Tag Archives: Dave Kelbie

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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Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2011: Lollo Meier & Tcha Limberger Quartet

Lollo Meier & Tcha Limberger Quartet, Spiegeltent, Edinburgh           ****

A death in the family – no, Amy Winehouse was no relation – meant that the great gypsy guitarist Fapy Lafertin, a musician who has performed at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival at regular intervals in its 33-year history, had to cancel his appearance on Saturday night, but the concert he was headlining went ahead nevertheless.

It may have lacked the swagger and star quality that the charismatic Lafertin brings to proceedings, but there was still plenty of that gypsy passion and colour in evidence in the form of his guitarist cousin, Lollo Meier, and, especially, the young, blind violinist Tcha Limberger. This band, including Lafertin, is often billed as “gyspy jazz royalty” and it on Saturday it was easy to see why: there’s a real sense of history and authenticity about these players who grew up in a similar culture to their musical – and gypsy – forefather, Django Reinhardt.

Although Meier – who looked, from halfway back the Spiegeltent, like Errol Flynn (appropriately enough: his cousin looks like George Brent) – produced dazzling solos, especially on a finger-busting Japanese Sandman, it was Limberger who held centre stage and had most opportunity to impress the audience with his lyrical, loose and virtuosic violin playing.

His vocals were a different matter – I Surrender Dear started out promisingly, with Limberger singing quietly, violin still tucked under his chin, in a manner reminiscent of Chet Baker. But as he began imitating a trumpet and veering from very loud to very soft, the initial charm wore off – and the effect, though enthusiastically received by much of the audience, was a bit like a deranged hyaena singing the blues.

(First published in The Herald, Monday, July 25th)

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