René Mailhes

June 26, 2008

Nicolai Foss

Although I much admire the playing of Stochelo Rosenberg, Moreno, Tchavolo Schmitt et al., I am growing a bit tired of the standard gypsy jazz instrumental set-up — that is, two guitars and a bass, possibly supplemented with a violin or an accordeon. And, yes, Minor Swing, Sweet Georgia Brown, I Can’t Give You Anything …. etc. etc. are surely great melodies … but ..

I guess I like jazz manouche the best when it oversteps the boundaries, as is sometimes the case with Birelli, Angelo Debarre, and Patrick Saussois. There are, of course, also those gypsy players who have never really adhered to the fixed (and tired?) format, such as Christian Escoudé and René Mailhes. Mailhes is, I believe, out of the the famous Malha clan (Gusti Malha) and is today in his 70s. He has done at least three CDs, only one of which (forthcoming in July on French “Iris”) is currently available. Mailhes is a fabulous, melodic player with a strong influence of free jazz. Here is a youtube clip with him, playing his 175.

One Response to “René Mailhes”

  1. Czak Hervé Says:

    René is an exception in the world of french gypsy players . I like him very much . Thank you for your statement .

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