Gumbo du Jour

by Kagero

Track listing: Smokin' On Bali Shag, Back To Jakarta, Rockstar In A Grocery Store, My Freedom, Angel Baby, Life's A Thrill, Girl From The Coldest Country, It's A Perfect Day To Laugh, Greencard Bride, Gypsy Connection, Lonely Rose Vendor, Song From Africa, Morna

Kagero's Gumbo du Jour pretty accurately describes itself—a speciality blend of sounds and genres that flows from the band's "Japanese Gypsy Rock" roots. What 8½ Souvenirs did with Django Reinhardt's music in the late 90's and Hot Club of Cowtown did for Western Swing, Kagero does for its own interpretation of small-combo gypsy swing.

Tight, astute, and plenty of fun, Gumbo du Jour cleanly captures what must be an all out funfest at live shows. As a genre, Swing brings people together, helps them drink more freely, and fuels feelings of love, pure-hearted lust, and nostalgia. In the case of this effort, Kagero's fans did come together, financing the album through the band's Kickstarter campaign in early 2012. You can just feel the love throughout the record.

Lead singer and bandleader Kaz Fujimoto effuses his own gypsy-like sense of style, which translates well into his songs. While the swing tunes on the album are fun and danceable, there is a more mature, dramatic side to Gumbo du Jour. "My Freedom" takes on a bit of a late-era Beatles dreamy sound, with some Bowie-esque harmonies, and chords that could just as easily fit in Elton John's "Madman Across the Water." I suppose that's where the "rock" joins with the "Japanese gypsy."

Kagero's musicianship is spot-on. From the vocals to the composition, the band's clearly got talent. But a lot of bands are talented. It's what Kagero does with their skills that makes Gumbo du Jour a delectable delight. It's an album of many moods—dance to it, relax with it, play it at your next dinner party, or head out to their next show (perhaps The Bitter End on Saturday, June 8th?) and get schnockered while you have a night you wish you remembered. Really, other than serving as a soundtrack for Fast and Furious 6, Gumbo du Jour a wildly versatile collection of songs that could be served up with most any combination of side dishes.

Posted on 6/2/13