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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Harri Stojka

By Marty Lipp
Published March 30, 2007

A Tribute To Gypsy Swing

In the 1930s, the French Gypsy swing guitarist Django Reinhardt invented the musical equivalent of ice cream: something that was almost impossible not to like. Like Armstrong and Ellington, Reinhardt created music that strutted along the line between challenging and accessible. His melodic guitar improvisations raced atop smooth, speedy rhythms. Gypsy swing has long outlasted its progenitor, with generation after generation of guitarists taking up the torch. Harri Stojka, an Austrian Gypsy, has played both rock and jazz, but found his true home in this mutant form. On his second Gypsy swing album, Stojka plays with showy panache, but does well by the easy-going fluid style that Reinhardt popularized. He dances around the fretboard with carefree joy and musical authority, occasionally tossing in a dissonant or off-rhythm filigree to keep things interesting. Whether playing Reinhardt standards, classic jazz tunes or a Viennese folk tune, Stojka serves up some cool, sweet music.