On his debut album, Belleville, Donald MacLennan takes you on a magical musical tour of Europe. Each song seems designed to place the listener in a different European city…seeing the sights…and hearing the sounds….through MacLennan’s music.
This was my introduction to the genre of music known as “Gypsy Jazz” and I was delighted with what I heard.
The opening track “Belleville” found me in Tallinn, a beautiful city in Estonia. As I listened to this high intensity song (almost a Ben Caplan song without vocals), I was walking through the market, talking with the vendors and photographing the buildings and the scenery.
The next song “Bossa D’Angeline” led me on a romantic stroll through Paris. With the soothing guitar of Duane Andrews (I believe) accompanying MacLennan’s brilliant violin, I walked the streets holding hands with a loved one while taking in the beauty that the “City of Love” has to offer.
The third song “L’aeroport” put me in the middle of a 1950’s police chace. This is a fun, lively song that had me smiling from beginning to end.
“Come Back To Sorrento” had me dancing in Italy. It is a song I listen to with my eyes closed…every time.
Belleville, produced by MacLennan and Dan MacCormack (Grassmarket, The Modern Grass) allowed me to continue my European tour right through to the final song “Stella By Starlight” . Along the way, MacLennan treats the listener to his unique versions of the popular classics “I Will Always Love You” and “What Is This Thing Called Love”. Belleville is an album that is refreshing for the soul.
Belleville has been nominated for two 2016 Music Nova Scotia awards*: “New Artist Recording of the Year” and “Jazz Recording of the Year” and it is easy to see why. I highly recommend giving it a listen.
*Note: MacLennan has also been nominated for a third award: “Musician of the Year”.
Find out more about MacLennan at his Facebook page.
Favourite Songs – Bossa D’Angeline, L’aeroport, I Will Always Love You
2. Bossa D’Angeline
4. Come Back To Sorrento
5. I Will Always Love You
6. Marleau’s Dream
8. Les Yeux Noirs
10. What Is This Thing Called Love
13. Stella By Starlight