All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

7

Madeleine & Salomon: A Woman's Journey

Jerome Wilson By

Sign in to view read count
A concept CD that looks at the plight of women throughout history is timely these days but not unusual. This disc by the duo Madeleine & Salomon, however, stands out by drawing from a broader swath of musical sources than you might hear in most similar projects. They touch on familiar songs like Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" and Nina Simone's "Four Women" but they also go farther afield to do tunes originally performed or written by Janis Ian, Marvin Gaye, Mimi and Richard Farina and Minnie Riperton.

The overall musical mode here is a minimalist blend of voice and piano with Clotilde Rullaud's vocals cooing softly over Alexandre Saada's dramatic piano with an occasional bit of flute mixed in. This leads to the normally angry "Strange Fruit" and "Four Women" being performed with an air of mournful resignation but other songs get more emotional treatments. The Farinas' "Swallow Song" has urgent duet singing over a galloping piano riff and gives off a sense of ominous menace. "The End Of Violence" is a seething poem by Elaine Brown, an early female member of the Black Panther Party that is recited with understated resolve by Rullaud before she segues into an impassioned, wailing rendition of Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz." The darkest and wildest track of all is "No Government/High School Drag," a medley that combines an electronic dance song that wishes for a wantless utopia with a nihilistic pseudo-beatnik poem from the movie High School Confidential. Saada plays a hammering, piano riff here while Rullaud sings the song seductively and recites the poem in a sharp, cawing bark. This section is as much performance art as music but it still works marvelously.

It is not all darkness. There are passages of light and hope, notably in their pleading version of Marvin Gaye's "Save The Children" and on an old Minnie Riperton single, "Les Fleurs," a lovely piece of light, romantic soul with Saada on electric piano. The romantically whispered ""Vous Faites Partie De Moi" is actually "I've Got You Under My Skin" with French lyrics written by Josephine Baker. That leads into a wandering piano and voice improvisation that closes the CD.

In performance this work is accompanied by short films but the musical component alone is very compelling. This project runs through a gamut of emotions like anger, sadness, joy, and optimism, throwing new angles onto familiar songs and exposing forgotten songs and songwriters to the world at large. This is a strong work of art that seems like it would be amazing live.

Track Listing: Image; Swallow Song; All The Pretty Horses; No Government/High School Drag; At Seventeen; Strange Fruit; Save The Children; Bain Libre 1; Little Girl Blue; The End Of Silence/Mercedes Benz; Les Fleurs; Bain Libre 2; Four Women; Vous Faites Partie De Moi; Le Jour Ne De La Femme.

Personnel: Clotilde Rullaud: vocals, flute; Alexandre Saada: piano, rhodes, clavinet, back vocals.

Title: A Woman's Journey | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Promise Land Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Good Music CD/LP/Track Review
Good Music
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read The Berlin Concert CD/LP/Track Review
The Berlin Concert
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 18, 2018
Read IMA IMA CD/LP/Track Review
IMA IMA
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Breathe CD/LP/Track Review
Breathe
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 18, 2018
Read Stillness & Sirens CD/LP/Track Review
Stillness & Sirens
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 17, 2018
Read "Oh My, Those Boys!" CD/LP/Track Review Oh My, Those Boys!
by John Sharpe
Published: May 29, 2018
Read "Live In Belgium" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Belgium
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6" CD/LP/Track Review Miles Davis & John Coltrane - The Final Tour: The...
by Doug Collette
Published: April 3, 2018
Read "Live At The Magic Triangle" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Magic Triangle
by John Sharpe
Published: January 13, 2018
Read "The Subject Tonight Is Love" CD/LP/Track Review The Subject Tonight Is Love
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 25, 2018
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017