Alain Rozan & The Reprobates: “Boogie Woogie”

Alain Rozan & The Reprobates “Boogie Woogie”

French born, and current New York resident, Alain Rozan teams up with the band the Reprobates for his latest release Boogie Woogie.  Though there are elements of blues and boogie woogie sprinkled throughout the album, the album goes beyond a single genre as it expands into both French and American folk music, rock, pop and other genres in a blend that is both unique and highly personal.  Rozan’s musical background is rich and diverse, and he brings all of these different streams together into a concentrated focus that is at once diverse and held together at the same time.

There are moments when Rozan and company reach back to ‘60s America in songs like “Too Big to Bop,” which even has shades of ‘50’s vocal groups mixed in with its early rock and surf harmony and rhythms.   The guitar tone on the lead lines brings to mind the great California bands of the ‘60s, with their energetic phrases and Stratocaster tone that has now become a staple of the rock guitar world.  Rozan also takes a dive into the American South with his track “N’Awlins Two Steps.”  Here, the singer and songwriter pays tribute to the great city of New Orleans, with the accordion groove provided an Acadian backdrop for the guitar riff that permeates the background through the song’s verse sections.  With a deep knowledge and love of classic American rock and roll, from different regions of this vast country, Rozan is able to write in a historical style, but keep things diverse at the same time as he moves between the different sub-genres that made up early rock and roll.

On “Le Banc de Pierre,” Rozan returns to his native French as he sings the song’s narrative, mixing the lyrics with a quasi-Reggae groove that is laid down by the guitar.  To differentiate the groove from a strict Jamaican feel, there is a double-timed percussion part that weaves its way through the verse sections of the song, providing a personal touch to the underlying Reggae groove of the song.  Rozan also breaks things up with the instrumental song “Raisin’ Heaven in Hell,” where the guitar and accordion take center stage during this short but entertaining tune.  By using an instrumental to break things up musically, Rozan is allowing his audience to take a bit of a side-trip into another side of his artistic output, while at the same time keeping the groove and harmonic-melodic content in line with the rest of the album.

Though there are a lot of strong moments on the album, in particular the grooves, accordion and guitar lines, there are moments when the melody line becomes a bit predictable and drags on the overall success of a few of the songs on the record.  “New York City” and “Real American” are both interesting songs from a rhythmic and harmonic perspective, but the melody line becomes a bit stale during the course of the song.  With eleven songs on the album, having a couple of songs with quasi-stagnant melody lines isn’t a huge deal, just something that Rozan might think about for his next project.  Both songs have interesting lyrics, and with a few tweaks and turns with the melody they could both be raised up from good songs to great songs.

Overall, Boogie Woogie is a musically diverse album that leads the listener down different musical paths while keeping them locked together with Rozan’s artistic personality and musicianship.  Sometimes albums with so many genres being weaved into the songs can become loose and lose its direction, but this is not one of those cases as the musicianship of the band and Rozan keep things locked together and moving forward.

Review by Matthew Warnock
Rating:  3.5 Stars (out of 5)

This entry was posted in Matt Warnock, Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
 

Matt Warnock
Genres: Jazz, Rock, Indie, Classical, Blues, Metal, World Music, Country


Dr. Matt Warnock is a highly experienced music journalist, educator and performer who has written books for Hal Leonard and Mel Bay, as well as hundreds of articles for Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, All About Jazz.com and Modern Guitar Magazine. Currently, he is Editor in Chief for Guitar International Magazine where, beyond his editorial duties, he has interviewed some of the biggest names in the business including Robby Krieger, Ace Frehley, Brian Aubert , George Benson and John Pizzarelli. Matt is also Director of Guitar Studies at Western Illinois University and the Executive Director of the WIU Guitar Festival.

“Boogie Woogie” is available on all digital download distributors, (Itunes store, Amazon.com, etc…)


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