Christian Escoude

Christian Escoude Group Featuring Toots Thielemans

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The presence of harmonica great Toots Thielemans may have been intended as bait to attract mainstream jazz listeners to this CD by guitarist Christian Escoude, but this mostly smooth jazz outing is unlikely to be of interest to fans of Thielemans. Accompanied by keyboardist Oliver Hutman, bassist Jean-Marc Jaffet, and drummer Tony Rabeson, the guitarist tries hard but quickly runs out of gas. Escoude's originals are nothing more than run-of-the-mill fare, though his guitar playing is better than average for the genre. Thielemans' one appearance is on an absolutely plodding arrangement of the ballad "Moon River," where his talent goes to waste due to the ridiculously unimaginative backing he receives. Released by the now-defunct French label JMS, there's little reason to spend time or money looking for this thoroughly disappointing CD.

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