Nicolaé Gutsa

The Greatest Living Gypsy Voice

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Well, if you're going to brag, you might as well brag big. To clear the air, Mr. Gutsa does have a very interesting and nimble voice. Its rough yet round tone sounds rather like a saxophone. But one expects to be bowled over by the greatest anything, and Mr. Gutsa is not that impressive. Hype aside, this is a good, gritty album of Romanian Gypsy music. Some of it is the really fast-paced music that many people associate with either Django Reinhardt or Bulgarian wedding music. However, some of it is midtempo, and some is slow and contemplative. Balant Petrovici sets a steady beat on guitar, and Ion Trifoi on violin and Marius Gheorge on accordion both offer a pleasantly "squeezed" Eastern European style. The intersection of Gypsy music with the 1930s French nightclub nexus is attested to by the number titled "De-Ai Sti Ce Mult Te Iubesc (If You Knew How Much I Love You)" which is a rumba. Gutsa proves his stylistic range with "Bah Tali, San Maïco, Bal Tali (We are Lucky, Mother, We are Lucky)," which is a slow interplay between organ, sax, and accordion topped by crooning reminiscent of Aaron Neville. The Greatest Living Gypsy Voice, despite the misleading title, can be recommended to anyone who likes Eastern European music or who misses the Quintet of the Hot Club of France.

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