Camelot Lounge, October 20
Lulo Reinhardt, great-nephew of the fabled Django, was a regular visitor to these shores for several years, during which time audiences came to treasure not just the brilliance of his acoustic guitar playing and his Latin-flavoured take on Gypsy swing, but also his many exceptional compositions. Australia’s Daniel Weltlinger, now based in Berlin, has regularly played violin with Reinhardt for most of this century, and so was the ideal person to remind us of the guitarist’s music, if we can’t have the man, himself.
The only problem was that the band, replete with some of Sydney’s finest musicians, was glaringly under-rehearsed. This was a shame both in terms of doing justice to some of the compositions and in terms of the players being sufficiently relaxed for the music to take off.
Nonetheless one could still enjoy the lilt of Mar y Sol, the more voluptuous melody of the slow Sibel, the North-African-infused exoticism of Magdalena and the cocktail of serenity, beauty, sadness and lyricism underpinning Daniel’s Balcony. Lulos Tango and Katoomba Birds were less fortunate in their treatment.
Thankfully the material was still able to spawn some sparkling improvising along the way. Accordionist Marcello Maio skated blithely across the syncopations of Swing de Minor, Weltlinger became airborne in the way only he can on Daniel’s Balcony and guitarist Ben Panucci crafted a couple of playful solos intermingling sweet lines, sour dissonances and a gritty sound.
The second set included two of Weltlinger’s own transporting compositions in Musique Metisse and Neglect, both featuring sinuous, high-contrast solos from pianist Daniel Pliner. Saxophonist (and national treasure) Edouard Bronson joined the band for the second set, swelling the music’s heart and spirit, and drenching Django Reinhart’s Manoir de mes reves in extraordinarily vibrant soprano saxophone.
Weltlinger’s violin achieved its signature incandescence on occasion, and, as ever, his tone was glorious and his bowing action as graceful as a ballet. Completing the band were guitarist Nigel Date, bassist Thomas Wade and drummer Tim Bradley.