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Reviews: Sir Ali’ s Girls, Just a Gigolo and Dreamers Circus, Dreamers Circus

Sir Ali’ s Girls
Just a Gigolo
[Fremeaux & Associes 2010 (rec. 1989)]

Sir Ali’ s Girls developed their repertoire in the mid 1980s as the house show band for Paris Cabaret Elephant Blanc. The troupe was led by “elephant sax” player Sir Ali, whose gruff vocals (think Tom Waits meets Captain Beefheart) were leavened by a trio of women, Elizabeth Kontomanou, Cathy Renoi and Bessie Gordon, and supported by a 12-piece horn-heavy stage band. Sir Ali and his collaborators playfully rampage through a dizzying variety of material, including a loopy, disco flavored vocal adaptation of Henry Mancini’ s “Baby Elephant Walk” and an uptempo, dance-ready adaptation of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons.” Elsewhere, Ali and company graft vocals onto Thelonious Monk’ s trademark piano piece “Blue Monk” and the sixties novelty tune “Tequila,” and they dig up John Hartford’s guttural ditty “Boogie” to end what was side one of the original LP. Other left-of-center adaptations include a bright, flute driven version of Miriam Makeba’s “Naughty Little Flea” and a Latin jazz arrangement of “Stormy Weather.” An odd repertoire for sure, but what shines through this likeable disc is the group’ s sense of playful adventure, their creative arrangements, and impeccable musicianship.

—Michael Parrish (San Jose, CA)

[Editorial note: Just a Gigolo might be a little tough to track down, especially if you don’t speak French. Here’s a site with song samples. There are some videos out there, too, but they weren’t on YouTube, so we couldn’t embed them here.]

Dreamers Circus
Dreamers Circus – EP
[Go Danish GO1610 EP (2010)]

A short, five song, 22-minute EP by this new Danish trio points to good things in the future. Pianist Nikolai Brusk (Hal & Nikolas, Trio Mio) is a jazz player, violist Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen is classically trained and citterist Ale Carris is a folk musician. It’s Carr who composed the five pieces, a suite of music who’s ebb and flow embraces both folk and classical themes. Produced by Vassen’s Roger Tallroth (who guests, along with vocalist Sofia Karlsson on the last track), this recording only suffers from being to short. Available on disc from Go Danish Folk Music and as a $5 download from the band’s website. -Jim Lee [www.dreamerscircus.com]

—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)

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One comment on “Reviews: Sir Ali’ s Girls, Just a Gigolo and Dreamers Circus, Dreamers Circus

  1. great music………

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