The High Life
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The hot club de Partick return with a classy, very accomplished album that showcases not only their skill in continuing the Parisian swing style of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, but also their ability to compose songs and tunes that sound as much a part of the manouche/chanson tradition as, in this case, Charles Trenet’s breezy Ménilmontant. The superb, cool singing from violinist Seonaid Aitken is more than just an added bonus, and she really comes to the fore here with her completely unforced (and, on her own fine ballad, January Blue, sincerely affecting) vocals complementing her dynamic, on-fire but always highly musical violin solos. She also has a great ear for string arrangements, the gorgeous intro to Irving Berlin’s Isn’t This A Lovely Day and I’m Confessing’s warm embrace being prime examples. It’s a group effort, though, and guitarist Tam Gallagher and bassist Jimmy Moon provide secure rhythmical impetus for Aitken and lead guitarist Tom Watson’s spiky, very direct and well thought-through extemporising.