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New Swing - Night and Day

2006-03-29 23:46

This album's sound is rich and textured, and the classic (American) songs, traditionally arranged as big band or lounge songs, seem to have been given new life by a tasteful and well-considered arrangement.

First, Kusperus is not so much a forceful singer as an alluring vocalist. Kusperus has the ability to phrase vocal lines to sound like liquid glue that instantly attaches you to the songs, much like a younger Frank Sinatra used to do. He actually seems to deliver the lyrical content of the songs with a nonchalance, while at the same time staying faithful to the familiar core melodies.

Eddy de Clercq, on the other hand, is a key figure in the development of Dutch House and Dance music. His economic use of loop and dj magic injects a fresh but not-too-intense energy into these standards. To emphasise, this could so easily have gone wrong. Thankfully, on many occasions it's actually hard to decide whether or not programmed or sampled rhythms are present in the music - which is more than can be said for the recently popular Buddha Bar or Cafe del Mar series.

But the real sweetness of New Swing lies in the big band arrangements poured over the top of this era-bending blend. There's a big Euro-latin sound to these arrangements, which are themselves strongly reminiscent of the sweeping Brazilian-tinged Walter Wanderly sound sets from the late sixties. Jack Coenen has given thought to Kunderus' Sinatra-stylings, and appropriately referenced his arrangements to that singer's 60s-era recordings.

Save for the odd falter - a reworking of The Ames' Brothers' 1957 hit "Melody d'Amour" as "Cha Cha d'Amour", for example - this is a rewarding project. It's a chic update on those old standards, well executed and highly danceable. Standout moments include Bart Howard's "Fly Me To The Moon" and the title track, Cole Porter's "Night and Day". Let's not forget the Gershwins' " 's Wonderful".

What you've got here is a great gift CD that'll please anyone from your mom and dad to your lover.

- Anton Marshall

Singer Friso Kuperus, DJ Eddy de Clercq and big band leader Jack Coenen are New Swing, a trio of variously skilled musical journeymen who, according to the sleevenotes, have realised a dream in making an album that fuses each of their respective genres and disciplines. Amazingly, the result is quite satisfying.

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