"Waltz" (NCM East) is the Bags's fifth album and is a fanciful program of waltzes from different traditions. Opening with a delightful take of "El Caballo Bayo", from the pens of Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) and Francisco Brancatti (1890-1980), the music starts out in a hurry but soon slowed down into a "sweet" reading of the melody. Then, it's back to the bounce before dropping back into a slow "drag" for a boozy trombone. Trust me - it sounds better than it reads. "Puerta Del Principe", a piece by flamenco guitarist Manolo Sanlucar (born 1943) has a lovely melody and a smart arrangement that allows all voices to be heard as well as a strong solo from Moran.
Sprinkled through the program are three short remixes by Curtis Hasselbring of "Les Valse Des As" (a piece credited to G. Jacques) plus the album closes with a Garchik arrangement (derangement might be a better word) of the piece that sounds as if it was recorded in the 1920s. True to the spirit of The Four Bags, "Waltz" is playful, adventurous, generous, and musical. There is humor in these grooves but listen for the melodies as they will make you smile more often than not.
For more information, go to thefourbags.com.
Here's one of the originals:
Aaron Shragge was part of the first version of the group Innocent When You Dream and its 2010 self-titled debut. For "Dirt On The Ground". he organized a new band with the same focus, to celebrate the music of Tom Waits. The earlier recording is quite good as well but the newer one has a bit more fire, a bunch more blues, and a touch of sass. If you are a fan of Mr. Waits, you'll find much to enjoy.
For more information, go to www.aaronshragge.com.
Here's one of the ballads: