Paris Combo
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Paris Combo

Throughout their three previous albums, Paris Combo has proved their mix of Gypsy jazz, swing, French cabaret and global spark possesses ample charm and fun. So much so, in fact, as to render deeper musical substance less distinguishable at times. Given that, Motifs is probably the quintet's best to date. The quaintness and exotic/romantic feel is intact, while there is more to be savored in terms of unpredictability. The tightly-packed "Baguee" jumps with insistent finesse, "Etoile Pale" carries on with great beauty and pieces like "Baron de Chaise," "Je ne Sais Qui Fumer," and the instrumental/scat "Reflet" easily blend shades of American and European jazz, Caribbean offbeats, New Orleans gumbo and lounge music that's been goosed into a higher state of liveliness. There's also bits of Brazil, the Mediterranean and North Africa to be heard in the melodies and instrumentation, giving extra muscle to the spirited lead vocals of Belle du Berry and the versatile chaps who accompany her. Motifs throws cute and clever in with genuine blood and guts, celebrating the middle ground between the two with every song. - Tom Orr

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