Rhythm Future Quartet 'Travels' on New Magic Fiddle Music Gypsy Jazz Release [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt m.greenblatt@classicalite.com | Mar 04, 2016 04:53 PM EST
Rhythm Future Quartet is a Gypsy Jazz ensemble for the ages. (Photo : Andy Cambria)

Violinist Jason Anick, 30, comes out of the Grammy-winning John Jorgenson Band to front his own Gypsy Jazz ensemble, Rhythm Future Quartet, now on their second CD, Travels (Magic Fiddle Music). It's a heady brew for a music that originated in 1934 in the Quintette du Hot Club de France with three-fingered guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli.

Django revolutioned guitar within jazz when his house burned down along with two of his fingers. His amazing style became what's known now as "hot jazz" or "gypsy jazz" and he went on to become an idol to generations of jazz guitar players.

Two guitarists equal Django in Rhythm Future Quartet (who get their name from a Django song, "Rhythm Futur"). One is New Yorker Olli Soikkeli, 25, originally from Finland, who has played with Bucky Pizzarelli and has two CDs to his credit as leader. One is Max O'Rourke, 19, from Vermont, a Berklee student (Anick is Berklee's youngest professor.) The drummerless quartet also features bassist Greg Loughman who comes out of Sheila Jordan's band. He also has his own indie rock band Lowman.

(Photo : Andy Cambria)
Violinist Jason Anick is his generation's Stephane Grappelli.

For an acoustic string band heavy on jamming, RFQ strings together elements of jazzgrass, jam-band noodling and, of course, that cherished Gypsy sound. Meant to be heard in a live context, this music moves with alarming alacrity. It's kinetic, a wonder-wall of illustrious chops and devil-may-care experimentation that goes beyond anything on their 2014 self-titled debut. For these tracks are mostly original, with notable exceptions: Bireli Lagrene's "Made In France," Paul Durand's "Je Sui Seul Ce Soir" and, most surprisingly, Lennon/McCartney's "Come Together," which alone is worth the price of admission.

RFQ will be performing in Cambridge, MA March 10; Beacon, NY March 18; Baltimore, MD March 26; Sandy Springs, GA April 17; Charlotte, NC April 23 and New York, NY May 31.

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