Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2013: Fapy Lafertin Trio

Fapy Lafertin Trio, Palazzo Spiegeltent, Edinburgh, Saturday July 20th ****

Even if he wasn’t arguably the best gypsy guitarist in the world, Fapy Lafertin would have enormous appeal since he plays with such a passionate, authentic – and sexy – style. Indeed, it’s little wonder there is always a high quota of ladies of a certain age in the Lafertin audience: not only does his music have sex appeal, but from a distance he has the appearance of a 1920s movie swashbuckler. The fact that he seldom speaks just adds to the mystery.

On Saturday, in one of the long, continuous early evening gigs that the jazz festival is staging in the Spiegeltent, the seductive aspect was very much to the fore on a number of his own compositions (notably on the gypsy waltz Butterfly) and, most strikingly of all, on Astor Piazzolla’s Oblivion, a quiet ballad with the occasional dramatic crescendo and glimpse of fiery passion.

The  sublime ballad Time on My Hands, on which Lafertin was at his most romantically persuasive, was one of several stand-out tunes selected from the less well-thumbed pages of the Great American Songbook; another highlight, at the end of the concert, was Two Cigarettes in the Dark which featured the lovely playing of young violinist Hannah Biernert who joined Lafertin, rhythm guitarist Dave Kelbie and swinging bassist Sebastien Girardot.

And the spirit of Django, while not the dominant theme of the evening by any means, was also in evidence; a high speed Django’s Tiger prompted a roar from the audience.

First published in The Scotsman, Monday July 22nd

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