"The Tourist is, if I am not mistaken, St.Germain's first full-length CD since "Boulevard", five years ago. The long wait was well worth it. Published by the Blue Note records (which speaks by itself), the Tourist's jazz samples are lovingly reinvented and seamlessly altered and mixed with modern, 'urban' rhythm and beats and completed by Ludovic Navarre and additional participation of Pascal Ohze (trumpet), Edouard Labor (sax, flute), Alexandre Destrez (keys), Idrissa Diop (talking drum), Carneiro (percussion) and Claudio de Qeiroz (baryton) plus the sonorous guitar of the "legendary (Ernest) Ranglin, one of the great unsung guitarists in jazz and Caribbean music" (The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD). Particularly interesting is the transformation of "Harry's Philosophy" from a desolate blues miniature of John Lee Hooker (taken from the soundtrack to "Hot Spot", by M. Davis, J.L. Hooker, A. Cooper, T. Mahal and R. Rogers) to almost cheerful dance track with a "twist". Other highlights of my choice: the voice of Marlena Shaw over a loop of Dave Brubeck's Take Five ("Rose Rouge"), excellent "Land of..." with soulful introduction on organ and piano, and great funky saxophones, delicate guitar by E. Ranglin on "Montego Bay Spleen", the upbeat spider piano dance of the "Latin Note"... and there are plenty of other musical pleasures in the 60 minutes of the Tourist."Boulevard" was very good, but "Tourist" is better, more dense, rounded and mature. Get them both! Beautiful art work for the cover, too."
Damn this is good
Peter R. Fischer | LA LA Land, USA | 10/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With so many "global lounge" and trippy dub discs coming out recently, it is tough to decide what to get and it is rare that an album is so clearly as superior to the rest of its genre as is St. Germain's tourist.Borrwing a page from Moby's Play and expanding on it, this disc is a combination of looped dub-like drums and bass sounds, vocal samples and live studio musicians. The combination is astounding. Deep seductive drum loops and bass tracks lay the foundation while the live insturmentation (horns, flute, keyboards, and percussion) are layered over the top. Finally, jazz, blues, and latin vocal fragments float through the songs like swirls of puffy clouds floating through an otherwise perfect blue sky.This CD is a delicious combination of sounds. If any of the jazz cats from Miles Davis to Ben Webster could hear this, they would recognize that same smokey, groovy goodness that makes their own records perpetual favorites. In fact, if Davis was the birth of cool, this is certainly a rebirthing or an upate for the new millenium.Do yourself a favor and pick this up."
J. Duncan | New York, NY United States | 04/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"a great new CD that is predominantly a jazz work with some interesting funk, electronic and blues influences tossed in. the best tracks on the CD tend to be the ones with the least amount of jazz influence such as #1 Rouse Rouge and #6 Sure Thing. but since all of the tracks are good it's worth looking at each individually: #1. ROSE ROUGE - a famous jazz hook from Brubeck's "Mr. New York" is the setting for a bluesy, soulful, repititive vocal line of "I want you to get together"; #2. MONTEGO BAY SPLEEN - a lumbering jazz piece with outstanding jazz guitar work throughout. makes me really appreciate the guitar again; #3. SO FLUTE- a funky flute intro, uptempo throughout. unfortunately the piece doesnt really develop after the nice intro. #4. LAND OF - the most traditional jazz piece on the album. no electronic influence at all. some gorgeous piano work throughout. shades of the 70's band "The Jazz Crusaders" throughout, particularly with the out front horn section.; #5. LATIN NOTE - a busy samba piece, this time the featured instrument is vibraphone; #6. SURE THING -- great piece, maybe best on the album. there's a funky texas-rock guitar piece enhanced with a phaser and accompanied by blues vocal with a similar effect applied. it's a seamless combination of a downtempo R&B piece with electronic enhancements prominently featured and it's awesome. #7. PONT DES ARTS - uptempo lounge piece, consistent beat throughout, probably the most danceable track on the album; #8. LA GOUTTE D'OR - wooden flute featured here. develops into rhythmic multi-textured drum piece with congas and other traditional percussion instruments. #9. WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT - prominent bass line and bluesy vocal accents close out the album with another jazz laden piece."
Enjoyable, but hardly a great leap forward
Michael St John | St. Paul, MN | 09/28/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The music St. Germain created here actually sounds remarkably like a '96 CD called THE NEW GROOVE: THE BLUE NOTE REMIX PROJECT, VOL. 1, on which various hip-hop/club artists remixed classic Blue Note cuts. If you like TOURIST, you should definitely get that CD as well. This record is good, but I think it might appeal more to fans of club music who like some jazz, rather than the other way around. I say that because there isn't much rhythmic complexity within each track, the kind you'll hear from a great jazz drummer (although St. Germain does alter the beat from track to track, I'll give him that). Generally he sets up a simple, steady club beat with each cut, and then the musicians create some jazzy solos on top. If you're used to the more complex rhythms of jazz, you may get bored with these beats.I think Amon Tobin mines a similar vein much more creatively; his atmospheres are more evocative, his forms more flexible, his music more suprising. I like this St. Germain CD for what it is, an update on '70s jazz-fusion, like a HEADHUNTERS for this decade; but with all the critical bouqets tossed its way, I just expected something really groundbreaking. In my opinion, THE NEW GROOVE was a groundbreaking record; this is just retracing some of the tracks that album left behind."