Billet-Deux: Four on Six

Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, the band Billet-Deux, which roughly translates into "two bills" (bills referring to paper money) is a unique collaboration of artists who have been inspired by the gypsy jazz traditions of guitarist Django Reinhardt and his Quintette du Hot Club de France cofounder violinist Stéphane Grappelli. In this more contemporary, sometimes bordering on new-age sounding edition of the Parisian café music of the past, we have the guitar musings of Troy Chapman and the somber emotion-filled cello of James Hinckley .

Having always been a big fan of anything Wes Montgomery, I was immediately attracted to "Four on Six" to see what these musicians could do with this fabulous swinger. I was not disappointed. As the group states the core melody line in seamless synchronicity, it is obvious that they have played together for some time. Hearing Hinckley's sober and solemn-sounding cello swing is surprisingly entertaining in a strange way. Chapman takes his turn with a guitar solo, briefly quoting from "My Favorite Things" for good measure. There is no overt show of virtuosity on display here, but rather a sincere effort to portray the music in a loving and unfettered way. It is the interacting of the whole that makes this work as a total concept, easy to listen to and ultimately enjoyable.

January 13, 2009 · 0 comments


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