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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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La Musique au Plural /
Music in the Plural

Emarcy 533 739 6



CD1 Vocal
1. Quand ‡a balance
2. Les Moulins de mon coeur
3. Quand on s'aime
4. Attendre
5. Elle a... Elle a pas
6. Rupture
7. Le Soleil, la mer et les bateaux
8. Le Cin‚ma
9. Trombone, guitare et compagnie
10. Et si demain
11. Les Enfants qui pleurent
12. La Partie de tennis
13. Edith
14. Un parfum de fin du monde
15. Duo du haut
16. Les Musiciens
17. Comme elle est longue … mourir ma jeunesse
18. Eug‚nie
19. Mon dernier concert
20. Vivre quand on aime
CD2 Jazz
1. A Night in Tunisia
2. Once Upon a Summertime
3. Flight
4. You Must Believe in Spring
5. De Delphine … Lancien
6. Vida Real
7. Malagan Stew
8. Once You've Been in Love
9. Images (Final)
10. Le Temps des cerises
11. The Lady is a Tramp
12. Now You've Gone
13. My Funny Valentine
14. Watch What Happens
15. Django
16. I Will Wait for You
CD3 Cinema
1. Summer of '42
2. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
3. Les Demoiselles de Rochefort
4. The Go-Between
5. Peau d'Ane
6. Cleo de 5 a 7
7. Oum le Dauphin
8. The Picasso Summer
9. Dingo
10. The Three Musketeers
11. The Three Musketeers
12. The Thomas Crown Affair
13. Unused Score for Robin and Marian
14. Les Fabuleuses Aventures du Baron de Munchausen
15. Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
16. The Hunter
17. Cinq Jours en Juin
18. Le Sauvage
18. Never Say Never Again
19. La Piscine
20. La Vieille Fille
21. Ice Station Zebra
22. La B–che
23. La Poudre d'Escampette
24. Oscar et la Dame Rose
CD4 Michel Legrand (piano), Catherine Michel (harp)
1. Orson's Theme
2. His Eyes, Her Eyes
3. The Adventures of Don Quixote
4. I Was Born in Love with You
5. Au Concert
6. Between Yesterday and Tomorrow
7. Nobody Knows
8. How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
9. Summer of '42
10. I Will Say Goodbye
11. Yentl

Michel Legrand is a multi-talented man, as this four-CD boxed set illustrates. It presents him as composer, singer, jazzman, arranger, pianist, and writer of soundtrack music. One of his teachers at the Paris Conservatoire was Nadia Boulanger, who told him "Put what you like under and over the melody but, whatever happens, it's the melody that counts". And Legrand became one of the great melodists, composing memorable songs like Les Moulins de mon coeur (The Windmills of Your Mind), which he sings on the first CD here.

Michel has a pleasant easy-going voice, singing in tune and with feeling. Some of the songs on this CD are duets with the likes of Nana Mouskouri and Laura Fygi, but mostly he sings on his own, with rich accompaniments that he presumably arranged himself.

The second CD features jazz, an idiom which Legrand discovered when he attended a couple of mind-expanding concerts by Dizzy Gillespie in Paris. Michel's 1958 album Legrand Jazz is legendary but I prefer the albums where he played piano with small groups, such as Live at Jimmy's (an LP which I'm still waiting to appear on CD).

The "Jazz" CD opens with an appropriate tribute to Dizzy Gillespie: Legrand's version of A Night in Tunisia. Taken from the Legrand Jazz album, it features four trumpeters in succession letting rip. It shows the joy that Legrand takes in the excitement of jazz and the way that he recreates jazz standards with ingenious arrangements. This CD also proves that he moves in very elevated jazz company, with contributions from the likes of Bill Evans, Sarah Vaughan and Stan Getz. Bud Shank contributes heavenly flute to De Delphine … Lancien, and Phil Woods converses with the piano at top speed in Images (Final). John Lewis's Django uses Miles' Davis's eerie trumpet to advantage.

The third CD illustrates another string to Michel Legrand's bow: film soundtracks. He ventured into this world with the 1955 film Les Amants du Tage and then worked with an amazing number of different directors on many wildly diverse films - from Summer of 42 to The Thomas Crown Affair and from Ice Station Zebra to Dingo. The contrast is evident between the semi-classical music for Peau d'Ane and the funky blues of Cinq Jours en Juin (that voice must be Ray Charles). Legrand's cinematic masterpiece - the first of several films with Jacques Demy - was The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, with totally sung dialogue, mixing jazz with romantic ballads. It included two marvellous songs: I Will Wait for You and Watch What Happens. Sadly, there is only one extract from this classic film.

The final CD comprises duets between Michel Legrand and Catherine Michel, a harpist from the Paris Opera. Legrand is careful to keep the piano from swamping the harp. Indeed, I Was Born in Love with You seems to be entirely the harp, making a celestial wash of sounds. The CD is a subtle mixture of interpretations of Legrand's compositions.

For fans of Michel Legrand, this bargain box is a must. But it will also appeal to anyone who likes good music.

Tony Augarde

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