When singer-pianist Anne Bisson decided to record her first album, she had planned on giving classical music a jazz approach. However, one day as she was sitting by her piano, the muse descended and inspired her to write "Little Black Lake." She discovered an inner trove of songs that emerged from her heart to fill this CD, with one exceptionSteve Hackett's "Hoping Love Will Last."
Bisson, who lives in Montreal, began classical piano lessons when she was six. Five years later she was composing songs on the guitar. It was only when she sat in with the rhythm section of the University of Montreal Big Band that she was touched by jazz. Over the next two years she continued practicing classical music by day while listening to Louis Armstrong
and George Gershwin
by night and also playing in Montreal jazz bars.
The songs on the album show that Bisson has an innate sense of composition. The songs are warm and intimate and speak directly to the heart. She makes them all the more evocative with a voice that can be fragile and haunting, gently alluring and inviting, as it wraps itself around the underlying emotion of the lyrics.
Bisson's jazz side comes up strong on "Do What You Please." Her vocal is made distinct by her phrasing and timing, but she goes beyond that with her inflections and sense of space that capture the implicit feel of the words. Even when she is in pop mode, she is a stunning communicator. Any of the selections testify to that but "Blue Mind" condenses the core of emotion into stellar story telling.
Listening to "Hoping Love Will Last" makes apparent why she chose to sing it. The supple grace of her voice is seen to advantage, as she soars in hope, ponders on the edge of uncertainty and reminisces introspectively to invest the song with her indelible presence.
Bisson has a lot going for herselfher writing is resolute in its view of human passions and her singing gives voice to those passions with tasteful delicacy. And finally, she has two fine accompanists in Paul Brochu and Normand Guilbeault, who understand, and help enhance the nature of her songs.
Personnel: Anne Bisson: piano, vocals; Paul Brochu: drums; Normand Guilbeault: acoustic bass.