With the passing of decades, Fere Scheidegger has become one of the venerable masters of Gypsy jazz. His Hot Strings group has released a score of albums over the past 20 years, and along the way have played with many Manouche and Gitan legends.
The band’s latest CD offers more of a good thing. Fere’s guitarwork is backed by Rainer Hagmann on violin and baritone violin, rhythm guitarist Dani Solimine, bassist Thomas Duerst, and several guest musicians.
The album kicks off with the rousing “Hot Club Dance” that swings with intensity – one of Fere’s trademarks. The group adds few classic jazz covers to their songlist here, but both “Night and Day” and “Whispering” are worthy.
In keeping with the album’s title concept and Fere’s own interest in ’70s rock, the band turns to both “Little Wing” and “Black Magic Woman,” transporting them into the Gypsy jazz lexicon. Thanks to Fere’s musicianship, these not only work, but seem naturals.
Fere long ago proved himself on guitar, but his playing has continued to grow on this outing. He seemingly can’t help but swing. And yet it’s the simple and beautiful melodiousness of his solos that make them such gems.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.