Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jazz Night in Chusclan

The tiny village that we live in constantly sponsoring events. First, Mary Ann went on the bull wrangling expedition sponsored by the bull club (that's a literal translation). Then there was the pottery exhibition. Unfortunately, we missed the summer festival. Every Friday is boules night. However, the best event so far was a live outdoor jazz concert.

On one warm summer night, a French jazz quartet played for close to two hours. The setting was great - right in front of the old church. The group covered many American jazz standards and also played some original pieces. Apparently, the singer is somewhat renown. I imagined that Mme. Monique Zuppardi was trying to rejuvenate her career by playing the Côte du Rhone Villages tour.

Her singing didn't do much for me. The English songs, in particular, seemed a bit off. I couldn't get past her noticeable French accent. In everyday speech, we tend to pronounce consonants with much more emphasis than other Romance language. However, in song, things get smoothed out. I think this is the phenomena that makes Ozzy Osborne seem coherent while singing. Anyway, the jazz vocalist was hitting those consonants with gusto to the detriment of the melody.

When the singer stepped aside for her mid-song smoke breaks (I'm not kidding), the musicianship of the band was on display. The bass was steady but didn't quite click on the solos. The drummer kept a good beat and added some extra flourishes that you knew weren't written in the music. But the star of the show was the piano player. He consistently laid down wonderful interesting melodies. Each piano break was a pleasure to experience.

Young-looking by jazz musician standards, I like to think that he was working his way up the ladder by riding the coat tales of aging stars. A little cyber-stalking brought me to his MySpace page. Apparently Lionel Dandine is "friends" with Herbie Hancock and counts Earth Wind and Fire among his influences. He is worth checking out if you're in Marseille or Morocco this summer.

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