Friday, 11 June 2010

Nouvelle Vague - Michel Legrand

Since this year is the 50th anniversary of ‘Breathless’ it only seems right to be enjoying a CD called ‘Nouvelle Vague’. From the first-rate Universal Music Jazz France soundtrack series, this collection covers work done for Jacques Demy and others as well as JLG, who can be heard talking before each track from ‘Une Femme est une Femme’. This would be great if I understood French...shame CDs don’t come with translation software. ‘Angela, Strasbourg Saint Denis’ is one of the great themes associated with JLG and it’s followed by Anna K singing, so, already it’s worth the money. ‘Hula-Hop’ from Francoise Reichenbach’s ‘L’Amerique Insolite’ is a sprightly gem, all jaunty jazz with scat vocals, but the later treat of the theme to ‘Vivre sa Vie’ just about tops everything in the tradition of heartbreakingly beautiful JLG themes. It ranks alongside Delerue’s music for ‘Le Mepris’ or Misraki’s ‘Alphaville’ soundtrack. In the middle there’s a clutch of songs from Agnes Varda’s ‘Cleo de 5 a 7’, vocals by Corrine Marchand...absolutely superb, especially the ballad, ‘La Joueuse’. ‘Roland reve’ from Demy’s ‘Lola’, is another heart-rending classic. Also included is piano trio work and the kind of jazz that Miles set the blueprint for with his French connection, so all-in-all it's diverse, sophisticated, light-hearted, poignant and further proof that Legrand was an amazing composer.

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