It’s tough being a child prodigy. In the world of Gypsy Jazz, many a child prodigy has followed in the footsteps of Django Reinhardt: Boulou Ferré, Bireli Lagrene, Fapy Lafertin, Jimmy and Stochelo Rosenberg, and there are surely more to come. Winning renown when they were still in their teens, most of these guitarists subsequently move away from Hot Club music and tried their hands at other styles. Boulou Ferré moved into bebop and avant-garde jazz, although he is still influenced by the music of his father, the great Matelo Ferré. Bireli Lagrene segued into electric jazz-rock fusion, although lately he picks up his acoustic more to play Django-style jazz. Perhaps they get bored, perhaps they’re just interested in opening other doors.
And now Stochelo Rosenberg has made his move. On the Rosenberg Trio’s two most recent CDs – Noches Calientes and the new Sue˝os Gitanos – Stochelo has left traditional jazz behind to explore latin sounds. These new albums sound commercial, with a capital C, and are produced in the most technical sense of the word. They owe a debt more to the urban jazz of Marc Antoine than to Django.
If you’re a fan of light latin jazz, there’s a lot here to like. Stochelo plays with his usual fire and flare, although his Hot Club riffs have been translated into spicy latin grooves. The stellar rhythm guitar of Nousche Rosenberg, which has driven their past releases, is sadly often lost in the mix of guest percussionists, pianists, keyboardists, electric guitarists, and the harmonica of Toots Thielemans. If you can’t find a copy, go to www.rosenberg-trio.com.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s May ’01 issue.