VA – Très Chic – French Cool From Paris To The Côte d’Azur (2013)

FrontCover1Retro French music is very much in vogue on this side of the Channel and Union Square have sought to capitalise on this by releasing this most entertaining overview of 1950s and 1960s French music. While any two CD compilation can only ever hope to scratch the surface and more in-depth anthologies are required to be fully comprehensive, for the neophyte this actually serves it’s purpose well of introducing the listener to a whole raft of musicians. The music is neatly divided up between male crooners, Left bank existentialist singers, women singers and jazzier influences that includes both instrumentalists from famous French new wave film soundtracks, or French jazzers. Among the crooners, Yves Montand deserves to be heard by an anglophone audience and his interpretations of the music of Prévert are near definitive. Here he delivers the smooth sounding ‘C’est si bon’. Talking of smooth operators, Sacha Distel takes some beating and it may come as a surprise to non-French readers to learn that he was a very accomplished jazz guitarist before becoming a singer. Arguably his most famous song is showcased here, ‘Scoubidoo’. Henri Salvador gained international recognition late in his career, but this early jazz scat, ‘C’est le be bop’, is an indication of what was to follow. While Charles Aznavour is best known in the UK for ‘She’, his late 1950s and early 1960s sides were full of emotion and jazzy orchestrations and ‘Je me voyais, déjà’ is typical of his output from the era. For more left-field sounds, this compilation deserves great credit for including some of the following singers. Bobby Lapointe came to prominence as a subversive singer who made a brief appearance in François Truffaut’s ‘Shoot the pianist’ film. Here ‘Framboise’ is boisterous, fast-paced and a delight from start to finish.

Inlet01APreceding the 1960s starlettes by a decade, Juliette Gréco possesses a deep, throaty voice that was ideally suited to interpreting Gainsbourg and Prévert and ‘Si tu t’imagines’ is just one of her vast repertoire and a fine example at that. Léo Ferré is the current French president’s favourite singer and the melodic ‘A Saint Germain des Prés’ is an early illustration of Ferré’s beautiful voice. He would later become famous for his lengthy literary raps and he was very much an anti-establishment figure. Barbara may be less known outside France, but has few equals in France as a singer-songwriter and ‘Dis quand reviendras-tu?’ is a fine example of her pared down sound. Jacques Brel needs little introduction, but for those as yet unaware ‘La valse à mille temps’ shifts gear as only Brel knows how and he is an all-time great of the French language. Last, but by no means least, Serge Gainsbourg is nothing less than a national treasure, but interestingly for those who are familiar with his later psychedelic period, here the focus is on his jazz period. Both ‘Intoxicated man’ and ‘Requiem pour un twister’ are superior examples of his early period that stand the test of time. A trio of French women singers includes the obligatory Françoise Hardy and her seminal ‘Tous les garcons et les filles’, another Truffaut sound track song by Jeanne Moreau, ‘Le Tourbillon’, featured in the delightful ‘Jules et Jim’ film and a melancholic sounding Brigitte Bardot on ‘Sidonie’.

Inlet02AJazz musicians featured include Miles Davis and his stunning contribution to Louis Malle’s ‘Lift to the Scaffold’ film and pianist Martial Solal and the terrific soundtrack to Jean-Luc Godard’s seminal ‘A bout de souffle’/’Breathless’. Noteworthy are two other pieces, the Latin-jazz influenced ‘No hay problema’ by Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers and a vocal number by Claude Nougaro. This French singer deserves a compilation of his own for an English-speaking audience, such is the richness of his 1960s jazz and 1970s Brazilian flavoured songs. A final mention should be made for France’s answer to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, les Double Six who deliver a stunning version of one of Art Blakey’s staple tunes ‘Moanin’. All in all a musical experience that is truly a ‘joie de vivre’! (by Tim Stenhouse)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Françoise Hardy: Le temps de l’amour (Dutronc/Salvet/Morisse) 2.23
02. Serge Gainsbourg: Requiem pour un twisteur (Gainsbourg) 2.37
03. Jeanne Moreau: Le tourbillon (Bassiak/Delerue) 2.03
04. Les Double Six: Rat Race (Jones/Perrin) 2.35
05. Claude Nougaro: Le cinéma (Legrand/Nougaro) 2.56
06. Sacha Distel: Brigitte (Brousolle/Distel) 2.17
07. Magali Noël: Alhambra-Rock (Goraguer/Vian) 2.35
08. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: No hay problema (Marray) 4.33
09. Charles Aznavour: Je m’voyais déjà (Aznavour) 3.22
10. Claude Nougaro: Les Don Juan (Legrand/Nougaro) 3.17
11. Léo Ferré: À Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Ferré) 3.01
12. Michel Legrand: Blues chez le bougnat (Legrand) 2.08
13. Charles Trenet: Que reste-t-il de nos amours? (Trenet/Chauliac) 3.10
14. Henri Salvador: C’est le be bop (Vian/Dieval) 2.05
15. Sacha Distel: Marina (Reardon/Distel) 4.11
16. Mouloudji: Comme un p’tit coquelicot (Grasso/Valery) 3.43
17. Anna Karina: Chanson d’Angela (Legrand/Godard) 2.23
18. Boby Lapointe: Framboise (Lapointe) 2.39
19. Catherine Sauvage: Black Trombone (Gainsbourg) 2.29
20. Corinne Marchand: La joueuse (Varda/Legrand) 1.52

CD 2:
01. Claude Nougaro: Le jazz et la java (Datin/Nougaro) 2.24
02. Françoise Hardy: Tous les garçons et les filles (Hardy/Samyn) 3.05
03. Serge Gainsbourg: Intoxicated Man (Gainsbourg) 2.35
04. Line Renaud: Sexe (Gaste) 3.32
05. Jacqueline Dano: Chanson de Lola (Varda/Legrand) 2.12
06. Jacques Brel: La valse à mille temps (Brel) 3.48
07. Martial Solal: New York Herald Tribune (Solal) 1.26
08. Les Double Six: Moanin’ (Timmons) 3.09
09. Magali Noël: Strip-Rock (Goraguer/Vian) 2.16
10. Boris Vian: Je suis snob (Walter/Vian) 2.49
11. Brigitte Bardot: Sidonie (Cros/Spanos/Riviere) 2.52
12. Barbara: Dis quand reviendras tu? (Barbara) 2.52
13. Juliette Gréco: Si tu t’imagines (Queneau) 2.42
14. Yves Montand: C’est si bon (Homez/Betti) 2.33
15. Henry Cording: Vas t’faire cuire un oeuf man (Sinclair/Mike) 2.51
16. Sacha Distel: Scoubidou (Teze/Distel) 3.00
17. Gilbert Becaud: Me-que-me-que (Becaus/Aznavour) 2.27
18. The Miles Davis Ensemble: Générique (nuit sur Les Champs-Élysées) (Davis) 2.53
19. Brigitte Fontaine & Areski: Il pleut sur la gare (Areski/Faintaine) 1.47
20. Valérie Lagrange: Si ma chanson pouvait (Lagrange) 5.25

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Yves Montand – Chante Jacques Prévert (1962)

FrontCover1Yves Montand (French 13 October 1921 – 9 November 1991) was an Italian-born French actor and singer.

Montand was born Ivo Livi in Monsummano Terme, Italy to Giuseppina (née Simoni) and Giovanni Livi, a broommaker. Giuseppina was a devout Catholic, while his father held strong Communist beliefs. Montand’s family left for France in 1923 on account of Italy’s Fascist regime. He grew up in Marseille, where, as a young man, he worked in his sister’s barber shop, and later on the docks. He began a career in show business as a music-hall singer. In 1944, he was discovered by Édith Piaf in Paris and she made him part of her act.
Career

Montand went on to international recognition as a singer and actor, starring in numerous films. His recognizably crooner songs, especially those about Paris, became instant classics. He was one of the most famous performers at Bruno Coquatrix’s famous Paris Olympia music hall, and toured with musicians including Didi Duprat.

In 1951, he married Simone Signoret, and they co-starred in several films throughout their careers. The marriage was, by all accounts, fairly harmonious, lasting until her death in 1985, although Montand had a number of well-publicized affairs, notably with Marilyn Monroe, with whom he starred in one of her last films, Let’s Make Love. During his career, Montand acted in a number of American motion pictures as well as on Broadway. He was nominated for a César Award for “Best Actor” in 1980 for I comme Icare and again in 1984 for Garçon! In 1986, after his international box-office draw power had fallen off considerably, the 65-year-old Montand gave one of his most memorable performances, as the scheming uncle in the two-part film: Jean de Florette, co-starring Gérard Depardieu, and Manon des Sources, co-starring Emmanuelle Béart. The film was a worldwide critical hit and raised Montand’s profile in the US, where he made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.

Montand01Montand’s only child, Valentin, his son by his second wife, Carole Amiel, was born in 1988. In a paternity suit that rocked France, another woman accused Montand of being the father of her daughter and went to court to obtain a DNA sample from him. Montand refused, but the woman persisted after his death. In a court ruling that made international headlines, the woman won the right to have Montand exhumed and a sample taken. The results indicated that he was probably not the girl’s biological father.

Signoret and Montand had a home in Autheuil-Authouillet, Normandy, where the main village street is named after him,

In his later years he maintained a home in St Paul de Vence, Provence until his death from a heart attack. In an interview, Jean-Jacques Beineix said, “[H]e died on the set [of IP5: The Island of Pachyderms]… On the very last day, after his very last shot. It was the very last night and we were doing retakes. He finished what he was doing and then he just died. And the film tells the story of an old man who dies from a heart attack, which is the same thing that happened!” Montand is interred next to his first wife, Simone Signoret, in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. (by wikipedia)

Jacques Prévert (4 February 1900 – 11 April 1977) was a French poet and screenwriterPrévert. His poems became and remain popular in the French-speaking world, particularly in schools. His best regarded films formed part of the poetic realist movement, and include Les Enfants du Paradis (1945).
Some of Prévert’s poems, such as “Les Feuilles mortes” (Autumn Leaves), “La grasse matinée” (Sleeping in), “Les bruits de la nuit” (The sounds of the night), and “Chasse à l’enfant” (The hunt for the child) were set to music by Joseph Kosma—and in some cases by Germaine Tailleferre of Les Six, Christiane Verger, and Hanns Eisler. They have been sung by prominent French vocalists, including Marianne Oswald, Yves Montand, and Édith Piaf, as well as by the later American singers Joan Baez and Nat King Cole. (by wikipedia)

This album is another example for the high quality of rench chansons ! Exciting !

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Personnel:
Yvey Montang (vocals)
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The Bob Castella Ordhestra

BackCoverTracklist:
01. Les Cireurs De Souliers De Broadway (Crolla) 3.44
02. Chanson (Prévert/Kosma) 1.14
03. Dans Ma Maison (Prévert/Kosma) 3.39
04. En Sortant De L’Ecole (Prévert/Kosma) 2.35
05. On Frappe (Prévert/Kosma) 1.20
06. Paris At Night (Prévert/Kosma) 1.27
07. Les Feuilles Mortes (Prévert/Kosma) 3.21
08. Sanguine (Crolla) 2.46
09. Le Miroir Brisé (Prévert/Kosma) 1.30
10. Le Jardin (Prévert/Kosma) 1.10
11. Quelqu’un (Verger) 2.20
12.  Page D’Ecriture (Prévert/Kosma) 2.42
13. Barbara (Prévert/Kosma) 3.41
14. Fable (Prévert/Kosma) 1.54
15. Les Enfants Qui S’Aiment (Prévert/Kosma) 2.05

Yves Montand with Marilyn Monroe and Simone Signoret:

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