Beautiful strings arrangements give way to the sensual voice of Brigitte Zarie on “Where there is love”, the first track of her new release L’amour. Once again Zarie recruited the services of Master trumpeter Randy Brecker on the opening track and on the ballad “I just love you”. Zarie discovered on her first album (Make Room For Me), that the lyrical soloing of Mr. Brecker complements perfectly her sophisticated and seductive voice. Besides her stunning tone one of the most impressive things about Ms. Zarie is her superb talent as a songwriter. She wrote all the lyrics except for Jobim “Quiet Nights” and Johnny Cash “Walk the line”. Her style is deeply rooted in the traditions of jazz and the classics songs of the Great American Songbook, yet her songs sounds fresh and relevant for today’s audience.
Another aspect of Zarie’s bag of talents is her command of the French language. Zarie writes and sings perfectly in the language of love, and the second track is called precisely “L’amour” (Love), obviously a romantic song in french but with touches of Bossa Nova. The album also includes an English version of this song.
On “Nobody else”, “Good to be Home” and the jazzy version of Johnny Cash “Walk the line” Zarie demonstrates she is most of all, an outstanding jazz singer. On her relaxed, swinging phrasing she conveys both the present and the past of jazz vocalists. In contrast to “Walk the line”, which have the more intimate sound of a quartet setting (guitar, trumpet, bass and drums), on “Nobody else” and “Good to be home” takes the listener to the era and sound of the Big Bands, reminiscent at times of the Count Basie Kansas City style.
On the beautiful ballads “How can it hurt”, “Don’t forget me” and “I just love you”, Zarie shows her soulful and bluesy side. This is the kind of song that made me comment on her first album, that some of Zarie’s compositions could be part of the Great American Songbook. Zarie has the ability to engage the listener with her seductive phrasing and her tone is haunting and emotional on these slow songs. Her phrasing and feel on “Don’t forget me” and “I just love you”, makes me think that Billie Holiday is an essential part of Zarie’s album collection, Holiday’s influence is definitely there.
Jobim “Quiet Nights” (Corcovado) is one of the only two covers included on the album. Zarie does a excellent version of this Jobim classic, and even sings half of the song in Portuguese.
On the joyful “Celebrate”, Zarie and company takes us once again to the Big Band era with a wonderful swinging groove and sublime horn arrangements. Neil Jason, Zarie’s partner in crime, deserve a special mention for his collaboration on the music and arrangements throughout this excellent follow up to Zarie’s debut album.
Tracks: Where There Is Love, L’amour (French version), Walk The Line, Good To Be Home, I Just Love You, Quiet Nights, Nobody Else, How Can It Hurt, L’amour, Don’t Forget Me, Celebrate, Get Me thru.
Musicians: Brigitte Zarie – vocals, Brian Floody – drums (4,7,11), Sean Pelton – drums (1,2,3,7,8,9,12), Brian McKenna – drums (5,6,10), Peter Zak – piano (5,6,8,10,12), Joe Delia – piano (4,7,11), Rob Mounsey – piano (1), Lincoln Goines – bass (4,7,11), Conrad Korsch – bass (1,2,3,5,6,8,9,12), Paul Gill –bass (10), John Tropea – guitar (1,2,3,9,11), Larry Saltzman – guitar (6), Jonny Rosch – harmonica/melodic, Gil Goldstein – accordion, Don Harris – trumpet (3,8), Brad Mason, Randy Brecker – trumpet (1,5), Lou Marin – flute, Ken Gioffre, Gary Keller, Frank Besile – Saxs, Bruce Kapler – Sax (1,5), Michael Boscarino, Brian Bonvissuto – trombone, Jesse Levy Ensemble – strings
Label: NJ Music | Release date: December 2013
About Brigitte Zarie
From the beginning, Brigitte Zarie has been as unforgettable as her music. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, she had the benefit of being raised in a home that thrummed with the rhythms and melodies that shaped her into the artist she would become. With parents originally from Casablanca, Morocco —her father was a multi-instrumentalist while her mother was a singer— she was exposed to the world of jazz at an early age, and developed a love for classic artists like Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz.
“I used to go to sleep listening to ‘Strangers In The Night’ or break up with a boyfriend and cry myself to sleep with the music of Stan Getz in the background,” she says. And as one of ten children, there was no shortage of other people to play and sing with. “My brother Joe used to play guitar and make me sing and make up words to everything he would play,” says Brigitte. “So I was writing songs since day one.”
A defining moment for Brigitte occurred when her family traveled to Buffalo, NY when she was a child. “My parents had a big van so we slept in it one night, and across the street was a jazz club. I remember hearing this bebop music, and loving it while my folks were asleep. I was really stunned by what I heard. I tried to stay up and listen to every note that was played. I can still hear and see that night as clear as day. I know I was supposed to be in that exact spot, listening to that music for a reason.”
From that moment on, Brigitte answered her calling, knowing exactly what she wanted to do with her life: devote it to creating the music that she was so struck by as a young girl. She kept singing and crafting songs, many of which were recorded by other artists. She played in bands and was a featured vocalist in films and commercials. She even explored other musical genres. But throughout it all, jazz remained her utmost passion, and soon she chose to focus exclusively on her own material.
“Douglas Cross wrote ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” she states, unabashedly, “but it was his heart that he left, not mine.” Seeking to express the experiences of her own life, she penned the songs that would become her debut CD “Make Room For Me,” a searingly emotional collection that offers a freshness and originality uncommon in the world of jazz.
Brigitte Zarie carries forth the classic jazz musical tradition in her own unique and distinctive way. She brings bold determination, sassiness, originality, and unwavering insight to every song she writes. The result is a listening experience that is warm and uplifting. And a work of art that is timeless. Brigitte Zarie. A songwriter who moves the heart, stirs the soul, and is the voice of whole new generation of jazz.