Roch Lockyer imagines new jazz stylings on “When Frank Met Django”

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Guitarist and vocalist, Roch Lockyer is set to release his first album as a bandleader on “When Frank Met Django.” The album’s title refers to Lockyer’s imaginative take on the works of Frank Sinatra and Django Reinhardt. By tackling the vocal stylings of Sinatra and coupling them with the guitar work of Reinhardt, Lockyer creates a style of jazz that is almost completely new. “When Frank Met Django” will be available Feb. 14, 2018.

About Roch Lockyer

Roch Lockyer has an extensive grounding in modern jazz and bebop. This background makes the musician’s vivid re-interpretation of Sinatra’s work even more surprising. As a guitarist, Lockyer manages to master a guitar technique known as “La Pompe.” The intricate style evokes the feel of European cafes and an artful sensibility about life and music, for that matter.

Lockyer’s approach indicates a respect for Sinatra’s singing and Reinhardt’s world-renown playing. For people unfamiliar with Reinhardt’s work, Lockyer’s approach might serve as a sort of introduction to the guitarist. Lockyer’s ensemble includes, Lockyer on guitar and vocals, Ben Powell on violin, Rob Hardt on clarinet and Ed Bennett on bass.

“When Frank Met Django” by Roch Lockyer

The soundscape is gentle and sophisticated. The standout element on the release is the guitar work. Perhaps the album’s Valentine’s Day release date is not coincidental. The sound is romantic and calls to mind images of spring and love.

In terms of vocal stylings, Lockyer sings with a naïve earnestness. However, sometimes, audiences want to hear the vocals in the forefront of the soundscape and that is threatened by the relative softness of Lockyer’s voice.

Two of the best tracks on this album are “It Had to Be You,” and “Summer Wind.” The former manages to retain the energy and rhythm of the original, while also existing as an effective part of Lockyer’s rendering of masterworks. The album is light and nuanced, easy to listen to. With this first CD as a leader, Lockyer sets expectations high for his future works.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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