Le Duo plays Jacques Brel is a unique instrumental rereading of the great Belgian singer-composer Brel's works. The jazz project germinated with legendary producer Alan Douglas who was inspired by the American "songbooks" tradition - such as with George Gershwin and Cole Porter, among many others - but found little representation of French composers. Douglas waited patiently to find musicians capable of playing interpretations with beautiful sensitivity to the original artwork. His patience finally paid off. The result: Perrine Mansuy and François Cordas, the group “LeDUO”, have produced the first volume in a series of albums dedicated this wonderful project.
Of the many times I’ve played this recording, it never failed to bring me to pause in appreciation, as if my soul had been invited by the music’s affectionateness. LeDUO’s playing resonates with the humanity found in Brel’s songs. Avoiding any hint of sensationalism without showing signs of restraint, the saxophonist whispers tender notes that rest upon the pianist’s thin, crystalline melody and harmony. There is much warmth and love in their playing. I am confident when I say this music will be deeply felt by a wide audience of music lovers.
For those who are not familiar with Brel I encourage you to discover his music, of which a significant portion is available on YouTube. For example, listen to LeDUO’s jazz interpretation of "Isabelle" in the right sidebar after hearing Brel’s original work here. And remember, Brel is just the beginning of LeDUO’s project with Douglas Records. I look forward to hearing more from their collaboration, including their release of music by Charles Aznavour.
"In America, 'songbooks' albums dedicated to the music of George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Billy Strayhorn, etc. are countless. I have been living in France for more than four years and I'm astonished that there has apparently been only very few instrumental projects interpreting the repertoires of the greatest French composers. I once promised myself that if I could find the musicians talented enough to meet such a challenge, I would probably go for it, starting with Brel and Aznavour, my favorites. Well, here they are ! Perrine Mansuy and François Cordas, have been working on these first two albums since the beginning of 2006 and it has been a very satisfying experience." -Alan Douglas, April 2006
Perrine Mansuy (piano) & François Cordas (soprano and tenor saxaphones) now known as LeDUO are two talented and refined French musicians both natives of the region of Provence. They met by chance at a club venue in 1996. Since this first encounter, a genuine musical and personal compatibility settled between them. Such a rare and precious relationship makes it irrelevant to wonder why they are making music together ... it's just an obvious thing to do.
Douglas was extremely impressed by the sensitivity and professionalism of both artists. Thanks to his experience of producing and working with some of the best American musicians and composers (Billy Strayhorn "The Peaceful Side of Jazz", Billie Holiday "Lady Love", Duke Ellington "Money Jungle", Eric Dolphy "Conversation & Iron Man", Bill Evans-Jim Hall "Undercurrent", John McLaughlin "My Goal's Beyond", Jimi Hendrix ...), he then decided they would be the perfect musicians with whom to produce a 'songbooks collection' of the great French composers - a project that had been on his mind for a long time.
Perrine Mansuy and Frncois Cordas, “LeDUO“, are both natives of the region of Provence and studied music there (in Marseilles conservatoire for Perrine and Francois at the Avignon conservatoire). They met by chance at a club venue in 1996. Since this first encounter, a genuine musical and personal compatability settled between them. Such a rare and precious relationship makes it irrelevant to wonder why they are making music together … it’s just an obvious thing to do.
Jacques Brel was a Belgian singer-songwriter who composed and performed literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs that generated a large, devoted following in Belgium and France initially, and later throughout the world.
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