One might disagree with the press release that describes the Rhythm Future Quartet as "America’s premiere Gypsy jazz ensemble," but there is no doubting that this is a tight acoustic quartet that plays with an irresistible swing. Incidentally, I prefer the term manouche jazz or hot club jazz to describe this music. They are composed of Jason Anick on violin, Olli Soikkeli on guitar, Max O’Rourke on second guitar and Greg Loughman on bass. On their new recording, they have special guests: the acclaimed singer Cyrille Aimée), Brazil’s top bandolimist Hamilton de Holanda, and the great manouche jazz guitarist Stochelo Rosenberg.
The album opens with the spirited "Jaytude No. 1 in Em" composed by violinist Anick who shines here along with guitarist Soikkeli as O'Rourke and Loughman maintain a steady pulse. In contrast "Cachoeira" captures a more reflective mood. Cyrille Aimée contributes a soft, charming vocal to a cover of Duke Ellington's "Solitude" with Anick's obligatos adding to the performance's appeal. Soikkeli' "Olli's Bossa" is a feature of his deft, guitar pyrotechnics along with some sweet, soaring violin and intriguing interplay between to two.
Then there is the marvelous acoustic bebop of the group's interpretation of Oscar Pettiford's "Tricotism," which opens with Loughman setting the tone opening this performance and Anick sounding superb here. Hamilton de Holanda adds the bandolim, an instrument derived from the mandolin and engages with Anick and O'Rourke in the unusual "Jazz Chimes." Manouche jazz lends itself to romanticism, and that is evident on Anick's "Treetops." On "Desvairada" by the legendary Brazilian composer and guitarist Garoto, the quartet provides their take on Brazilian choro music.
The Quartet also is heard on a lively rendition of Django Reinhardt's classic "Minor Blues," with Soikkeli terrific. Rosenberg joins the Quartet on Anick's "Sleepless" and adds some spectacular, breath-taking guitar here. The album closes with O'Rourke's "136 Harrison" which has a string octet from the Berklee College of Music lending this performance an almost nostalgic tone. It closes this a thoroughly engaging recording by a terrific acoustic jazz quartet.
I received a download from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the March-April 2019 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 383). Here they perform "Minor Blues."