Categories
Music

Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent is an American jazz singer with a glorious voice. She was born in 1965 in New Jersey and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Her paternal grandfather was a Russian who grew up in France. He later moved to the United States where he taught Kent French. Once she learned French, it was the only language she spoke with her grandfather. Kent travelled to England after college to study music in London, where she met saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whom she married in 1991.

I have the impression Kent is better known in France than in the United States. Her album Raconte-moi was recorded in French and became the second best selling French language album worldwide in 2010.

Kent has also faced serious health challenges. In a 2004 interview with Robert Kaiser of The Washington Post, Kent recounted that she’s been in comas three times caused by brainstem encephalitis:

Each time, baffled doctors were not certain they could bring her back. The last coma was in 1999, and Tomlinson nursed her through it. On doctors’ advice, he brought records to her hospital room. When she awoke he was playing Mildred Bailey, one of the great jazz singers of the ’30s. “There’s just so much emotion in that voice,” Kent says. “It’s a cry - even when she’s singing a happy song.”

I love Stacey Kent’s music and discovered this marvelous 2018 interview en français with her. The interview is also available as a podcast.

Categories
Music

Clémence Poésy to Anne Sylvestre: ‘Thank you for the tenderness’

Clémence Poésy marking the passing of French singer-songwriter Anne Sylvestre (1934 – 2020) on November 30th:

A beautiful, personal tribute from a great actress to a wonderful singer.

Clémence Poésy, juin 2019 Emscop, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Anne Sylvestre on Apple Music

Categories
Music

Lara Fabian: ‘Lockdown Sessions’

During the COVID pandemic, Lara Fabian created a new album of music called Lockdown Sessions. It is available exclusively through the LaraFabian.com store. Pre-orders are being accepted now. The album is set for release in December 2020. 

I just placed an order.

Categories
Music

Remembering Michel LeGrand

Ever since I was a boy, my ambition has been to live completely surrounded by music. My dream is not to miss out anything. That’s why I’ve never settled on one musical discipline. I love playing, conducting, singing and writing, and in all styles. So I turn my hand to everything – not just a bit of everything. Quite the opposite. I do all these activities at once, seriously, sincerely and with deep commitment.

Michel LeGrand

Michel LeGrand (1932-2019) wrote the scores for more than 250 films including The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) starring Catherine Deneuve and Yentl (1983), a creation of Barbra Streisand.

He recorded more than 100 albums, with Maurice Chevalier, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sarah Vaughan and Lena Horne among others. Many performers covered his music including Frank Sinatra and Sting.

It’s remarkable that one person could create so much beauty.

The Guardian Obituary

Categories
Music

Bing Crosby Singing in French

Bing Crosby (1903-1977) sings mainly in French about Paris in this wonderful album. Crosby recorded the album in Paris on May 16, 1953. The orchestrations were by Paul Durand (1907-1977) who wrote Je suis seule ce soir which is in the soundtrack of Midnight in Paris. Crosby’s accent isn’t great but it really doesn’t matter. The love comes through.

Apple Music

Categories
Audiobooks Music

James Taylor Recounts his Early Years

In ‘Break Shot: My First 21 Years‘ James Taylor recounts his first 21 years in very personal and moving terms while interspersing his wonderful music.

The audiobook is only 90-minutes long and worth every minute. Here are a couple of highlights that really resonated with me:

  • “Memory is tricky. We remember how it felt, not necessarily how it was. Songs grow out of memories.”
  • “We want to go back and fix something that has already vanished and can never be corrected. But we can correct it in a song . . . .”