The Lost Fingers – Lost In The 80’s (2008)

The Lost Fingers - Lost In The 80's (2008)
Artist: The Lost Fingers
Album: Lost In The 80’s
Genre: Gypsy Jazz
Origin: Canada
Released: 2008
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
Pump Up the Jam (Technotronic)
You Give Love a Bad Name (Bon Jovi)
You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)
Incognito (Celine Dion)
Touch Me (Samantha Fox)
Part-Time Lover (Stevie Wonder)
Fresh (Kool & The Gang)
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
Careless Whisper (George Michael)
Tainted Love (Soft Cell)
Straight Up (Paula Abdul)
Black Velvet (Alannah Myles)

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One doesn’t often get a chance to hear Gypsy jazz renditions of Paula Abdul songs, and many might think that’s the sort of combination of music that shouldn’t be heard in the first place. Listening to the Lost Fingers, however, it’s easy to become a convert. The ensemble plays a basic style of manouche that bounces and rolls along in a fairly standard but well-played fashion. However, they then take “classic” (or otherwise) pieces from the ’80s and renovate them into the form they want. There are basic traces of the original pieces in their chord progressions and their basic melodic lines, but the songs are transformed by the Lost Fingers’ timbre, by their softer vocalizations, by the French tinges in their accents. Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” moves from anthemic stadium rock to a soft romp. The incomparable “Billie Jean” is kept nearly in its original mode, though it’s turned acoustic. The darkness of “Tainted Love” stays, but is morphed into a dark café piece, verging on the circus aesthetic at times. Importantly, the interesting part of what the Lost Fingers do is not the novelty of covering pieces of pop culture, but instead in incorporating those pieces simply as songs from the larger pantheon of classic compositions, and using them as fodder for their own Gypsy jazz playing. It can be a little disconcerting at times, but it’s a fine album for both nostalgia and for contemporary Gypsy jazz fans.
Review by Adam Greenberg

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