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Cafe Americain: Reviews


Cafe Americain was absolutely perfect - and they guys were really nice. Thank you so much for making this so easy for me.

James - Corporate Event Planner (Oct, 2009)

Since I was able to see Cafe Americain in Cafe Trieste the first time, I have tears in my eyes now watching them... It's a very special atmosphere and feeling when they perform at the Trieste.. I never experienced something similar in my life...

Dietmar - Fan (Nov, 2009)

Café Americain has its own fresh sound... Whether for dancing or close listening, for a gypsy jazz crowd, fans of David Grisman or lovers of romantic European melodies, Café Americain throws a musical party that is quite pleasing and memorable. Highly recommended.

Scott Yanow - Music Critic (Apr, 2009)

Another happy client!

Kent Strand - Owner/CEO Bay Music and Entertainment (Oct, 2009)

CD Reviews

San Francisco guitarist Ned Boynton has teamed up with Michael Zisman (mandolin), and Jason Vanderford (rhythm guitar), to bring us the Hot Club derived sounds of Cafe Americain. Not simply another group of Django copyists, Boynton and company find inspiration in bossa nova, Brazilian choros, and the timeless songs of the Great American Songbook as well as the 'gypsy jazz' of Django Reinhardt and his followers.
The group's debut CD includes few of the songs popular among Hot Club aficionados-of the discs thirteen tunes, only Honeysuckle Rose and perhaps I'll Never Be the Same will jump out to most as familiar jazz tunes, and that is a wonderful thing (though their sultry take on Goldfinger will surely strike a chord with men of a certain age). The bulk of the disc, though, is made up of a mix of lesser-known tunes such as Jacob do Bandolim's effervescent Tira Poeira, the American jazz of Fats Waller's Jitterbug Waltz, and even the Santo & Johnny classic Sleepwalk (if you think you don't know that one, you're wrong).
The band seems to want to appeal to a broad range of listeners and club owners, and this disc will serve them well. It's a pleasure to be reminded that playing jazz on a Selmer-style guitar doesn't mean that everything has to be played at a hummingbird tempo, or in a rhythmic lockstep. The pace never really rises above a medium bounce, lending the disc an easy-going feel that makes it sure to fit in most anywhere. If there's one real complaint I have with the disc, it's that it's almost too easy-going; given the wide range of styles the band assays, I would have enjoyed hearing them really tear into a song or two. But one gets the feeling that Cafe Americain is much happier living outside of definitions, and their music, drawn from all over, is the better for it.
Cafe Americain plays at Caffé Trieste in San Francisco every Wednesday at 7pm. To hear more of their music, visit their website. To buy the CD, click here!
Posted by jackbrown at 04:47 PM
Social Club

Imagine going from the joyful “Runaway” and a swinging string version of the Beatles’ “Come Together” to the spirited if somewhat crazy “Mambo Italiano” and Django Reinhardt’s “Swing 42.” Café Americain travels through that diverse material during the first four selections on Social Club, making a variety of styles a logical and comfortable part of their musical menu.
Café Americain consists of leader-guitarist Ned Boynton, Michael Zisman on mandolin, rhythm guitarist Jason Vanderford, and bassist Simon Planting. The acoustic instrumentation is a little reminiscent of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France that starred Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli (although with mandolin for violin and one less guitarist), but that is only one part of the group’s wide musical range. The band sounds just as comfortable on Beatles songs (“Eleanor Rigby” and “I Will” are also on this CD) as it does on Italian and South American pieces, an adaptation of Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino,” “Witchcraft,” “O Sole Mio” and even “Bill Bailey.” Guest singer Kim Nalley is a strong asset to a few of the numbers, performing in several languages, sounding particularly authentic on “Besame Mucho” and joyous on “Bill Bailey.”
Alternating between guitar and mandolin melodic leads with superior accompaniment from the rhythm guitar and bass, Café Americain has its own fresh sound. While the music contains the improvisation and swing of jazz, the group also crosses over into European café music and prejazz string music. But most important is that their performances are quite fun. Whether for dancing or close listening, for a gypsy jazz crowd, fans of David Grisman or lovers of romantic European melodies, Café Americain throws a musical party that is quite pleasing and memorable. Highly recommended.

Scott Yanow, Author of ten jazz books including The Jazz Singers, Trumpet Kings, Swing, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
Scott Yanow (Apr, 2009)