ALL THE REVIEWS FROM GERMANY ARE AVAILABLE HERE !
WE HAVE ADDED A NEW REVIEW FROM CLAUDE'S CONCERT IN LAUTERBACH, November 2012.
It rarely happens that an opening act on a festival blows us away.
Nevertheless, Claude Bourbon succeeded magnificently on Elouges en
Blues. His finely strung mix of folk and classical with a dab of
acoustic blues found its way to a fine double album, that can be bought
for peanuts on the man's website.
Claude Bourbon: Friday 3rd February 2012
Report by Harry Bolter - Hove Folk club
Earlier in the week I had been watching tennis. Novak Djokovic had played Andy Murray in Australia, the match was long and the shot-making, defence and serving of a high calibre. So what is the connection to Hove’s February guest, Claude Bourbon from France? Well, both Djokovic and Claude are top masters of their craft and never appear rushed, they both have impeccable timing and make things that you and I can only marvel at seem simple.
Claude took to the floor, clutched his Gibson guitar in both arms, and played a long freely-improvised version of "Summertime". There were elements of classic playing mixed in with blues and jazz - so many notes and sounds that I wondered if he had a CD player in the guitar, as his fingers moved slowly and confidently up and down the guitar with seeming slow ease.
Claude played some of his own compositions written in collaboration with Tim from Grimsby, "Travelling Man" and "Sitting on a Cliff" being two that stood out for me.
At the end of the evening we reflected on some of the tunes we had heard, and a piece of the improvisation would register as "Bolero" or "Angie" by the Rolling Stones. There were also differences in how we saw his playing. One person described it as "muscular", another as "percussion like" - this drawn from the fact that often Claude would pull on a piece of the guitar in order to pronounce a note or sound.
Whatever the impression, it certainly will not be forgotten: a real virtuoso, and listened to by the audience in rapture.
Claude Bourbon • WE’LL MEET AGAIN • Frog Records •
This French-born guitarist grew up in Switzerland where for a time he was classically trained, but he soon felt the need to explore the guitar without the limitations of written music and delved headlong into folk, blues, jazz and rock music. Now based in the UK, he has become a world-renowned player, highly acclaimed for his finger-picking style—plucking, picking and strumming at such speed that his fingers seem to appear just as a blur. This latest album utilises strains of folk, western, jazz and blues through such melodic delights as the traditional English Dance, the hypnotic Rodrigo and a gorgeous version of the Rolling Stones’ Angie. Claude also adds vocals to some tracks such as Rhyme or Reason and The End of the World displaying a slightly gruff, world-weary voice.
Maverick Magazine / February 2011
REVIEW OF CLAUDE'S CONCERT AT SHAKEDOWN BLUES, SEPTEMBER 2010
Review with Track from concert "There Is Somebody Missing Tonight" at http://www.shakedownblues.co.uk/previous.php
THURSDAY 16th September 2010
St. Kyneburgha Church, Castor, Peterborough
The promotion notes indicated that we were in for an eclectic evening of acoustic guitar playing. In the event most have us had never seen or heard anything quite like it.
Claude’s playing is firmly rooted in classical Spanish guitar and no doubt he could have entertained us with a full repertoire, within this genre, and we would all have gone home happy. What he does though is add elements from a vast array of influences, east and west, ancient and modern.
His fingerpicking is exquisite and if I closed my eyes I could clearly hear two guitars playing. Just when I recongnised a theme he moved on
with a mesmerising cascade of notes which kept on flowing. He added a driving bass, for a version of “She knows how to stretch it”. By the time he sang the first verse he had 'stretched it' from Spain to the Caucuses, and from the concert hall to the bar room. His forte is obviously his wonderful guitar work, but he does occasionally burst into song and what you then get is something between Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens, combined with a French accent! C’est magnifique.
For the technically minded he played a steel strung Gibson acoustic and used no effects - well unless you count behind the nut bends, harmonics, and retuning a string in the middle of a song - without missing a beat! He does play in standard tuning, but there were numerous alternatives as well as slide playing. There’s many a country blues player who would kill for a right thumb like Claude’s. The natural acoustics of the beautiful St Kyneburgha church seemed made for him.
This wasn’t the blues but it was a very enjoyable evening. Thank you Shakedown
The Wombwell Wheelhouse once again drew a packed audience tonight for the first appearance at the venue by French-born guitarist Claude Bourbon. The classically trained guitarist grew up in Canton de Vaud, Switzerland, where he developed a distinctly multi-styled approach to finger-picked guitar, encompassing everything from classical and Spanish flamenco influences to jazz, blues and folk, with a little Eastern influence thrown in for good measure. Tonight the guitarist gave us a taste of these elements in a couple of sets of delicate songs and outstanding guitar tunes, fusing all the styles in a sort of improvisational recital. One or two of the pieces were extended to include several short guitar pieces that segued into one another, not unlike a classical recital, but with the inclusion of several jazz and blues runs, at times utilising the bottleneck.
Bourbon first picked up a guitar when he was fifteen after hearing an instrumental version of the traditional House of the Rising Sun, apparently coming from a neighbours garage, which not only gave him the inspiration to pick up the guitar, but also to seek out new kinds of music such as the Spanish flamenco style of guitarists like Paco De Lucia, the more rock orientated Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple) and the ragtime blues playing of Blind Blake as well as the works of various classical composers such as Joaquin Rodrigo and JS Bach.
Opening his set with a sixteen-minute medley of guitar tunes in various styles such as baroque, some Ry Cooder-esque bottleneck and some European Klesmer music, each with alternating tempos, Claude topped it off with his rendition of Gershwin's Summertime, all played with great dexterity and flair. The self composed guitar instrumental Passing Through coupled with the title song from Claude's current album release Travelling Man, although released on his previous album MERCI, THANK YOU, showcased the versitilty of his dextrous playing.
Quite coincidentally, adding to the atmosphere at the Wheelhouse, during the silence that preceded Ghosts, an owl could be heard outside, wanting to get in on the action, which was quite spooky. If Claude's command over singing in English, which was very good I hasten to add, is comparatively less assured, singing in his native tongue is instantly more relaxing, which he demonstrated on C'est Dimanche, whilst whistling over a ragtime guitar tune.
The second set began with an even longer piece than the opener to the first set, again composed of several short passages, all fitting neatly together as if originally intended that way. After the show I asked Claude if I could peek at his set list to which he replied saying that he didn't use them, therefore many of the titles remain unknown to me. The twenty-six minute medley brought together classical pieces in the style of JS Bach, some of which I did recognise such as the excerpts from blind Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo's famous Concierto de Aranjuez (Orange Juice to Brassed Off fans) together with a foot stomping version of the old gospel classic You Don't Know What the Lord Told Me, with some improvisational guitar motifs expertly worked into the piece.
Towards the end of the night, a much more relaxed Claude performed a handful of songs including There's Somebody Missing Tonight from Claude's forthcoming album and the Spanish influenced Sitting on a Cliff, co-written by songwriting partner Tim Leaning. Other songs included When Love Has Quit the Scene and the funky Angel.
an extraordinary meeting between something typically French
and something fundementally English, Claude Bourbon completed
an evening of quality musicianship with Bolero, reminding some
of Torvil and Dean and others of Dudley Moore's hanky-pankying with Bo
Derek in '10', which segued into the unexpected We'll Meet Again, inspiring
some cross channel communal singing from the entire house as Ravel met
up with the forces' sweetheart Vera Lynn. Another top night in