Laurent Korcia

Doubles Jeux

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This recital disc has an unusual title that points the way toward an unusual program. "Doubles jeux" might be translated as "double play" (no baseball music, unfortunately), suggesting not only that this is a program of duets -- for violin with piano, cello, guitar, contrabass, bandoneón, or, on the last two tracks, voice -- but also the fusion of jazz and classical repertory. Violinist Laurent Korcia is not unique in having attempted the latter double play, but he pulls it off here in an unusually varied and delightful way. One key to the lyrical mood he establishes is that he builds from a core of French post-Romantic music, which one might say has just a few degrees of separation from jazz: Ravel's Blues is suffused with it, and from a world that included both that work and the Minor Swing of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli he proceeds stepwise in a logical way to Debussy, Bartók's duos, Massenet, Michel Legrand (the theme from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg), and his own Minor Tango, among other pieces. The sum total is a set of pieces that reveals something of the longtime French attraction to jazz (and the attraction of early jazz musicians to the classics), which offers a transcendent version of 1920s café music and gradually immerses the listener more and more deeply in a sensuous, seductive, yet slightly despairing mood. Like so many of the releases from France's Naïve label, this one is equally successful in reimagining established repertoire and in superbly executing the new concept.

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