Edouard Bronson CD

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If you feel that the main casualties of modernity have been elegance and charm, allow Edouard Bronson to redress the balance. Once a tyro of free jazz the illustrious saxophonist here offers a second instalment of his take on romantic song: singing and playing accordion amid lush arrangements.

Bronson’s compositions mingle not only elegance and charm, but soft-focus romance, sly humour and autumnal wistfulness. His background heritage of Russian song is present, as is a love of the classical tradition, French chanson, gypsy music and, inevitably, jazz.

The songs are beautifully crafted, with supple, sensuous melodies. If there are lyrics they are supplications to a lover, present or past, including a congenial offer to share a one-night stand on Mon Amie.

The words are variously in French, Russian or English, and when the latter Bronson’s Russian accent only thickens the charm, while his baritone is utterly devoid of self-consciousness and brims with candour and bonhomie.

His soprano saxophone slices into Intimate, and otherwise we can revel in his accordion playing on its plush cushion of bass, drums, percussion and Daniel Pliner’s graceful piano. Although John Maddox’s busy bass solos and a slight rawness in the production compromise the ultimate elegance, the songs are so strong that within three listens they have become old friends – or old lovers may be more appropriate.