Uncertain which genre gets top billing, this recording could be considered either folk-jazz or jazz-folk depending on one's perspective. What makes Celtic Tales unique is their implementation of the Irish (uilleann) pipes in a jazz combo. And Ronan LeBars doesn't simply use the pipes to unnecessarily adorn this jazz music in a trendy fashion for otherwise uninterested listeners. His is one of two main instruments and is utilized for both melodic and improvisational purposes in a manner that will likely appeal more to jazz aficionados than folk purists. Joining LeBars is multi-instrumentalist Jean-Baptiste Bocle, who is proficient on several instruments. His organ playing resembles that of Jimmy Smith and on vibes, he's on par with Gary Burton -- who, incidentally, endorses Bocle's abilities. Additionally, his keyboard playing recalls Lyle Mays' work with Pat Metheny. In reference to his more straight-ahead jazz efforts, a Metheny sound (sans guitar) is present throughout Celtic Tales. Gildas Bocle's free jazz and post-bop acoustic bass playing is straight from the Charlie Haden and Gary Peacock school of jazz bass.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Sleger