Catherine Russell, Bring it Back, Jazz Village

From 2014. The time may well be right for another old time record, given the alchemy achieved last year by Cécile McLorin Salvant and to an extent René Marie although both were actually very modern records as well in certain ways. Bring it Back is …

Published: 12 Nov 2019. Updated: 10 months.

From 2014. The time may well be right for another old time record, given the alchemy achieved last year by Cécile McLorin Salvant and to an extent René Marie although both were actually very modern records as well in certain ways. Bring it Back is more orthodox old time if you like in a kind of gospel-and-swing-dipping-into-Dixie sense and follows on from Russell’s 2012 outing Strictly Romancin’.

The daughter of famed bandleader Luis Russell, who arranged for Louis Armstrong in the 1930s and 1940s (and whose unknown but stimulating song for Armstrong, ‘Lucille’, makes its playfully perky swinging debut here), and the late Carline Ray, a guitarist in the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Russell has a quality voice as soft and sweet as molasses, girl-like on ‘I’m Shooting High’, much gutsier and effortlessly powerful on ‘You’ve Got To Swing and Sway’. She is backed by a lively band with clarinettist Dan Block providing some Dixie touches at certain points while Mark Shane’s achingly slow piano accompaniment on Johnny Otis’ ‘Aged and Mellow’ allows Russell to make this song about preferring older men (‘I like my men like I like my whiskey/Aged and mellow’) creep along atmospherically even if it’s a much less earthy version of the song than Little Esther’s 1952 rendition. And while Russell comes into her own on the highly rhythmic take of ‘The Darktown Strutter's Ball’ where drummer Mark McLean shines, it’s the earthier side of Russell’s voice that’s crying out to burst through although that starts to emerge on ‘I’m Sticking With You Baby’ (a song co-written by Rudy Toombs who also penned ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’).

Bring it Back has some really well captured tenor saxophone breaks from Andy Farber including one on ‘Lucillle’ that sound like the music of a lost era come alive and highlights include Russell’s very smooth take on Fats Waller and Andy Razaf’s ‘Strange as it Seems.’ SG

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2019 Highlight: Astonishing Tcha Limberger documentary

Directed by Dolma’s Daughters film maker Ádám Miklós and written by the London based Hungarian Yvonne Bauer A Magyar Nóta: Belga Mestere literally 'Belgian Master of Hungarian Song' is a truly remarkable and quite moving insight about the music and …

Published: 12 Nov 2019. Updated: 9 months.

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Directed by Dolma’s Daughters film maker Ádám Miklós and written by the London based Hungarian Yvonne Bauer A Magyar Nóta: Belga Mestere literally 'Belgian Master of Hungarian Song' is a truly remarkable and quite moving insight about the music and life of the extraordinary violinist Tcha Limberger, a blind violin virtuoso from Belgium who discovers traditional Hungarian music and moves to Hungary to master it.

Limberger fell in love with the long forgotten Hungarian nóta style and made it his mission to introduce it to the world. The film makers ask the questions why does he want to learn a music genre that has almost been forgotten by Hungarians; and why does he leave the security of his Belgian home to live in a Transylvanian village?

Shot in Hungary, Transylvania and Belgium the sound quality is excellent and the Transylvanian scenes are especially very beautifully filmed, the quality of the light is stunning: a scene towards the end of the film has a gathering of fiddlers that is epic and life affirming.

Responding to marlbank’s comment that Limberger is up there with Roby Lakatos no less, writer Yvonne Bauer says: “Roby Lakatos himself is of the best opinion on Tcha! He said that Tcha follows in the footsteps of the great old masters in that he plays according to the most ancient rules, which few other musicians do these days. All of them try to sound more modern, just like Roby himself.”