Popul'Art Café, Madrid Spain, May 2007
On my last work trip to Madrid I was lucky enough to catch a blues show in the city centre.
Cadijo is a French singer, harmonica player and band leader; he is based in Bordeaux, France, so I was doubly lucky to catch him while we were both away from home.
The band were performing for a week at Café Populart, they had recently played a festival in North Africa and had flown via Madrid so had arranged some work while passing through. I am afraid that I cannot remember the name of the festival they had played at despite the beautiful logo displayed on Cadijo’s t-shirt all night.
I was a little surprised to see the line-up of the band…
- Cadijo - Vocals and harmonica
- Fred PG - Guitar
- Javier Garcia - Bass
- Guillaume Destarac - Drums
- Norman Hogue - Trombone
I was immediately concerned - I really did not expect that a trombone in a guitar, harp, drums and bass band would work. I am pleased to admit that I was very wrong. Not only did Norman Hogue play the ‘bone extremely well, with excellent tone and phrasing - he also fitted into the band brilliantly. The band played a mixture of acoustic and electric numbers, covering all the bases from a ragtime feels through traditional Chicago blues on towards funk - occasionally with a splash of jazz thrown in. Even more pleasing were some of the self-penned songs by Cadijo performed in French. French is a great language, not only is it beautiful to listen to but amazingly very American musical forms blues and rap work brilliantly sung in French.
It would not be fair to single out any members of the band as they all played very well indeed. If you get the chance while travelling to see the band then they come recommended by bluesinthenorthwest.com. I have asked Grahame to write a CD review as he is so much better at that sort of thing than I. CD review to follow.
Kean Peace www.bluesinthenorthwest.com
|BLUES IN BRITAIN juillet 2008||
I reviewed Cadijo’s ‘Vagabond Blues’ CD a while back. That featured a four piece line-up whereas here it is just Cadijo (on vocals and harp) backed by either Michel Foizon or Raoul Ficel on guitar. I have one problem with this CD; all bar one track are originals and are in French! Now I did better at Latin than French when I did my O-levels (and some unkind souls have even suggested that Latin wasn’t a ‘dead’ language when I took my O-levels!) so I can’t really comment on the lyrical content. The overall style of the CD is acoustic blues with a jazzy feel to a lot of the guitar work.
The CD opens strongly with the title track, a light bouncy number with a hint of Sonny and Brownie. ‘La Riviere’ has a brooding feel with some percussive guitar and haunting harp fills. ’Les Reves Bleus’ is a slower jazz-blues ballad but then the pace picks up for ‘A Tout Les Titanics’ which features some good harp. ‘Y’a qu’l’argent’ is a slow blues with excellent Lonnie Johnson style guitar and equally good harp, a really good track! ‘Souvenirs Sans Paroles’ is a short harp solo which sounds like Noah Lewis. The pace slows for ‘Droit Dans Les Yeux’ with more good harp and then it’s up-tempo for ‘J’Suis Presse’ where there is excellent interplay between the guitar and harp. ‘Y’a Des Matins Comme Ca’ is a slow Chicago style blues a la ‘Long Distance Call’ with yet more good guitar and harp. ‘Du Swing Dans Les Blues’ does swing and is a real foot-tapper. The CD closes with the only cover ‘Boat’s Up River’ which is nicely done.
Both vocals and harp are strong with the harp playing being uniformly good and tasty. Cadijo writes his songs in French as he feels he can best express himself this way. Both guitarists are good fluid players and often use jazzy lines but without losing the basic bluesy feel. This is a most enjoyable CD full of good musicianship, well worth investigating.
|Bluesinthenorthwest.com, June 2007||
CD Vagabond Blues
This release is somewhat of a pleasant surprise - caught live by Ken Peace in a Madrid club, Cadijo turns out to be a French harmonica player who delivers a lovely laid-back mix of Django Rheinhardt-flavoured ‘gypsy’ jazz and swing and rags, with sympathetic and unobtrusive support from Fred PG (guitar), Christophe Coletta (guitar), Greg Schultz (guitar) and the superb stand-up bass of Lionnel Garrigues.
His vocals, in both French and English, are again nice and laid-back - perfect for a nice sunny summer’s day - with his harmonica influences being on the jazz side, with a couple of Sonny Terry style instrumentals. The guitar players acquit themselves very well, although the sparse sleeve notes give little indication of who plays on which track or solo.
Again the spirit of Belgian swing/jazz master Django Rheinhardt dominates the guitar players - and very nice it is too - check out the swinging “Daphne” with both great harmonica and guitar; another stand-out is the country blues of “Louise” and the title cut, “Vagabond Blues”, complete with whistling intro and French vocal.
I would think this will be as hard to find as rocking-horse droppings, but check out the website at www.cadijo.com as a starting point - it is all really lovely and a change from over-loud electric guitars and 100w amps! Yet another name to add to the ever-growing list of impressive European bluesmen - check him out!
|Blues in Britain n° 54, juin 2006||
CD Vagabond Blues
Cadijo hails from France and sings and plays harp. Here he is supported by Fred PG on guitar, Christophe Coletta or Greg Schultz on second guitar and Lionel Garrigue on double bass.They are relatively young looking bunch and they gig under the name Vagabond Blues Quartet.Their music is a mix of acoustic blues and swing jazz (what they call gypsy swing and I guess is a Django Reinhardt inspired style) The ten tracks come from a diverse range of sources (definitively not the usual suspects!) plus a couple of originals.
The instrumental « Out of nowhere » gets proceedings underway and features excellent jazzy harp and guitar and swings like crazy. In fact the word swing will see a lot of use in the review!
Blind Blakes « Wabash Rag » is suitably jaunty and see a heap of harp riffs and tricks, great track!
The instrumental « Que Reste t il de nos Amours » slows the pace down and is a mood piece with tasteful guitar – wouldn't be out of place as a sound track to an episode of Maigret.
« Bluesharp strut » is a harp showcase with Cadijo solo on a tune with Sonny Tery overtones.
This leads into « Elle Aimait trainer », a country blues number sung in french and with the harp reminding me of Phil Wiggins.
An instrumental version of « I can't give you anything but love » is another slower tune but still manages to swing.
Reinhardt/Grappelli's « Daphné » sees the tempo lift and is a classic piece of swing jazz.
CadiJo is solo again for « Louise », another Sonny Terry influenced number.
The title track has a whistled intro, is sung in french, has a bouncy bass line and the guitar reminded me of « San Francisco Bay Blues »,
The CD closes with the swinging (of course) instrumental « Harmonica Rag ».
This is an infectious mix of blues and jazz which really does swing like crazy. If your toes don't tap to this then you must be dead! All the group members are well versed in the style and the playing is totally spot on style-wise. The only slight weak point is CadiJo's vocals when singing in English.Overall though the CD was a pleasant surprise.A recommended sticker! Definitively of interest to acoustic fans and anyone who enjoys the jazzy side or, like me, came to Blues via Jazz and even those who like swinging West-Coast blues would find stuff to enjoy here.