St Germain: St Germain review – smooth jazz-house hitmaker returns (via The Guardian)

Fifteen years ago, Parisian musician Ludovic Navarre created the soundtrack to many a bourgeois soiree with Tourist – an album that brought jazz and house music together in a way that was easy to listen to and difficult to get out of your head. Tourist went on to sell 3m copies worldwide, but Navarre never followed it up until now. This new album makes less of a claim to be contemporary: house rhythms are largely absent, replaced by a blend of jazz rhythms and Malian instrumentation. The kora takes the lead on Forget Me Not and How Dare You, while the xylophone-like balafon is given its head on soaring opener Real Blues. As with Tourist, it’s possible to feel these combinations are a little too smooth; it’s also possible to feel uneasy about a white European appropriating black musical styles. But Navarre is clearly a conscientious producer with an ear for detail, and in the case of the almost free-jazz Hanky Panky, the music here is rich indeed.

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