GAUCHO

Pearl

2011-06-14

“Pearl” is the fourth release from San Francisco sextet, Gaucho. You wouldn’t know listening to this that Gaucho is a contemporary band, performing original works. (Except for two covers... “Avalon” by Al Jolson and “Lover Come Back To Me” by Hammerstein/Romberg.) Heavily influenced by Django Reinhart, Gaucho makes gypsy jazz that sounds as if it came right out of a 1930’s Parisian club. More than half the songs on “Pearl” are instrumentals and normally that would suit me just fine; but the vocals are what sets this band apart. Guest vocalist, Tamar Korn, has a voice that’s made for this music. When she’s not singing lyrics, she often mimics the muted trumpet (“Little Sweetie” “Sing On”). Her voice is so unusual that it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between voice and instrument. (Check out her theramin-like vocals on “Avalon”.) Aside from the vocals, the rest of the band is tight, but relaxed, giving “Pearl” an overall atmosphere of good times. Rebecca Ruth

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