Paris Combo,
(DRG/Polydor, 2005)

"Je suis pile et je suis face." I don't know what it means either. But it sounds good. (These are the first lyrics of this CD).

That will likely be your reaction to Motifs. Paris Combo has a swinging sound that combines "Le Jazz Hot" with French cabaret.

You can hear the influence of Paris jazz of the '30s, of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. But there are few instrumental solos, just a syncopated feel. Potzi primarily sticks to rhythm guitar, leaving the occasional lead work to David Lewis on trumpet, bugle and piano. The CD is produced to be smooth. The guest violinists almost blend in with the keyboards.

The lyrics contrast with the easygoing music, with themes about alienation and lost love. Unfortunately, this will be lost on most American listeners who do not speak French. That does not mean that the CD is not enjoyable, however. The melodies are beautiful, and Belle du Berry's voice sounds good in any language. The songs are well crafted, with intriguing chord changes.

Francois Jeannin adds a bit of world music influence with unusual rhythms on drums and percussion, as does bassist Mario Razanajato whose writing contributions have a Brazilian influence.

Fans of the "groovy" sound will love Motifs. There is a Burt Bacharach-meets-Cabaret vibe that harkens back to the days when beats were people who read poetry and were not something added to crappy dance music.

- Rambles
written by Dave Howell
published 27 August 2005

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