Jon Larsen: Nonstop




Jon Larsen (guitar)


The Next Step (Hot Club Records)

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Jon Larsen (guitar),

Egil Kapstad (piano), Bjorn Alterhaug (bass), Håkon Mjåset Johansen (drums)


Composed by Jon Larsen


Recorded: Oslo, Norway, 2003


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Hot Club Records, the Norwegian label founded by guitarist Jon Larsen, marks its 25th anniversary in 2008. Prominent on the European scene for decades, Larsen has played with jazz luminaries from Chet Baker to Stéphane Grappelli. As a leading proponent of the jazz Manouche genre, he has focused much of his company's recording activity on such Gypsy virtuosi as Jimmy Rosenberg and Angelo Debarre, as well as on his own group, Hot Club de Norvege. While Jon's enthusiastic support and encouragement of others might tempt us to take him for granted as a musician in his own right, The Next Step reminds us that, even in such lofty company, he can indeed hold his own.

This outing has Larsen wearing several hats, as a producer, leader and writer. Already known as a thoroughly seasoned Djanogoist, Jon demonstrates much more of his extensive musical vocabulary as he turns to more straight-ahead bop musings on "Nonstop." Though he is playing a gorgeous petite bouche Selmer-style acoustic guitar built by British luthier Doug Kyle, I hear more Burrell than Bireli in his playing. The ensemble comes out of the gate swinging hard and their ideas flow…well, nonstop. Very sure-footed stepping, whatever your stylistic preferences may be.

Reviewer: Bill Barnes

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