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



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KATIA LABEQUE

Shape of my Heart

KML Recordings KML 2119

 

 


1. Moon Over Bourbon Street
2. Shape Of My Heart
3. We Will Meet Again
4. My Funny Valentine
5. Prelude No.4
6. Exit Music
7. Notes to the Future
8. Because
9. Besame Mucho
10. Gnossienne No.3
11. Purple Diamond
12. Meditation

Katia Labèque - Piano
Sting - Vocals
Chick Corea - Piano
Herbie Hancock - Piano
Gonzalo Rubalcaba - Piano
David Chalmin - Vocals, guitars


Crossover albums by predominately classical artists directed to a jazz-oriented audience are fraught with challenges for both the artist and the listener. Katia Labèque’s offering Shape Of My Heart is no exception. Best known as part of the classical music piano duo of Katia and Marielle Labèque, Katia has branched out previously into jazz and new world music and did issue several straight jazz albums with her ex-husband, guitarist John McLaughlin.

This album however seems to be a pastiche of songs and recordings by artists that has no consistent theme and was simply thrown together to build out the album. Take for example Sting’s two songs, Moon Over Bourbon Street and Shape Of My Heart. While Katia provides lush accompaniment, Sting offers no new insights into these two pieces compared to when they were originally issued, firstly for Bourbon Street which was part of Sting’s initial solo album in 1985 entitled The Dream Of The Blue Turtles and My Heart which was originally done in 1993 as part of his album Ten Summoner’s Tales.

As for the duo piano offerings, Katia has Chick Corea as her partner for We Will Meet Again, Herbie Hancock for My Funny Valentine and Gonzalo Rubalcaba for Besame Mucho. While all these pianists are masters of their instrument, and have technique to burn, these pieces are simply variations on a theme. Since they have been languishing in the vault since 1995, one wonders why they were resurrected at this time.

Adding to the hodge-podge feel of the album is the fact that several of the performances herein also appear on other recent recordings by this artist. For example, Gnossienne No. 3 is included in the Katia and Marielle Labèque album entitled Erik Satie. Katia/B for Bang have recorded Notes To The Future in their album Across The Universe of Languages and although the Lennon/McCartney tune Because does not appear on that album, it may have been an outtake as the latter album is devoted to The Beatles songs. Finally the Katia Labèque Band recorded Exit Music for their album Unspoken. None of these previously mentioned titles would be considered a must listen.

While Katia Labèque is undoubtedly a musician with an international musical pedigree, this album may not be the touchstone a jazz enthusiast would embrace.

Pierre Giroux



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