Named after the two missing digits of jazz legend Django Reinhardt, The Lost Fingers’ signature style of jazz manouche covers of pop classics has taken off and leaves few unaffected by their energetic, upbeat, familiar-yet-foreign style of music. They’re at it again for a sixth album with today’s launch of “Wonders of the World”, a romp through classic pop-rock one-hit-wonders… and all we have left to say is “wow”. There’s simply no doubt that “Wonders of the World” is the best The Lost Fingers album so far. To a packed room at Chez l’Autre just outside the Porte Saint-Jean, The Lost Fingers made their album launch a clear success.
The band sports a new roster of Lost Finger veterans Byron Mikaloff and Alex Morissette with newcomers François Rioux on the jazz guitar and Valérie Amyot on vocals. Amyot’s voice is the most obvious update to the band’s sound, and we dare anyone to not immediately fall in love with her velvet-crisp rendition of guilty-pleasure hits like Las Ketchup’s The Ketchup Song (Aserejé) and Cutting Crew’s (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight backed by The Lost Fingers’ string-woodwind ensemble. However, Mikaloff credits their producer for helping perfect their sound this album. “It was the first time we got to work with a producer that notorious,” he says, referring to John Jorgenson. “He’s badass, he’s won Grammy awards, recorded with Johnny Cash, Barbara Streisand, Pavarotti, Elton John… the guy has been all over. He’s a sublime musician, and he brought everybody a level up – this cool new vibe, open-minded spirit.” As for how he describes the changes to the album itself, Mikaloff says “It’s more of a world beat album, it’s really cool.”
The Lost Fingers is always perfect for summer, and this album comes out just in time to be played on terraces all over. “This album is just really five people in the studio having as much fun as humans should be allowed to have,” Mikaloff continues. “We’re good vibe people, right? So of course the album is going to have a summery taste to it all the time, because we love groove, John Jorgenson is from LA, so he brings this cool sunny vibe.”
As for their new vocalist, Mikaloff explains “Valérie was a serendipitous kind of discovery, at a kitchen table at a party. I sat down in front of her and asked, ‘who’s this girl?’ She really impressed me – I couldn’t believe a girl at 22 years old is really vibing on Earth, Wind, and Fire. Right away it kind of clicked. I heard her singing at the table, she came up with all these cool vocal lines, so I said ‘this is it – this is the new Lost Fingers singer.'” Amyot herself found joining The Lost Fingers incredibly easy, saying “Byron was incredibly receptive to what I did, and he really liked my voice – at least that’s what he said! It didn’t feel like a lot of work to join the group, the guys were really nice and very charismatic.”
Charisma is certainly oozing from the band. There’s no doubt in our minds we’ll be hearing some of the album’s songs as the summer’s upcoming hits. To anyone who’s fond of the idea of upbeat gypsy jazz meeting one-hit-wonders we all remember, “Wonders of the World” is a sure bet. The album will be available tomorrow (May 6th) in stores and on iTunes.
Farnell Morisset, for LifeinQuebec.com
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