Urban Gypsies Quartet album




sam-resWhat other band would even contemplate performing both Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir and Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango on the same album? Such juxtapositions could easily seem somewhat arch, but the Urban Gypsies Quartet makes it seem almost inevitable, so seamlessly does it blend genres, anyway. Elements of flamenco, jazz, Gypsy music, tango and other Latin idioms are completely interwoven, so that effect is of holistic lushness rather than cherry-picking.

On this fourth album the core band consists of acoustic guitarists Gavin Libotte and Dieter Kleeman, cellist Anatoli Torjinski and percussionist Stuart Henderson, with guests including Cameron Undy adding magnificent double bass. But then such is the recording quality that all the instruments have a striking sonic opulence. The guitars combine with precision and imagination, and Torjinski’s cello is a commanding presence whenever it features. The rather bland Avalon apart, the original material is engaging, although it is hard not be particularly drawn in by the drama of Kashmir with Henderson revelling in its relentless groove and Robert Plant’s vocal line taken by the cello. They also achieve the requisite sensuousness on Libertango.