HAVING enjoyed enormously Ultrafox’s debut album (Chasing Shadows), I looked forward with great anticipation to hearing their second CD,Le Bruit des Cabarets. And I haven’t been disappointed!
On this recording the core members of this gypsy style jazz band – one of Melbourne’s busiest and most widely appreciated groups – again demonstrate the level of musicianship that comes from countless hours of playing, and of playing together.
Peter Baylor and Jon Delaney are superb on guitar, sharing the rhythm and solo roles, with Kain Borlase augmenting and driving the rhythm on string bass. They are joined by the amazing Michael McQuaid on tenor saxophone and clarinet, and the ever-eloquent Julie O’Hara on vocals. And as an added bonus, visiting French violinist, Gerard Vandenbroucque brings his elegant and joyous playing to the ensemble. Vandenbroucque is based in Nantes where he leads a quartet, Bleu West.
Le Bruit des Cabarets features 16 tracks which range over the many different flavours of the “Hot Club du France” sound. Eight tracks are original compositions by Peter Baylor or John Delaney: the rest are a variety of popular swing tunes by composers ranging from Saranne Ferret to George Gershwin. The original compositions fit very comfortably into the whole, contributing significantly to the overall “mood” of the album. I particularly liked “Pickpocket” and “Brunton
Avenue” by Baylor, and “Sad Song” by Delaney.
The title track refers to a poem by the nineteenth century French poet, Paul Verlaine. On the CD the poem is read, in French, by Christophe Genoux with background music and accompanying “bar ambience”. One English translation of the poem (below) has a Melbourne-in-winter feel about it I think!!
Ultrafox will be launching this new album over the next few months in Melbourne before setting out on a regional Arts Victoria funded tour in August 2014.
To purchase the CD or download, visit the Ultrafox website www.ultrafoxswing.com. (I know that downloading is quick and easy, but the physical CD is a thing of beauty in itself, with cover art by Peter Baylor. Who could resist it!)
Before setting off on tour, the band will be playing at the Ballarat Jazz Club, the Paris Cat, Bennett’s Lane and the Spotted Mallard in Brunswick where I am sure the CD will be available. Peter Baylor can be contacted on 0430 484 373 or Email: for further information.
Finally, as a taste of the whole, here is the first track from the album “Pickpocket” composed by Peter Baylor. Click on the playlist below to enjoy it.