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Yann-Fanch Perroches - An Droug Hirnez
YANN-FANCH PERROCHES "An Droug Hirnez" Keltia Musique KMCD79

Yann-Fanch Perroches, late of top Breton band Skolvan and more recently of the impressive accordion trio Cocktail Diatonique, is a true master of his craft. He handles his accordion diatonique with exemplary technique, precision and expressiveness, whether in delicate melodic passages, imaginative improvisation or subtle use of chords, and he has a fine repertoire of tunes from Breton tradition and his own pen. With his first solo recording he's chosen to plough a laid-back, jazzy furrow and aided by some particularly sensitive accompaniment from his chosen session musicians, the results are superb.

From the opening bars of "Partie de Jambes en l'Air", in which a plucked cello sets up a swinging riff over North African percussion, the accordion making a dramatic entrance with a series of jazz chords, you know you're in for something out of the ordinary. Glidas Boclés adventurous double bass on "La Fille d'un Roi Francais" recalls Danny Thompson's work, while Didier Squiban contributes quite exquisite piano accompaniment to the title track, a dreamy air with plenty of space for Perroches to extemporize. Several of the tunes have a reflective air bordering on the melancholy, but things get pretty funky at times too, one arrangement for drums and sax apparently having been inspired by a Yorkshire pub session with the New Victory band. The album bows out on a gorgeous air for box and flute, though if you fail to hit the "off" button you'll get several minutes of mysteriously distant noises after that.

An excellent piece of work I've listened to again and again.

Brian Peters

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This album was reviewed in Issue 28 of The Living Tradition magazine.