Paris Combo

Living Room

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The French have always had a seductive way of combining words and music, from the chansons of Josquin de Prez to the operas of Bizet to the torch songs of Edith Piaf. Paris Combo continues this beguiling tradition with its sly combination of cabaret music, gypsy jazz, and avant-garde surrealism. Chanteuse Belle du Berry, who has that charming French mixture of vamp and little girl in her delivery, leads the group. Her voice is supple and expressive -- soaring, sliding, swooping, and moaning. Though the lyrics, all penned by du Barry, are in French (and no English translation is provided in the liner notes), her captivating performance breaks down all language barriers. Australian David Lewis does some fine, sensitive work on piano and trumpet. In the gorgeous ballad "Sous la Lune" (Under the Moon), he places the bell of his trumpet in a bowl of water and gurgles out a tender solo. The effect is eerily beautiful, without a trace of gimmickry. His inside-the-piano work on "L'Avenir Incertain du Titanic" (The Uncertain Future of the Titanic) gives the piece a sense of impending disaster that James Cameron could only dream of. Guitarist Potzi ripples off some Django Reinhardt-inspired riffs. In "Mobil'homme" he does a dead-on impression of the Middle Eastern oud on his guitar. Madagascar native Mano Razanajato turns in some inspired work on bass. He also lends his cool vocals to many of the songs. François François' percussion work is colorful and solid. Living Room is a strong release with tons of appeal.

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