Musicians: Rachael Magidson - vocals, flugelhorn, percussion; Nolwenn Leizour - upright bass, vocals (8); Emilie Calme - flute, bansuri, vocals (8); Valerie Chane-Tef - piano, vocals (8).
L - R Nolwenn Leizour (bass); Emilie Calme (flute, bansuri);
Valerie Chane-Tef (piano, seated);
Rachael Magidson (vocals, flugelhorn).
The down reaching, hypnotic bass of Nolwenn Leizour leads Magidson's enchanting French lyrics and Chane-Tef's accompanying piano into Joseph Kosma/Jacques Prevert's 1945 popular song (Autumn Leaves), originally, "Les Feuilles Mortes." Johnny Mercer wrote the English lyrics a year later (1946). Magidson demonstrates profound sensitivity and consummate respect for the Hungarian French composer Kosma, and lyricist, French poet Prevert, by singing the entire song in flawless French, thereby returning the memory of the song to its compositional roots. She also pays tribute to Edith Piaf one of France's greatest national and international singers, who sang widely acclaimed versions of "Autumn Leaves." Turning this performance into a tour de force of versatility, Magidson adds effective percussive rhythmic color (congas) to Chane-Tef's pungent Latin keyboard, and Emilie Calme's aerial flute, to transform the song into an alluring, succulent Cuban Bolero to secure its place as a definite standout on the album.
"Sophisticated Ladies" is 'A True Story', about four artists, whose collective experiences and personalities resonate throughout their music, and like the vicissitudes of life, become windows into their theater of existential reality. Reflected in this musical experience is the realization and acceptance of the influence found in personal relationships (You Go To My Head), heard in Chane-Tef's poignantly melodic piano backing of Magidson's unpretentious reading of the lyric. As an emotional counter, an instrumental version of Charlie Parker's not often heard (Segment) is explored by flautist Emilie Calme, and defined as a flighty, intoxicated jaunt, which transforms the musical atmosphere with brisk, energetic, impetuous colors.
There are always those moments of loss (Gone With The Wind), where sadness is described in the bitter-sweet emotion captured in Nolwenn Leizour's crepuscular bass figures, and contrasted against Magidson's 'happy' percussion and vocal. But there must be a time in life for beauty, quiet joy and pensive introspection like that heard in Rachael Magidson's even, flowing flugelhorn salute to Antonio Carlos Jobim's beautiful bossa nova standard (Insensatez), on which the band makes a perfectly executed, collective pivot to raise their voices in unison for a release of celebration, with a romping version of the Claude Nougaro/Neil Hefty/Bobby Troup song (Dansez Sur Moi) also known as "Girl Talk," and as any celebration should be: a fitting finale to a variegated, telling event, especially one as exciting as a true story about one's life.
Track Listing: The Lady Is A Tramp; Sophisticated Lady; Autumn Leaves; You Go To My Head; Segment; Gone With The Wind; Insensatez; Dansez Sur Moi.
Recorded at Studio Berduquet.
Sound Engineer: Pascal Lapeyre.
Mixing Engineer: Olivier Oguez.
Mastering Engineer Studio 167.