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Tina May continues her exploration of out of the ordinary, but tasteful, selections from the world's songbook in her latest album for the British @33Jazz label. This time around she has corralled preeminent reedman Tony Coe as well as other outstanding musicians, to share the spotlight. May's albums are always full of heavenly surprises, and this album continues that pleasant practice. In previous outings, she usually sang a tune or two in French. Here, with a single exception, the program is done in the Gallic language. Because she performs in Europe and because of the well known distrust the French have with any and all (especially the English) who attempt to speak their language, May had to have supreme confidence in her linguistic skills to pull it off. And she does with ease, elan, aplomb and joie de vivre. What helps is that the songs she has selected for this album are either French or sound good sung in that language. Some of the titles when translated into English are familiar, like" Que Reste-t-Il" aka "I Wish You Love" and "Sous le Ciel de Paris" or "Under Paris Skies". Whatever the language, all the offerings are outstanding and will attract listener attention. Django Reinhardt's charming but haunting "Nuages" where after some feathery tenoring by Tony Coe, guitarist Alec Coburn and violinist John Francis assume the mantles of Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli as they collaborate to provide superb backing allowing May's voice to waft in, out and around the harmonies created by these two fine instrumentalists, especially the violin of John Francis. The la pièce resistance is the album's final track, "April in Paris". Kicking off with the fluttering sax fingering by Tony Coe underscored by Brian Dee's ruminative piano as Coe plays above the melody line all leading to May's one vocal in English.
With her crystalline, pure voice and her impeccable diction, whether in English or in French, mixed with outstanding instrumentalists as they all perform an interesting, well arranged play list, makes this album a joy to listen to. It shows why Tina May continues to be a talent to reckon with on the European jazz scene. Visit Tina at her web site at http://www. tinamay.f9.co.uk/biog.htm.
Tracks:N'oublie Jamais; Clopin Clopant; Nuages; Que Rest-t-Il; Medley: I Love Paris/C'est Magnifique; Anouman; C'est si Bon; A Tu Vois Me Mere; Sous le Ciel de Paris; April in Paris
Personnel: Tina May - Vocals; Tony Coe - Soprano and Tenor Saxophone/Clarinet; Brian Brian Dee - Piano; Alec Coburn - Guitar; John Francis - Violin; Julie Walkington - Bass; Vince Clarke - Drums
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.