World Musette

Recently released in the States, this fascinating CD simultaneously rolls back the clock while inviting listeners to roll up the rug and dance to its lilting waltzes, tangos and foxtrots. The “Future Primitives” is a conglomeration of Parisians who’ve revived that city’s pre-war music with spectacular results. Led by guitarist/vocalist Dominique Cravic, the group includes accordions, saxes, clarinets, xylophone, musical saw (!), banjos and mandolins—the latter two featuring R. Crumb (whose artwork adorns this 1999 recording) on a few tracks. Crumb, who explored this country’s ’20s and ’30s music 30 years ago at the helm of his Cheap Suit Serenaders, is right at home here: Listen to that cat go on “Scattin’ the Blues,” which also features some hellacious scatting by Daniel Huck. Crumb hooked up with Cravic when he moved to Paris in 1986 to attend a comic book festival. Cravic, who composed 10 of the disc’s 15 numbers, has successfully recreated the joyous music that filled Parisian cafes in the ’30s and, as described in the liner notes, “sketches the silhouette of an imaginary, hip-swaying world … much more realistic, and poetic, than any original.” (Oh, a “musette” is an accordion band.)