1. Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
2. La Valse des Lilas
3. Les Enfants Qui Pleurent
4. The Summer Knows
5. Watch What Happens
6. His Eyes, Her Eyes
7. The Easy Way/What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
8. The First Time
9. You Must Believe in Spring
11. Je Vivrai sans Toi
12. How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
13. Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (Piano Solo)
Roger Davidson - Piano
David Finck - Bass
Some of Michel Legrand's own albums have shown how well-suited are many of his songs to jazz treatment. They have distinctive structures and chord changes, ideal for improvising new melodies. For example, the first track here (more familiar as I Will Wait for You) is a memorable theme full of opportunities for the improviser.
This piano-and-bass duo takes advantage of that distinctive quality in Legrand's compositions, although the improvisation tends to be sparing and keeps close to the tunes. Les Enfants Qui Pleurent is a nice bouncy jazz waltz, and The Summer Knows is given added weight by the bassist's arco.
Watch What Happens is another tune just fitted for extemporization, as Legrand himself showed in his wonderful album Live at Jimmy's. In fact Legrand was more daring than this duo, as Michel took the tune through several different tempos and styles. It's a pity that the Legrand album has not yet been converted from LP to CD, as it is a masterpiece. One might unkindly say that it outshines this CD by Davidson and Finck, although the latter album is extremely agreeable.
In fact, as the sleeve-note points out, hearing the songs in this stripped-down way makes one appreciate their rich melodies. Roger Davidson, being French-American, has a clear affinity with these tunes and performs them with eloquent feeling. That feeling is most noticeable in Roger's romantic, out-of-tempo introductions to some of the pieces, but you can also hear it in his loving treatment of such Legrand staples as What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? and You Must Believe in Spring. And David Finck is the ideal colleague, adding some melodious bass solos.
This is an album of gentle music, particularly suitable for late-night listening.