CD Ramblin' * [Michel Benita] (CD 4573643),
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Ramblin' * [Michel Benita]

  • 1. Farewell Angelina
    2. Round & Round
    3. First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, The
    4. Atlantic, Ia
    5. Where I Belong
    6. It Ain't Me Babe
    7. One Single Chord
    8. Stars
    9. As I Roved Out
    10. Como
    11. Dos Arbolitos
    12. By the Mark
    13. Silent Woman
    14. Moly Ban
    15. Denise & Sledge
    16. Secret Meeting
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 4505

  • Credits

    Personnel: Michel Benita (acoustic guitar, bass instrument, percussion, programming); Manu Codjia (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Philippe Teissier (recorder).
    Audio Mixer: Philippe Teissier.
    Jazz bassist Michel Benita was born in Algiers and has lived in France for the majority of his life, which would lead you to think folk and country-pop music would be far removed from his concept. Under the pretext that Miles Davis wrote a piece dedicated to Willie Nelson, and that jazz essentially is folk music, Benita and electric/acoustic guitarist Manu Codjia have crystallized these idioms to create a world fusion of European and American roots. The sound of the music is unmistakably parallel to that of Bill Frisell courtesy of Codjia's amplified instrument, minus any Asian or African elements, while source material comes from well known singer/songwriters and the creative minds of the participants. Of the song form choices, the music of Bob Dylan is offered via new approaches that other jazz players have explored (i.e. Jewels and Binoculars or Jamie Saft,) but Benita and Codjia strip Dylan's framework down to the bare metal, and paint his tunes with a vibrant candy apple sheen. "Farewell Angelina" begins with an anti-war protest actuality, then goes to a circular 6/8 frame, while "It Ain't Me Babe" is modified beyond compare, a loose association from Benita's bass that requires a close listen or three. Neil Young's "Round & Round" is a new rondo waltz anthem, Gillian Welch's "By the Mark" is a spirited upbeat circular square dance, and Bert Jansch's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is an easygoing, loping interpretation. There are two Irish traditional pieces turned galactic, Dan Fogelberg's "Stars" (made popular by Alison Krauss) works well in this context, and the pretty Mexican folk tune "Dos Arbolitos" was done memorably by Linda Ronstadt, and here sports dual guitars with a vocal field recording as a primer. The originals are systematically in the same vein as the compositions, with "One Single Chord" a minimalist expansion on finger style strings sounding like repeating pads fluttering on a saxophone. "Atlantic, IA" uses the most improvisational base with hum and echoed guitars, "Where I Belong" is the bassist's personalized spirit soul song, and the one minute closing tunes "Denise & Sledge" and "Secret Meeting" eschew bop stylings and a somewhat hushed, reticent coda respectively. If you enjoy the space twang of Frisell, Ramblin' will appeal to you on a visceral and emotional level, but pure folkies or jazzsters may be curious but not quite latched on. Those who ramble are not necessarily wandering, or noodling. Nonetheless this is a very enjoyable and consistent effort that will appeal directly to fans of this country-eastern concept. ~ Michael G. Nastos

  • Critic Reviews
    Down Beat (p.68) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The sterling rendition of Bert Jansch's classic guitar workout 'Blackwaterside' provides the album's high point....The duo uses nuanced interludes of original material throughout, and their suave, sharp sound is consistently engaging."
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