Philippe Brun: Blues




Philippe Brun (trumpet)


Christmas Swing (F & A 307)

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Philippe Brun (trumpet), St├ęphane Grappelli (celeste), Django Reinhardt (guitar).

Composed by Philippe Brun


Recorded: Paris, December 27, 1937


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

One of the finest French jazz trumpeters of his day, Philippe Brun is nearly forgotten now and except for his collaborations with Django Reinhardt and Alix Combelle, few of his recordings have been reissued. Inspired by Bix Beiderbecke, Brun's lovely tone came through even when, as on "Blues", he played in a cup mute. I don't know just how the musicians decided on the unusual instrumentation for this recording, but it created a delightful and delicate sort of chamber jazz, and it was a precursor to Edmond Hall's famous Celeste Quartet session of 1941. (Was it an inspiration? Who knows if any member of Hall's pickup group ever heard this recording?) Brun takes the first solo, and although he's the featured player for the side, he never tries to impress with flashy displays of technique. Instead, he plays a simple, soulful statement that cuts right to the core. Grappelli (who was also an excellent pianist) enjoys playing around on the celeste, but Django's solo is quite serious and studied. There's no guitar effects, just a passionate single-string solo made up of perfectly-sculpted phrases, with a surprising turn to the low register as Brun returns. If Brun had a weakness, it was his sense of rhythm. He was clearly behind Grappelli and Reinhardt when it came to swinging eighth notes. But close to the end, Django picks up on Brun's shuffle rhythm and by using it--slightly adapted--in his accompaniment, is able to bring Brun a little closer to authentic swing style.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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