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Review: Marc Antoine – Modern Times

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Artist: Marc Antoine
Album: Modern Times
Released: August 16, 2005
Label: Rendezvous
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

French-born Marc Antoine was not born into a musical family like many successful musicians are, but he was born with a natural passion for music as well as the drive and discipline to hone his craft. When he was 16 years old, he earned a scholarship to the Paris Conservatory of Music and the rest was history. His seventh full-length solo album was recently released on Rendezvous Records and it’s a keeper. Antoine is a multi-instrumentalist, but it’s his guitar playing that stands out as his most accomplished talent. He can make the most difficult of flamenco, classical and jazz licks sound easy. What separates him from the thousands of technically advanced guitarists walking the planet is his understanding of mood and of melody. The beauty of the composition takes a front seat on this latest record with the incredible musicianship lying low, yet always present. During the course of his career, Marc Antoine has played with an impressive cast of musicians in numerous genres. Some of these include Sting, Queen Latifah, George Benson, Basia, Soul II Soul, Cher, Selena, Will Downing, David Benoit and Richard Elliot. The ability to fit in with such diverse musical styles is an accomplishment in and of itself. On this latest recording Antoine takes advantage of this rare ability.

It’s not easy to find such a high-end and learned talent willing to explore areas that classical and jazz purists would never dare to explore. Antoine co-produced and collaborated on Modern Times with David Ferrero who is a dance music producer and a dance club DJ. What sounds like a bad combination was in fact, a brilliant decision. The result is a angelic mix of world music, jazz and downtempo chilllout. For the most part, the diverse influences you’ll hear on the record work well together. The end product is cohesive, but also adds diverse spices to the recipe. The world class playing melds with Spanish, Jazz, Latin, African and Indian flavors to create a complex soup that could impress even the most dedicated Iron Chef. The album is filled with tasteful vocal samples, beats and tones that sound fantastic. At times, these modern elements are a perfect fit as they support the acoustic elements in a way that seems incredibly natural. In some spots a backing synthesized keyboard sound doesn’t quite work, but these moments are few and not too distracting.

Track Listing:
1. Modern Times

2. Bella Via
3. La Belle Dame Sans Regrets
4. Can You Feel It
5. Camden Town
6. Cantar Al Amor
7. Umbele
8. Samba Hood
9. Shake It Out
10. If You Believe

Robert Burke spends much of his time lovingly crafting thematic music playlists at the Rhapsody Radish.


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