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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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A Very Gypsy Christmas

GotMusicRecords GMR 002



1. Sleigh Ride
2. Little Town of Bethlehem
3. The Christmas Song
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
5. Let It Snow
6. We Three Kings
7. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
9. Greensleeves
10. Oh Tannenbaum
11. Winter Wonderland
12. Christmas Time Is Here
13. I'll Be Home For Christmas
14. Oh Come Emmanuel
15. Silent Night

Doug Munro - Guitar
Ken Peplowski - Clarinet
Cyrille-Aimee Daudel - Vocals
Howie Bujese - Violin
Michael Goetz - Bass
Ernie Pugliese - Guitar


It's true what they say: Christmas comes earlier every year. This CD was released on 1 September - well in time for the festive season. The title hints that we are in the realm of gypsy jazz: that brand of jazz which owes its existence primarily to guitarist Django Reinhardt. In fact Doug Munro has played in a wide variety of genres but here he replicates the conventional sound of gypsy jazz, with acoustic guitars, bass and a violinist thrown in. A welcome guest is clarinettist Ken Peplowski, impeccable whether stating a melody or playing a solo.

Sleigh Ride makes a cheerful opener, with the Peplowski clarinet riding on top of the chugging guitars. Little Town Of Bethlehem is unrecognisable as the version I know but quite pleasant all the same, and the violinist plays a jolly solo. Vocalist Cyrille-Aimee Daudel comes in for The Christmas Song with a jazzy lilt in her voice. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen has the typical Django sound.

Of the other tracks, I would single out We Three Kings, delivered in a buoyant rhythm which switches between 3/4 and 4/4, and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, which Ken Peplowski plays with poignant sentiment. Unfortunately not every track reaches the standard of these. Several tracks are marred by the intrusion of scratchy string noises from the guitars, while Greensleeves has uncoordinated rhythm and a sour violin sound. And the guitars sometimes seem to be pushing the beat.

One warning: printing the song titles on a brown background doesn't make them very readable.

Tony Augarde

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