Sebastian Giniaux: Viper's Dream


Viper's Dream



Selmer #607 (LDC Studio)

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Sebastian Giniaux (guitar),

Guillame Singer (violin), Ghali Hadefi (guitar), Jérémie Arranger (bass)


Composed by Fletcher Allen


Recorded: Montreuil, France, January 2008


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

The term "viper" is 1930s slang for one who habitually partakes of marijuana. By most accounts the author of this piece, Fletcher Allen, was an enthusiastic viper. Since Django Reinhardt recorded this quirky number in 1937, it has been a staple of the jazz Manouche repertoire, covered by Stochelo Rosenberg, Bireli Lagrene and many others.

Sebastian Giniaux, one of the five extraordinary guitarists invited to play the venerated Selmer 607, had his musical beginnings on the violin at age 6, not picking up the guitar until 19, when he became enthralled with Gypsy jazz. On this track the fruits of his efforts are abundantly clear. His guitar work manifests the confidence of one born to play the instrument, and is yet one more reason the Selmer #607 album is a must-have for any jazz guitar enthusiast's collection.

Sebastian's "Viper's Dream" is a marked departure from the typical arrangement. Starting with the tune's standard intro and head played in a relaxed, confident strut, the ensemble makes a sudden transition into a frantic, up-tempo 2/4 solo section, a runaway caravan on a rollercoaster descent into madness. Over this furious vamp, Giniaux roams free, throwing nearly everything from his extensive vodjangulary into the mix but the proverbial kitchen sink. Insane? Over the top? Sure, but why not? This is, after all, the 21st century – with a world on the brink, even our vipers have reason to panic.

Reviewer: Bill Barnes

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