Eddie Bronson was already a treasure of the Australian music scene, thanks to his pioneering work in free improvisation, the glory of his saxophone playing and his invaluable contribution to groups including Monsieur Camembert's gypsy strains.
This album only increases his stature. Bronson has penned a batch of songs located loosely within the Russian folk, cafe and dance idioms of his youth, which share a unifying theme of unabashed romance.
But there is nothing treacly about Bronson's songs. However soft-centred the lyrics (whether in Russian, English or both), the accompaniment buoys them rather than weighs them down and often there is a wry tinge of wit to both the words and music.
Because Bronson is best known for playing saxophones and clarinets, it comes as a surprise that only one song, Destiny, contains any horn playing, in this case the magical, creamy sound of his tenor. Instead, it is his big, warm voice and swooning accordion that take centre stage, amid a band in perfect sympathy with the romantic intentions.
Pianist Marcello Maio, acoustic guitarist Julian Curwin, cellist Anatoli Torjinski, violinist Daniel Weltlinger, bassist Mark Harris and drummer Nick Cecire give the songs a swishing lightness and 1920s elegance, as well as an intensity that ensures the music never sounds like pastiche but the real thing. Delightful.
John Shand ~ SMH
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