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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Watch What Happens

CT Music DDCJ 1006



1. Watch What Happens
2. Summer Me, Winter Me
3. The First Time
4. Pieces Of Dreams
5. Once Upon a Summertime
6. How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
7. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
8. Quand On S'Aime
9. Ask Yourself Why
10. You Must Believe In Spring
11. I Will Wait for You
12. The Windmills of Your Mind
13. The Summer Knows

Michel Legrand is one of my favourite songwriters. I first noticed him when I saw the film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, which included such marvellous Legrand compositions as Watch What Happens and I Will Wait for You. Michel is also one of my favourite jazz pianists: another discovery I made when I heard his fabulous "Live at Jimmy's" album (sadly out of print), where he is joined by an all-star group - including Phil Woods and Grady Tate - which takes all kinds of breathtaking liberties with Legrand tunes - notably Watch What Happens.

That is the title song and opening number on this album by Charito, a vocalist from the Philippines who is based in Japan. Legrand himself joins in on piano and vocals on several tracks. The album gives no details about the rest of the accompanists, although it sounds like a big band plus strings. This sort of backing usually dilutes the jazz content and a few songs sound more like easy listening than jazz.

My main reservation about the album comes with those moments which are decidedly un-easy listening. These are the occasions when Charito's intonation is insecure. She has a tendency to sing flat, which can mar the beauty of some of Legrand's songs. It is distinctly noticeable when Charito duets with Michel, who is an even more quavery singer than Charito. For instance, their rendition of Pieces of Dreams is quite painful to hear, as two wobbly voices together accentuate the uncertain pitching.

A saving grace is that Legrand's playing adds some sparkling touches on piano, although Alain Mayeras is apparently the pianist for ten of the thirteen tracks. And Charito often manages to stay in tune, when she sings with a palpable jazz sense. There are also some good orchestral moments, like the Milesian muted trumpet in What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? and the jazzy tenor sax and piano solos on I Will Wait for You.

If you haven't got perfect pitch, you may find this CD acceptable and even charming. However, the poor intonation on some tracks may deter other listeners.

Tony Augarde 

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