C'est La Vie
1521 Alton Rd. Ste. 264
Miami Beach, FL 33139
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
C'EST LA VIE by the superb guitarist and musician Alex Fox is a fine album. Born in Argentina but currently residing in the USA, Fox began his studies of the classical guitar as a child. Later, upon arrival in North America, he learned the popular rumba/flamenco guitar style and then combined it with his classical approach to create his brand of pop nouveau flamenco. Fans of Ottmar Liebert and the guitar duo Strunz and Farah will find their tastes satiated with C'EST LA VIE.
This CD contains fifteen mostly original compositions that range from slow, nostalgic tunes to up-tempo, fiery, Latin songs. This is not just a guitar album. Fox studied orchestration for several years in Buenos Aires and he brings that expertise to most of the featured tracks. In addition to nylon-string acoustic guitar, Fox performs bass, balalaika, mandolin and keyboard on C'EST LA VIE. Accompanying musicians support him beautifully on violins, viola, cello and percussion.
The title track, "C'est La Vie", is a short, spirited tune brimming with gypsy feeling. It is wonderful for dancing and/or just listening. Fox really displays his chops and musicality on this one. On the slow, romantic "Que C'est Triste Venise", Fox accompanies his lead with pretty, arpeggiated chords. The prominent use of keyboards and strings in this song make for a lush and atmospheric listening experience. "David & Sebastian" is another gypsy-sounding tune. It features Fox's finger-picking to the quick, rhythmic, staccato strumming that has come to be associated with gypsy jazz. As in a few of the other songs, the violins create lyrical and airy lines that hearken back to those magical days at the Hot Club in France, immortalized by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Fox pays tribute to flamenco guitarist, Manolo Sanlucar by performing Sanlucar's own composition, "A Manolo Sanlucar". Though not a strictly traditional flamenco piece, it allows Fox to showcase his facility with legato playing and the tremolo technique.
I enjoyed listening to C'EST LA VIE. My only criticism is that it falls too neatly in line with that whole gypsy-nouveau-flamenco genre of guitar music already made famous by several others. This similarity, however, bears no adverse reflection on Fox's compositional aptitude for pretty melodies, tasteful arrangements and mastery of fingerstyle guitar. Fox has several other CDs available such as PERSONALITY and TO THE GYPSIES. This reviewer has also listened to those albums and found them to be immensely satisfying as well.
Alex Fox is an artist worth checking out.
Edited by David Schultz