass for obscure standards of the 1930s including the moody title cut and the joyful “Jazzy Populair.” In addition, the quintet performs such songs as a blazing “Cherokee” (which surprisingly Reinhardt never recorded), “What Is This Thing Called Love,” “Chicago,” and a lone Django tune, “Manoir De Mes Reves.”

Throughout I Play With You, Adler, Cavaliere and the other musicians, while not venturing far from the Django and Stephane Grappelli role models, carve out their own inventive musical paths in the land of Gypsy Jazz.

Wawau Adler • I Play With You
Edition Collage EC 604
www.wawau-adler.com

UpBeat Records

Since 1975 Scott Yanow has been a regular reviewer of albums in many jazz styles. He has written for many jazz and arts magazines, including JazzTimes, Jazziz, Down Beat, Cadence, CODA, and the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, and was the jazz editor for Record Review. He has written an in-depth biography on Dizzy Gillespie for AllMusic.com. He has authored 11 books on jazz, over 900 liner notes for CDs and over 20,000 reviews of jazz recordings.

Yanow was a contributor to and co-editor of the third edition of the All Music Guide to Jazz. He continues to write for Downbeat, Jazziz, the Los Angeles Jazz Scene, the Jazz Rag, the New York City Jazz Record and other publications.

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