Upon first listening to Caravan Palace’s “Brotherswing”, I was taken back instantly to the Cantina Scene in George Lucas’ Star Wars. The Caravan being made up of a violin, double bass (always a gem to see in action), francophones, guitar, a clarinet and trombone and held together by programmed beats and chirping electro-scat vocals…the unit is truly a classic ensemble infused with unpredictable club-mix intensity. It’s intrepid burlesque on a hot and sweaty sugar high. Doing the hop, nod and wave, snapping my fingers with the un-busy hand, I would definitely kill Greedo to this music.
Having toured for a year prior to the release of their debut album in France, and due out here in the US soon, The Caravan Palace (Facebook) were a sensation at the 2007 Django Reinhardt Jazz Festival in Samois. Django’s being a name I hadn’t heard since picking up The Buckingham/Nicks self-titled album second-hand for 95 cents maybe a decade ago and hearing Lindsey Buckingham’s aptly named “Django,” a tribute to the Parisian gypsy-guitarist. I have now been introduced and re-introduced to this musician through his brilliantly inspired musical foundlings.
Adopted by the Café de la danse, sent to studio and made to gig by the manager Loic Barrouk, The Caravan Palace was able to perfect such offerings as “Bambous” a roiling stew of sound made for lovers of The Charleston. The spastic growly vocal soothes the blisters forming on your frenzied toes. “Starscat” is a slower violin-laden jive, boy-vocal and all. “Dragons” is too bubbly for words, and a personal favorite, obviously. The dual violins dueling in “La Villette” as caressed by the central guitar, charming to the ear as the battle slowly takes on tempo. A modern touch on an old genre. Well played.
01. Dragons (4:05) 02. Star Scat (3:50) 03. Ended With The Night (5:00) 04. Jolie Coquine (3:46) 05. Oooh (1:49) 06. Suzy (4:07) 07. Je M'amuse (3:34) 08. Violente Valse (3:35) 09. Brotherswing (3:41) 10. L'envol (3:46) 11. Sofa (0:51) 12. Bambous (3:14) 13. Lazy Place (3:57) 14. We Can Dance (4:23) 15. La Caravane (5:05)