Mediterranean Blues

Robin Nolan Trio

Refined Records, 2001

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Prepare to change the way you think about how the guitar is played. Prepare to change the way you think about jazz - and, for that matter, any kind of music with a Latin beat. Prepare to meet the Robin Nolan Trio.

Mediterranean Blues might be the group's first commercially-available CD, but the London-born, Amsterdam-based group has won themselves quite a legion of fans - not the least of whom include Willie Nelson and George Harrison. Invoking the spirit of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt, Nolan and crew will win you over literally from note number one.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I have listened to the title track (which opens the CD) at least a dozen times - and I still can't believe what I'm hearing Nolan play on the guitar. With leads that literally seem to dance from the strings onto the soundboard of the instrument, Nolan sets things on fire with a Latin-infused style of jazz that will get you up and dancing. When you get this CD, put it on, and turn the volume up loud - that's the ideal way to appreciate every single nuance of this track... and this CD, for that matter.

Mediterranean Blues has the feel of one of those albums from the late '50s or early '60s that you'd find in your parents' record collection. "Friar Park" has such a rich texture to it that you literally feel like you're being transported to another time and another place... and you are not going to want to leave it. Likewise, tracks such as "Bar Del Pi, "And Then There Were Three" and "Luna Tango" further seal the power of the trio as possibly the music world's greatest unheralded talent.

This isn't to say that everything on Mediterranean Blues is perfect. One or two tracks, such as "Song For Carolyn," seem to stretch things out a bit too far - and while I found myself drooling over Nolan's technique on the guitar, when he played notes that seemed to go sour on purpose, they made me wince a bit. Playing the notes in that style was undoubtedly his intention, though one has to wonder what purpose it had.

Still, Mediterranean Blues is a charming CD that you will want to nail down in your CD player and keep spinning until the laser gives out. Nolan is an absolute genius on the guitar, and this disc all but assures his place in the history of the instrument. Pick it up and discover it for yourself... somewhere, Django Reinhardt isn't just smiling, he's happily dancing to this group's music.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Refined Records, and is used for informational purposes only.