The France-based Paris Combo were formed in 1995 when the trio of Belle Du Berry, François François, and Potzi were joined by David Lewis and Mano Razanajato. An unlikely meeting of varying cultures combined in the formation of this acoustic group, with two French members, vocalist du Berry and drummer François; Australian trumpeter Lewis; Madagascan bassist Razanajato, and Mediterranean guitarist Potzi. Collectively, they combine several styles of music like cabaret, gypsy, and swing jazz and inject them sparingly with Latin rhythms, Spanish guitar and, on rare instances, Asian and Mid-Eastern motifs. This esoteric melding of cultures and musical influences yields a hybrid that, while it relies on retro sources, comes across as neither contrived nor forced. du Berry's flitting yet commanding voice lies somewhere between that of Edith Piaf and Anna Purnell. Potzi's guitar playing combines the gypsy styling and swing of Django Reinhardt, the warm intonations of Joe Pass, and the rhythm of Charlie Christian. Lewis' frequently muted trumpet recalls the swing and sweet bands of the '30s and '40s. He also doubles on piano, which enhances the jazz effect, but the diversity of the Paris Combo prevents any strict categorization. Their debut, Paris Combo, was released in 1997, followed by Living Room in 1999. Both were released on the American, Tinder Records label and both retained the same personnel. Attraction was released in 2001 on Polygram, followed by Motifs on DRG in 2005. The band's 2013 effort, 5, was well-received and found the band touring widely, including making their first appearances in the United States in over ten years. In 2017, Paris Combo returned with their sixth studio album, Tako Tsubo. ~ Dave Sleger
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