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Yana Bibb: Afternoon In Paris

Chris Mosey By

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In the beginning: Leon Bibb. Born 1922, he sang at the first ever Newport Folk Festival, was a friend of Paul Robeson and, like him, blacklisted in the McCarthy era for his left-wing sympathies. After fighting segregation in Mississippi in the 1960s, he went to live in Canada.

Next came his son, Eric Bibb. Born 1951, he started playing guitar aged seven and was advised by Bob Dylan, no less, "Keep it simple, forget all that fancy stuff." Eric Bibb became a singer-songwriter and moved to Europe in 1970. He currently lives in Finland.

Now we have Eric Bibb's daughter Yana Bibb. She grew up in Sweden before—recently—moving to France. She too is a singer-songwriter, this being her second album for the French label DixieFrog, where she joins an impressive roster of blues-based artists.

Yana Bibb cuts an unlikedly figure in a world of whisky swilling, stubble-chinned, axe-wielding outlaws. But her stylish appearance, jazzy vocals and sensitive lyrics make a welcome break in the testosterone-fuelled, riff-based rock that is DixieFrog's main bill of fare.

Perhaps the jazz influence is from another of her antecedents. Her great uncle was none other than John Lewis, pianist of the Modern Jazz Quartet. He once wrote a song titled "Afternoon In Paris." It's the title of this album, but isn't included.

In a generally well-balanced selection of songs, Bibb doffs her very fashionable Parisian hat—featured on the cover and throughout the album notes—to two greats from either end of the jazz spectrum. She pays tribute to Bessie Smith with her own "Bessie's Advice," then courageously reinterprets Peggy Lee's smoky classic "Black Coffee."

Stopping off to resurrect "I Will," a lesser known item from the Lennon and McCartney songbook, Bibb then sings "For You," a heartfelt ballad by her father, and—in Swedish—her own "Syster Min," (Sister Mine). Both numbers are testament to the strength of Bibb family ties. "Kärleks Vals (Love's Waltz)" is perhaps a Swedish ballad too far —there's a feel of the gig winding down, losing direction.

But things pick up a bit with the closer, the dreamy "Before You Go," dedicated to Leon Bibb. Which is where we came in.

Track Listing: Buck; Bessie’s Advice; You & I; I Will; New Home; Black Coffee; For You; Goodbye New York City; Syster Min; Kärleks Vals; Before You Go.

Personnel: Yana Bibb: vocals; Eric Bibb, Staffan Astner: guitars; Peter Forss, Dan Martinez: bass; Jesper Nordenström: organ; John Rangel, Alessandro Fadini, Greg Barbone: piano; Per Lindvall, Nicci Notini, Chris Parker: drums; Wojtek Goral: saxophone, flute; Martin Lood: trumpet; Petra Wallgren: violin.

Title: Afternoon In Paris | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Dixiefrog


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