Joe Craven Django Latino

Joe Craven Django Latino
Project Title:Django Latino
Artist:Joe Craven
Released:January 17, 2007
Produced by:Joe Craven and Rick Montgomery
Record Label:Compass Records

Music Commentary
Anyone familiar with Joe Craven knows that he doesn't play by the rules but certainly honors traditions. With Django Latino, Craven honors the traditions of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli but with an interpretive Latin American twist. Positively ingenious! Reinhardt is revered as the one of the first and most renowned major jazz guitarists who paired up with Stephane Grapelli on violin to create a new sound in jazz in the 1930s. Craven's fascination with Reinhardt and Grapelli's music started because of their reputations for being pioneers in using stringed instruments to produce the percussion sound missing from their "Quintette du Hot Club de France."

(Picture taken by Chris Curtis at Merlefest 2006 - Mando Mania)

With Django Latino, Craven's spicy genius takes you on an exciting new journey into Reinhardt and Grapelli's compositions. With a focus on a jazzy dance beat, Craven takes us to Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Haiti, Dominica Republic, Mexico, Venezulia, Columbia, Spain and Argentina. The music styles and dance beats in this collection gets you on your feet for some Tango, Bolero, Jarocho Joropo, Cumbia, Nuevo Flamenco, Son, Latin Jazz, Plena, Charanga, Choro Samba, Danzon, Bossa Samba, Ibo and Merengue. Each piece takes on a different style and beat. Despite the unusual Latin treatment, many of the tunes are readily recognizable as classic Django – Grapelli Jazz.

This project is pure Craven. While there are several highly accomplished musicians supporting Carven throughout this collection, Craven is featured in every piece playing a wide-range of instruments. It is truly a showcase of his multi-instrumental talents. Percussion beat, clearly at the heart of Craven's talent, are predominant throughout regardless of the instrument in his hands. Craven's ability to translate a percussion sound across a broad spectrum of instruments is incomparable.

The artwork and liner notes are colorful and give you a warm tropical feeling; however, the liner notes were difficult to read. I study the liner notes while I listen to the music for the first several listens as it gets me inside what the artist is feeling in the music. A couple of listens through this project, takes you right to right to the heart of Craven's creativity. Jazzy, percussion oriented and dancable, this project works beautifully.

(Picture taken by Chris Curtis at Merlefest 2006 - Alison Brown Quartet Set)

For a wider selection of Joe's works, look here: Joe Craven

Song List/Credits
Minor SwingPlena(Puerto Rico)Reinhardt / Grapelli
Sweet ChorusCharanga(Cuba)Reinhardt / Grapelli
HungariaChoro Samba(Brazil)Reinhardt
Melodie Au Crepuscule / Manoir DeMes RevesBossa Samba(Brazil)Reinhardt
Douce AmbianceIbo(Haiti)Reinhardt / Larue
Babik / Festival 48 / MicroMerengue(Dominican Republic)Reinhardt
Montagne Ste. Genevieve (Django's Waltz)Darocho Joropo(Mexico, Venezuela)Reinhardt
Double Scotch / Artillerie LourdeCumbia(Columbia)Reinhardt
Swing 39Nuevo Flamenco(Spain)Reinhardt / Grapelli
Swing 42Son(Cuba)Reinhardt
TearsTango(Argentina)Reinhardt / Grapelli
DjangologyLatin Jazz(USA)Reinhardt / Grapelli

Guest Artists/Musicians
Rick Montgomery, Matt Eakle, Sam Bevan, John R. Burr, Kendrick Freeman Heath Walton, Enrique Coria, Christine Bonner, Tom Schmidt, Cody Craven, Hattie Craven, Ara Anderson, Pamela Craven, Rick Craig, Diana Craig, Leona Craig, Seth Asarnow

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You Should Also Read:
Merlefest 2007 – Wilkesboro, NC
Alison Brown Quartet with Joe Craven – Merlefest 2006
Merlefest 2006 –Creekside Stage Saturday Workshops

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