Review: Daniel Roure, French Kiss
Daniel Roure, French Kiss
The brilliant follow up to French musician Daniel Roure’s Le Temps d’un Jazz is the romantic collection French Kiss. Once again surrounded by a bevy of immensely talented instrumentalists and fellow countrymen, not to mention Roure’s own fantastic piano skills, the familiar love songs on the album are given a French twist with amorous inflections and tight jazz synchrony.
Cole Porter’s “C’est Magnifique” features a fun and jovial aside conversation with the piano and alto saxophone as Roure sings the first half in French and the second in English. Translated “It’s Magnificent” from the 1953 musical Can-Can, the drummer does a phenomenal job of keeping a relaxed steady beat throughout the noodling instrumental solos.
“When You’re Smiling” was thrice recorded by Louis Armstrong so it is apt that award-winning musician and professor Jean François Bonnel play a clear and tasteful trumpet solo in the bridge. Francesco Castellani once again collaborates with Roure on trombone and together the brass and rhythm section produce a neat and tidy coda. Bonnel began his career as a woodwind player and lends his saxophone work to the album as well. He does however deliver absolute perfection with his clarinet solo in “Candy”. Accompanied by Roure on the keys, the range on the reed instrument is elegant and expertly played.
The true epitome of the instrumental prowess on French Kiss is evident in “Que reste t’il de nos Amours” translated “What Remains of Our Love” also written in English “I Wish You Love”. Roure opens in musing French, while Paul Pioli quietly plays guitar. Then the full jazz combo enters and numerous solos are thrown about between all involved. The entire section is well balanced and structured. The soloists play off each other’s stylistic melodies but no one ever gets flashy. It is an extremely satisfying instrumental break with drums adding a few splash cymbals among the rim hits, the saxophone refraining from sounding too garish and the trombone remaining subdued. The familiar cute ending is delightful.
Roure and his colleagues do attempt to make a unique imprint on these well-known tunes. “As Time Goes By” famously heard in the movie Casablanca is known for its reserved nonchalance, but Roure’s version is even more subdued with free form guitar lacing his quiet French accented vocals. It is an interesting take on the familiar standard.
These nuances do not work on all of the pieces on the album though. The scant abstract arrangement of “Fly Me to the Moon” is devoid of any swing resulting in an easily forgotten song. Edith Piaf’s “La vie en Rose” also fails to fully engage the listener. The romantic lyrics of “Summer Wind” famously sung by Wayne Newton and then Frank Sinatra in the 1960’s lack any vocal range or depth as Roure whispers his recitative. Once the remainder of the instruments enters, there is nothing indistinguishable about this piece than another other jazz standard.
Fabien Giacchi provides a steady walking bass to guide “These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)” with slight piano remarks peppered throughout. This andante low key number is thrown for a loop when the guitar solo plays a superfluous amount of notes that fail to complement the easy jaunt of the piano and vocals.
Romance can abound when music and French ambiances combine, however finding a perfect balance between the two takes special care. Roure and his compatriots manage to create this effect most of the time and those songs are well worth a listen.
Reviewers Name: Kelly O’Neil
Rating: 4 stars