Saturday, January 12, 2013

In review--Finger-Snapping Good

Virginie Teychené
Bright and Sweet
Jazz Village

Jazz and women musicians launched 2013 and already two weeks into the New Year, and I’ve featured several women jazz musicians.  French jazz chanteuse Virginie Teychené arrived in my life like a sweet fragrance.  The name of her latest album, Bright and Sweet tells just as much about the vocalist’s character as it does the sweet, sad, and rousing repertoire she performs.  It has taken me longer to review this recording since I wanted to learn more about Teychené and also the collection of songs chosen for this project.

A self-taught vocalist, Teychené impresses me with her vocal style range and her natural instincts as she makes her way around songs by Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Abbey Lincoln, Billie Holiday, Michel Legrand/Jacques Demy, and other jazz greats from both sides of the Atlantic.  The French vocalist shapes the songs and makes them her own leading listeners to wonder if Teychené composed these songs herself.  And yet, she pays homage to jazz legends while preserving this music for future generations.

On Bless My Soul (Eddie Jefferson/Charlie Parker), Teychené sings the song in such a way that you can feel the soul and blues of an African-American singer.  With Don’t Explain (Billie Holiday), raw emotions of desperate love come through.  The syncopation of The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines (Joni Mitchell/Charlie Mingus) induces finger snapping and features a sparkling solo by trumpeter Eric Le Lann.  But my favorite song in the lot is the playful and sassy I’m Gonna Go Fishing (Peggy Lee/Duke Ellington).  I chuckle when Teychené punctuates the line, “I’m gonna go fishing or jump in a lake.” She sings with perfect diction in French, Portuguese and English too. 

It has been a long while since I have found a jazz album fun and phenomenal at the same time.  Yet, I find Bright and Sweet irresistible so it has found a home on my CD drive and my fingers itch to press the replay button.  I recommend watching this promotional video on YouTube (if you don’t know French, you can at least enjoy the music performances).

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