Saturday, December 18, 2010

Les Pommes De Ma Douche - Five Men Swinging

Les Pommes De Ma Douche - Five Men Swinging (English) - (maandag) Vijf swingende mannen: Les Pommes de ma Douche (Nederlands)

Une sorte de manifeste qui eut pu s' intituler "United Swing of America".
Hans Koert

Ten years ago, March 2000, the French group Les Pommes de ma Douche played for the first time together at a garden party of some friends, where the David Riviere Orchestre was invited. One of the members of that orchestra was guitar player Dominique Rouquier. Guests, invited at the party were Pierre Delaveau, Laurent Zeller and Laurent Delaveau, Dominique's father and after a few tunes they decided to play some Django tunes. C'est de suite un grand moment de joie mais surtout de spontanéité, d’intense émotion et de partage musical… ( = It was an instant of great joy and spontanity, of intense emotion and sharing of music .....,) the members of Les Pommes remember at their website. They made some appointments before they left and so it all started. Soon the five men played with great names in gypsy jazz like Tchavolo Schmitt and Bireli Lagrene. Now, ten years later, the group released its fifth album, entitled Five Men Swinging.

Les Pommes de Ma Douche at the party (2000) ( photo: )

It's their second album in my collection. In a precious blog I told about the third album entitled Les Pommes de ma douche - On n'est pas lá pour se faire engueuler, dedicated to Johnny Hess, member of the vocal duo Charles et Johnny in the 1930s. Johnny introduced the word Zazou in the tune Je Suis Swing, which is one of the tracks of their 3rd record. The Zazou became an important movement during the 1940s in Paris, a reaction against the pro-German Vichy regime in the country.

The album Five Men Swinging is dedicated to the American culture, the USA ( = the United Swing of America) as Alain Raemackers labels it in the liner notes. The music from Tin Pan Alley, with songs like Night and Day and the Lady is a Tramp to Hollywood and from Kansas City up to standards like Stompin' at the Savoy or Jimmy Giuffre's Four Brothers. The music is fun and it swings, in a tradition that can be best described as the Hot Club du France with the addition of Gus Viseur with a repertoire between jazz and musette, the gypsy and tzigane culture, French chansons and standards.
Love to share with you a fragment of a tunes, originally composed by Django Reinhardt and
Stephane Grappelli and unreleased up to now by Les Pommes: Stomping At Decca.

The band features Dominique Rouquier on solo guitar, Pierre Delaveau on rhythm guitar, David Riviere accordion, Laurent Zeller violin and Laurent Delaveau on double bass. Father and son Pierre and Laurent Delaveau are the solid rhythmical base of the quintet.

Les Pommes de Ma Douche ( click to enlarge) ( photo:
Pierre started as an accordionist, but is now active as the rhythm guitarist - Laurent took up the double bass since 2000, after playing in several rock bands. The guitarist Dominique Rouquier was fascinated by the music of Django as a kid, but as a teenager he liked to play the music of Led Zeppelin. Now he's a guitar teacher at the Blois Conservatory of Music. David Riviere brings the musette sound of Gus Viseur into the ensemble. He is fascinated by the music of Gus Viseur, of course, and accordion players like Jo Privat and Richard Galliano. Last but not least is violin player Laurent Zeller, who played in the bands of Raphaël Fays and Tchavolo Schmitt.

Les Pommes de Ma Douche ( photo:

The tracklist of the album Five Men Swinging contains a dozen tracks. It is hard to tell which ones belong to my favourites. Most of the tunes are in up-tempo, like the band running along the river Seine, with the Eifel Tower at the other sde of the river. Great tunes are the swinging Americano and the 1947 Jimmy Giuffre tune, he composed for Woody Herman: Four Brothers. Walking With JB. ( who's JB?) is a great jazz musette, a David Rivière composition. All tunes swing like hell and that's exactly what the men promise in the title "Five Men Swinging".
Enjoy a fragment which shows the band back stage .......

The Les Pommes De Ma Douche cherish the musical heritage of the French gypsy and musette bands, the music of Django, the music of men like Gus Viseur. Their music is not a copy, nor a clone, but music which sounds new and fresh and, above all, made by men who know how to swing. If you like this kind of music try to get a copy of one of the Les Pommes de ma Douche albums.

Hans Koert

The French traditional jazz scene seems to be one of the most interested ones of Europe. What to think about bands like the Hot Antic Jazz Band, Les Petit Jazzband de Mr. Morel or his latest ensemble Les Rois du Foxtrot. And don't forget, decades ago, successes by bands like Charquet et Co and the Orpheon Celesta. Most of these bands loved to play the US jazz- and dance music from the 20s and 30s. Les Pommes de ma Doucher, five swinging men, revives the music as played by Django Reinhardt and Gus Viseur - hot club music and musettes. Great stuff, which becomes fresh and new when these five men take their instruments. Keep swinging reviewed for you its latest album entiteld Five Men Swinging. If you don't want to miss any contribution follow Keep Swinging at Twitter or ask for its latest newsletter.

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Blogger Jo said...

Great swinging ensemble in the Hot Club style, very competent musicians. Only complaint is that the concert fragment reveals the problems of amplifying acoustic instruments - the lead guitar sounds like a bathtub with strings, the 'original' sound of the Macaferri 'drowns' and is exchanged in favour of 'what'cha call 'em?' - I would have prefered the 'rough', unpolished sound of a Stimer pick-up, if amplification was needed. Just my point of view, of course ...!


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