Viper's Dream

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Reviews of Viper's Dream


11/12/2008 Musician Magazine

Superior Gypsy jazz from this London-based acoustic six-piece, namely Tim Robinson and Patrick Naylor (guitars), Daniel Teper (accordian/piano), Richie Howard (clarinet), Alex Keen (double bass) and Sara Mitra (vocals). Each performer demonstrates mastery of their instrument with the group unafraid of moving between the swinging opus that is Webster and the melancholic beauty of This Mistake. Fresh and ameliorating, lovely from start to finish.


01/10/2008 Jack Brown of Djangology.net

Viper's Dream, the new disc from the London group of the same name, is brimming with the sort of jazz that Django played: swinging, musical, and inviting. Less concerned with a notes-per-minute quota than establishing a mood, the band weaves their way through fourteen standards and originals (some of which you can hear on their myspace page) including several stunners penned by vocalist Sara Mitra. The result recalls the days when--as the saying goes--good music was popular, and popular music was good.
The traditional lineup of guitars and upright, here played by frontman Tim Robinson (a mainstay on the UK Django scene) and Patrick Naylor, with Alex Keen on bass, is augmented not only by Mitra's beguiling vocals but by the accordion and piano of Daniel Teper and the clarinet of Richie Howard. They're a democratic crew, each in turn stepping into the spotlight for a solo section before slipping gently back into the rhythm section to support the next musician.
Which is not to say that there isn't some great playing here--witness the fever pitch of "Going Home Alone", where the full band gets a workout, or the sensitive, nuanced interplay of "Song D'Automne", where Robinson and Naylor create a delicate web of interlacing guitar parts. Often, the best parts of Viper's Dream come on the slower tunes, which provide more space for conversation among the musicians. Their take on Ambiance Tzigane--hypnotic, with an ever-shifting tonal palette--induces a reverie.
Yet once again, I find myself most drawn to an album's originals. Partly, this is a simple result of my listening habits; after so many years of being immersed in the world of Gypsy Jazz, hearing yet more versions of the most recorded tunes in the genre has become an exercise in diminishing returns. To their credit, Viper's Dream largely avoids this pitfall, both by avoiding most of the well-worn repertoire, and, when they do visit it (Undecided, I Can't Give You Anything But Love), using some snappy arrangements and the addition of Mitra to keep things fresh. Still, they seem to truly come into their own on material penned by the band. Especially moving is "This Mistake", a plaintive tale of lost love and lessons learned. It does something few songs do anymore: it haunts.


29/05/2008 Sylvia Rushbrooke of Le QuecumBar

"Viper's Dream are highly valued regular artists at Le QuecumBar, always refreshing always a musical pleasure by accomplished talented musicians. This latest CD is long overdue and will sit along side the other great gypsy swing artists CDs adding to the great collection of Gypsy Swing CDs regularly played in Le QuecumBar"


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