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ANNE DUCROS

Brother Brother !

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  1. What's Going On

  2. Fragile

  3. La Bicyclette

  4. You Are So Beautiful

  5. Samba Saravah

  6. On Broadway

  7. Knocks Me Off My Feet

  8. At Last

  9. Deshabillez Moi

  10. Petals

     

    The French vocalist, Anne Ducros, has graced the ranks of jazz singers over the years since she first established a jazz quartet in the mid '80s. She has made her mark as a performer, touring with the likes of Kenny Barron, Chick Corea and Jacky Terrasson but, in addition, has been involved for the past twenty-five years or so in teaching vocal jazz, both in Paris and further afield. Ducros originally studied classical music and voice at Music Conservatory and University in her native land. As is the way of things, she has been compared with other singers of the genre. Having listened to her latest album, recorded in Milan, I find there are resemblances to Scandinavian vocal stars, such as Cćcilie Norby and Viktoria Tolstoy, but Ducros undoubtedly adds a strong dash of Gallic charm all her own. The recording is enhanced by the presence of the Giovanile V. Bellini Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Giuseppe Romeo. The arrangements are all by the pianist Giuseppe Emmanuele. The accompanying musicians and guests include representation from France, Belgium and Italy. There is an eclectic choice of material, drawn from pop, soul and jazz. Most of the ten songs are sung in English but three in French.

    Three tracks are especially pleasing. Sting's Fragile receives an impassioned rendering from Ducros, making it clear that here we have a voice with range. Giulio Visibelli gives a potent performance on soprano sax, in support. The Brazilian number, Samba Saravah, is sung in French and imbued with sensuality and style. Guitarist Olivier Louvel is prominent on this one (he is exceptional, too, on the following track,On Broadway). The Mack Gordon/Harry Warren classic, At Last, a hit for Etta James in 1960, receives the full treatment from Ducros, the strings and the smoochy tenor playing of Lionel Belmondo. The delicate drumming of Bruno Castelluci deserves an honourable mention, too. The opening track, What's Going On, with its refrain “Brother, Brother”, is a heartfelt tribute by Anne to her brother Franck who passed away in 2016. Indeed, the whole album, with its life affirming quality and concern for universal harmony, is dedicated to him. Louvel on guitar and Olivier Ker Ourio on harmonica plus Ducros' unselfconscious scatting embellish this Marvin Gaye anthem.

    As for the rest, La Bicyclette is sung in French with all the flair and élan we might expect. You Are So Beautiful is less impressive, but only because of the material she has to work with. Stevie Wonder's Knocks Me Off My Feet illustrates how effectively she can interpret a popular song. Deshabillez Moi is a jaunty, even saucy, delivery of a cabaret number. The excellent Olivier Ker Ourio on harmonica surfaces again on this track. Finally, Petals, written by pianist and arranger Emmanuele in collaboration with Luca Lapena, proves to a thoughtful, rueful song, sensitively interpreted by Anne, which allows the talents of Mimmo Gaglio on clarinet to successfully emerge.

    There's an old canard to the effect that 'those who can, do, those who cannot, teach'. Anne Ducros, aided by a fine orchestra, group and guest musicians, shows us here impressively that it is possible to 'talk the talk and walk the walk'. Her students have been lucky to have an exemplar of this calibre!

    James Poore

  11. Anne Ducros - Vocal

    Vincent Bruynincks - Piano (tracks 1, 2, 5, 8)

    Giuseppi Emmanuele - Piano (tracks 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10)

    Gilles Nicolas - Double bass (tracks 2-10), electric bass (track 1)

    Bruno Castellucci - Drums

    Orchestre Symphonique Giovanile V. Bellini

    Guests:

    Olivier Louvel - Guitars (tracks 1, 2, 5-7, 9)

    Lionel Belmondo - Tenor sax (track 8)

    Olivier Ker Ourio - Harmonica (tracks 1, 9)

    Giulio Visibelli - Soprano sax (track 2)

    Franchino D'Auria - Percussion (tracks 2, 5)

    Mimmo Gaglio - Clarinette (tracks 9, 10)

    Franz Minuta - Vibraphone (track 3)

    Paulo Censi - Fender rhodes (track 1)

    Giuseppi Privitera - Trumpet (track 4)

 


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