It seems that there is no end to the number of incarnations in which the chameleonic Tcha Limberger will appear. So it’s no surprise to find him as one part of this Mediterranean Quartet also featuring guitarist Matia Levréro, accordionist and saxophonist Guilhem Verger and percussionist Simon Leleux. Between traditional Greek and Bosnian music, and original work there’s plenty of intuitive cohesion present, folk-Jazz crossbreeding is at the root of this music which is all deeply characterful, by turns bold and delicate and always elegant. It is absolutely wonderful to listen to Mr Limberger – in particular – as he sings wordlessly seeming to grasp the nuanced accents of subtly different musical cultures that sweep across the Mediterranean – from Greece and The Middle East through to the Balkans, going native as he does so.
Of course, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts and so this quartet gives a fine account of itself through these intense, well-shaped and cogent performances. Mr Levréro on guitar and Mr Verger on accordion and saxophone add spectacular harmonies to the melodic lines of Mr Limberger’s violin while as percussion colourist Mr Leleux brings rhythmic muscle and drive to the beautifully arrangements of beguiling variety and sensuousness. Melodic lines are played with mannered beauty as well as – when called for – with visceral energy and here Mr Limberger, Mr Levréro as well as Me Verger’s performances are exceptional. Each is mellifluous (“Wedding in Mera”), expressively generous (“Mr Tcha”) and fiercely driven (“Eréndira”).
Mr Leleux’s performance has a wonderful sinister voluptuousness on the tar and other frame drums and almost melodic on “Wedding in Mera” where his playing is mixed in with violin and accordion with dreamy, balladry. On the traditional music – “Manes Tis Avgis” and “Eréndira/Vetar Duse” – his performance is sombre and by turns dark and electric when called for. Meanwhile Mr Limberger tells powerful stories “going native” as only he can given his deep connections to other-worldly musical topography by virtue of his being so steeped in the Manouche culture and way of life.
This is a magnificently coherent album; nobly expressive, beautifully-toned and above all refreshingly un-egoistic. It works on so many levels above all in the unfolding of Mediterranean and Balkan music with crisp, sharply focused, high-energy performances from each member of the quartet that is thoroughly atmospheric as well.
Track list – 1: Mappa Mundi; 2: Carlos Parades; 3: Abilene; 4: Entre les lignes; 5: Balada de un dia de Julio; 6: Mr Tcha; 7: Wedding in Mera; 8: Manes Tis Avgis; 9: Sans Alibi; 10: Eréndira/Vetar Duse
Personnel – Matia Levréro: guitar; Tcha Limberger: violin and voice; Guilhem Verger: accordion and saxophone; Simon Leleux: percussion
Released – 2019
Label – Lejazzetal Records
Runtime – 48:59