Both the CandyRat label and Antoine Dufour have been expanding. Originally involved in parameters-bending innovative fusion musics, mostly acoustic, the label's seeing its maturity escalate by leaps and bounds. New horizons have appeared and been set out for. Here, as in the CR releases with Andrew White, Dufour has taken to the wellsprings of the Euro-Americana sounds that have informed his oeuvre, recruiting violinist / mandolinist / bouzouki player Tommy Gauthier. Both of them strongly recall the era when Rheinhardt, Grapelli, and the hot jazz movement was sweeping Europe with its gypsy-based sonorities and forward-looking fusions.
Thus, Still Strings isn't the expansive new cartography that Dufour's Existence (here) was but rather more in line with the McLaughlin / DiMeola / de Lucia collaborations crossed with the Hot Jazz Club of San Francisco. Dufour sticks with a guitar, several of them, and duets with Gauthier in various configurations. One might be tempted to call this chamber music, especially in cuts like Mellow Deep Art, but much of Still Strings is far more boisterous and full-blooded than many of the trad outfits might want to tackle. Even that cut gets pretty jumpin' half way in, with Gauthier taking the topside of Lockwood / Ponty / Goodman and jamming down.
Solitude is a solemner exercise much more in the 'small room' vein, broodingly pensive despite pastoral flavors, but it leads into the sprightly 6/8 d'la Belle, a guitar & mando number, returning to the airier and jauntier mood of the first five or six cuts. Every track, however, is a pristine showcase of traditional musics taken down the expressway for a re-vamping into newer contexts. As ever, it's impossible to lay hold of a CandyRat CD and come away unhappy, and Dufour is one of their guiding lights.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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