Fanfare Ciocãrlia

Gili Garabdi

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With Gili Garabdi, Moldavia's Fanfare Ciocarlia offer an interesting premise -- what if gypsy musicians had gone to America and helped invent jazz? Then they illustrate their point by brassy, jazzy takes on the "James Bond Theme" and Duke Ellington's "Caravan." Obviously, they're joking a little, but it does help show their range in exemplary fashion as the brassy-heavy lineup (ten, plus two percussionists). They can do the usual gypsy style with consummate ease, whipping their way around complex melodies at hyper-speed, But they're really at their best when they swing, which they do in wonderful style on "Alili," while "Ma Maren Ma" includes guest singer Jony Lliev on something that's as close as the Balkans comes to blues. Passionate and consistent, this is their best album to date.

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