Jazz à Saint-Germain

A Collection of Covers of Classic Jazz Tunes
A Tribute to the Free Spirit of Paris in the 50’s

1997 Higher Octave Jazz/Virgin HOJCD 45262

  1. Summertime

    Angélique Kidjo

  2. Les joyeux bouchers

    Catherine Ringer and the Renegade Brass Band

  3. Lover Man


  4. Watermelon Man

    Dee Dee Bridgewater

  5. I’ll Be Seeing You

    Françoise Hardy and Iggy Pop

  6. Il n’y a Plus d’Après

    The Jazz Passengers with Deborah Harry

  7. La javanaise

    Jacky Terrasson

  8. Black Coffee

    Patricia Kaas

  9. God Bless the Child

    Princess Erika

  10. Autour de minuit

    Les Nubians

  11. These Foolish Things

    Jane Birkin with Jimmy Rowles

  12. La caravane

    Brigitte Fontaine

  13. Sophisticated Lady

    Elli Medeiros

  14. J’suis snob Unreleased

    Boris Vian

This album has many, many fascinating approaches to consider, and it continues to intrigue me even years after I added it to my collection. For sheer magnitude, Dee Dee Bridgewater’s smackdown performance of “Watermelon Man” rules this CD, but there are several other striking presentations here. Angélique Kidjo’s Africanized “Summertime” would be intensely interesting in any context, as it marries a few distinct cultures’ styles with seemingly effortless grace, and Princess Erika’s take on “Black Coffee” somehow works despite seeming to be a contradictorily lively reading of its jaded base.

I think I got this album in the first place because Catherine Ringer of Les Rita Mitsouko provided the vocals for the second track, but I soon forgot about that reason as the overall diversity of styles dazzled me. Ringer’s track is stately and pleasantly old-fashioned, a nice oddity among other oddities.

There are a couple of missteps, and certainly “Il n’y a Plus d’Après” is the most jarring of them: Deborah Harry may be great, and she may be brilliant and intense and whatever else has been said about her, but apparently she cannot speak French, because this track is torturous to listen to.