Jermaine Landsberger: Babik
Jermaine Landsberger (keyboards)
Gettin' Blazed (Resonance)
Composed by Django Reinhardt.
Recorded: Los Angeles, 2008
Rating: 99/100 (learn more)
In his debut album on Resonance, Jermaine Landsberger breaks the sound barrier and a number of musical misconceptions along the way. While gadje (non-gypsy) Hot Club enthusiasts across the world are fervently woodshedding their pompe, along comes this astounding Sinti keyboardist, hard-bopping a Django tune as if it had been penned in a 52nd Street back alley and shot off in a rocket.
While Getting’ Blazed is full of stellar performances, including three tracks featuring the venerable Pat Martino, the level of musicianship on “Babik” is positively jaw-dropping. Backed by the laser precision of Genus and Mason, Landsberger delivers a modern, electrified treatment of the tune Django Reinhardt had written in honor of his second son. This is not as blasphemous as it may seem to the diehard jazz Manouche fans; Babik Reinhardt was a fine jazz guitarist in his own right, but he preferred playing bebop over the more traditional Gypsy swing of his legendary father.
Through the furious changes, Landsberger fires off crisp, throaty B-3 riffs, sounding like Joey DeFrancesco on steroids, his lines rousing and insightful. James Genus’s lively and lyrical bass solo cooks admirably. But it is guitarist Andreas Öberg who puts the sizzle on the steak, burning up his Benedetto archtop with molten-hot bop lines delivered with insane speed and clarity. Babik Reinhardt would surely dig this.
Reviewer: Bill Barnes