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Aline's Étoile Magique — Éclipse
(Bandcamp Elastic Records ER009, 2023, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-02-15

Éclipse Cover art

I’m always up for some good violin jazz. Ever since I got into Jean Luc Ponty’s albums of the 70s, I’ve sought out that sound that only a violin can produce. Aline Homzy was a new name to me when this album arrived, and it only took about halfway through the opening track, “Caraway,” before I was hooked. It starts with a catchy lick from violin that’s joined by vibes with clean guitar, accordion, and acoustic bass, backed by a drum part with a light latin touch. Aline casually tosses off a beautifully fluid solo, then Michael Davidson gets a nimble vibes solo. I’m reminded a little of something that might have appeared on Chick Corea’s My Spanish Heart, only without piano. Definitely a touch of “Armando’s Rhumba.” Then a different riff creeps in, sounding very familiar… Wait, it’s “Birds of Fire”! That’s a tasty little tribute, though it doesn’t seem to be credited anywhere. Aline's Étoile Magique presents a very enjoyable blend of gypsy jazz, chamber music, and what might be termed “acoustic fusion,” by which I mean music that’s similar to jazz fusion but played on acoustic instruments. “Circa Herself” is a perfect example. This tune features some fast unison playing that would be right at home on a classic Mahavishnu album, though with vibes and accordion in the arrangement, it has a very different impact. Homzy favors a very natural tone on her violin, without effects, though there are occasional electronic touches in the arrangements, notably on “Cosmos.” Éclipse is a wonderful album, light of touch but bristling with playful energy and imagination.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Aline Homzy / Étoile Magique

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