Stochelo Rosenberg

Ready'n Able

Iris Music 3001 891

There are some CDs that just pop out at you, and this is one of them. There's so much joy and exuberance, especially in the opening tracks, that it really picked up my ears.

Swing/gypsy guitar oriented, this CD takes traditional guitar tunes we'd associate with Django Reinhardt or Oscar Aleman and adds in Stevie Wonder (killer version of "I Wish") and standards such as "Body and Soul" and "Blue Bossa."

The trio covers a lot of musical territory, but each tune is finely crafted and does not just fill space on the CD. They make the covers all their own and bring new life to songs we all know. There's a drive in the musicianship that demands to be heard. I've played this CD more than any of the new ones I have, and it's fun every time. I also hear new musical things at every listening. Oh, I didn't hear those harmonics last time?

And the playing is amazing. The lead guitarist, Stochelo Rosenberg, displays incredibly fast runs and lead lines that will leave other guitar players shaking their heads. Coming from a long line of Gypsy musicians, this European is a living extension of Django, and he touts this in his new book about his life, The Book of Stochelo Rosenberg.

Other tunes include "Relaxing at Camarillo," "All the Things You Are," and (no surprise) "Djangology." There are twelve tracks in all.

The trio consists of Stochelo on guitar (one sounds like a twelve-string, but I saw no credit or pictures of same anywhere), his brother Mozes on rhythm guitar, and Sani Van Mullen on bass. Maybe not household names in this country, but this work is highly recommend. If this CD doesn't get your toes tapping, you might be dead.

By Michael Handler