The Tangiers Combo, Tangerine (Independent)

In fine print on the back cover of The Tangiers Combo’s new album, Tangerine, it says “this album is dedicated to Norbert Slama 1926-2018.” If you never had the joy of encountering Algerian accordionist Norbert Sllama during his time on Frenchmen Street, I feel sorry for you. Norbert had a vibrant backstory and a true gift for his instrument. He was featured on The Courtyard Kings’ last album before they split in two, The Tangiers Combo being one of its off-shoots. Tangerine is bursting with French bal musette charm, Caribbean warmth, bouncing Latin American grooves, and creative takes on songbook standards. The rhythm section is spritely, featuring Carl Keith on guitar and cuatro venezolano with Nathan Lambertson on bass. Eric Roderiguez adds the right amount of manouche flavor on violin and Simon Moushabeck does Norbert proper justice on accordion. Meryl Zimmerman displays her vocal chops with relish and Jason Danti does triple duty on clarinet, soprano sax, and flute. Much like Norbert’s playing, Tangerine is a mix of influences that span the globe, coming to rest here in the northernmost city of the Caribbean.