407

Jean-Paul Elysee: Pourtant...

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Jean-Paul Elysee: Pourtant... Pourtant..., from Parisian vocalist Jean-Paul Elysee would not likely have popped up on AAJ's radar had it not been released on Aphrodite Records, a solidly all-jazz label. While decidedly jazz-accented, this record is another animal altogether, a contemporary heir of the French chanson tradition of Georges Brassens and Boris Vian.

As such, this music is small-combo stuff, relying heavily on barely-audible but always evident guitar strumming; sophisticated yet immediately catchy melodies, like Elysee's historical models. There is a mix of tempos, successfully fusing the French originals with cool soul and jazz elements. Pianist Lars Segoni is the real thing, a capable jazz accompanist; many of the other instrumental accents sound self-consciously jazzy at times, but no less enjoyable for all that.

Likewise, the lyrics, all in French, aspire to the quality of poetry on the printed page, a standard which these generally attain. For example, "Je suis un Parisien"—I am Parisian—wittily pokes fun at Parisians and non-Parisians in about equal measure.

The title track—"Pourtant"—means roughly, "And yet..."—stakes out a lyrical ground akin to that favored by a nostalgic mid-sixties Sinatra: "And yet/ if you were to propose to me now/ to go for another hundred years/ I'm in..." All this to a tune vaguely redolent both of Shirley Horn's "Estate" and the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New"—fine songs, both.

These songs will speak directly to a readymade French audience, but could well find a welcome ear worldwide. In that respect, Elysee resembles Brazilian neo-Bossa Nova champion Celso Fonseca. In addition to having slight but silken voices in the tenor range, both are seeking to revitalize older popular musical forms—chanson francais; bossa nova—for younger audiences at home and globalized audiences elsewhere, shortchanging the expectations of neither group in so doing. If that were as easy as it sounds in these breezy performances, more musicians would be doing it. And they aren't.


Track Listing: Je suis un Parisien; Chabine; J'ai revu la mer; Elle court; Di di dom di di dam; Pourtant; Je reve; Faut faire avec; Tu le sais; Madame; Non; Le temps va passer.

Personnel: Jean-Paul Elysée: vocals, composition, arrangements; Philippe Slominsky: trumpet (2, 4, 7, 10, 12); Mario Masse: flute; Lars Segoni: piano; Nicolas Viard: double bass; Gerard Curbillon: guitar (2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10); Ziggy Mandace: guitar (1, 9); David Donatien: percussion.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Aphrodite Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Tournesol" CD/LP/Track Review Tournesol
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "The Third Decade" CD/LP/Track Review The Third Decade
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Istanbul Underground" CD/LP/Track Review Istanbul Underground
by James Nadal
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Lost Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Lost Signals
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Prick of the Litter" CD/LP/Track Review Prick of the Litter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Disappearing Day" CD/LP/Track Review Disappearing Day
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 9, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!