A singer, a pianist… This is a classic format that suggests a musical ideal for any seasoned performer or instrumentalist. However, this duo takes risks and manages to captivate us. The melodious
vocal harmonies of Annick Tangorra gracefully marry the delicate virtuosity of Alain Jean-Marie. Time for a Cry arouses the thrill, but could it be otherwise?
Bringing together two personalities in the studio can sometimes be a gamble when the protagonists, hastily chosen, find themselves face to face in the hope of tying up a project that is more mercantile than artistic. This was obviously not the case for this disc produced by two accomplices whose value is no longer to be proven. Certainly, the notoriety of Alain Jean-Marie instinctively arouses our curiosity, but, very quickly, our ears are caught up in the homogeneity of this irresistible piano-voice dialogue. Annick Tangorra subtly feeds on the flights of her precious partner and you can hear it.
His mastery of the vocal art charms us, invites us to jazz nostalgia and the echo of the great figures of yesteryear resonates in our minds. It is natural to want to compare, especially when the repertoire calls on standards immortalized by the stars of yesterday, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Helen Merrill, Sarah Vaughan… However, and although some references are flattering, you have to let go grip and knowing how to savor a voice without preconceived ideas.
For this recording session, Annick Tangorra precisely avoided the pitfall of being the prisoner of an overly imposing heritage. Beyond a few rereadings inspired by universally known themes, she put sweet words on the chiseled notes of Alain Jean-Marie.
This daring musical proposal suddenly revitalizes the works of the Guadeloupean pianist and legitimizes their reverential exchanges. Already on her previous album Springtime, orchestrated by the Martinican pianist Mario Canonge, Annick Tangorra had asked Alain Jean-Marie for some fine ornamentation.
It is therefore relevant to say that their association was self-evident and that the fruit of this communion could only be tasty. If humility is the character trait of these two sensitive souls, let’s not minimize their prestigious respective destiny.
Alain Jean-Marie is a pillar in the history of jazz.
He shared the stage with some great names of the 20th century including Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Charlie Haden, etc. His numerous honorary awards attest to his pianistic genius. He is a famous composer, not very vocal, except in front of the 88 keys of his keyboard. It simply commands respect.
Passion for ultramarine rhythms
Annick Tangorra can only congratulate herself on rubbing shoulders with this great character who, from the height of her 76 years, offers her the unique gift of designing a joint album. Faced with a maestro, modesty certainly prevails, but the destiny of Annick Tangorra deserves a particular light all the same. Broken, since the 80s, in club performances, she has developed a musicality rooted in the Afro-Caribbean culture of which she does not claim to be an original speaker.
She only admits her passion for ultramarine rhythms and accents without boasting. She just “roamed”, she says, from Brazil to the West Indies, from Marseille to Paris, confronting herself with relish to the cultural riches of her encounters. Here with the organist Emmanuel Bex, there with the trumpeter Ivan Julien.
Gradually, his path took shape and his voice asserted itself. The late French violinist Didier Lockwood said of her: « There is in her voice a suave mixture of restrained lyricism, refined sensuality and carnal elegance. Her great rhythmic ease and her magnificent vocal technique are at the service of a music that is festive, languorous and melancholic at the same time ».
For 40 years, Annick Tangorra has been advancing step by step and the maturity of her art allows her today to embrace privileged moments with a giant of jazz composition and interpretation. Time for a Cry confirms what our certainties were already. Over time, the voice of Annick Tangorra reveals itself, lights up, and marries pianissimo with the sparkles of a dazzling elder.
Great minds always end up meeting. Note also that this project was conceived in the Lutheran church of Saint-Marcel in Paris. In addition to the specific sound of such a building, conducive to the elevation of being, a few guardian angels must have accompanied this agreement full of fervor between two exalted creators.
In Lyon, on May 25 and in Paris on June 4, the flock, lovers of authentic jazz, will be able to praise with their warm cheers the quiet fluidity of an elegant companionship.
Annick Tangorra & Alain Jean-Marie Time for a Cry (Aztec Musique/Pias) 2022
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