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



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GEORGE ROBERT GEORGE ROBERT PLAYS MICHEL LEGRAND

TOTAL PLAYING TIME [55:16]

CLAVES RECORDS 50-1607

 

  1. Watch What Happens (From “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”, 1964) [4:56]

  2. How Do You Keep The Music Playing (From “Best Friends”, 1982) [5:35]

  3. What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life (From “Happy Ending”, 1969) [5:12]

  4. The Summer Knows (From “Summer of ‘42”, 1971) [4:35]

  5. Once Upon A Summertime (1956) [4:18]

  6. You Must Believe In Spring (From “The Young Girls of Rochefort”, 1967) [5:51]

  7. The Windmills Of Your Mind (From “The Thomas Crown Affair”, 1968) [4:54]

  8. I Will Wait For You (From “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”, 1964) [5:29]

  9. The Way He Makes Me Feel (From “Yentl”, 1983) [5:41]

  10. Brians’s Song (From “Brian’s Song”, 1971) [4:47]

  11. Papa, Can You Hear Me (From “Yentl”, 1983) [3:11]

    George Robert, born in Geneva, Switzerland in September 1960, was one of the top alto saxophonists in the world, as well as a gifted composer and arranger. He played with many jazz ensembles throughout Europe, Canada, and the U.S., and toured frequently. George passed away in March of this year (2016). Torben Oxbol, based in Vancouver, B.C., is a jazz musician, arranger, composer, and producer, and created all of the orchestral and rhythm section parts for these numbers. This disc was recorded on July 26, 2014 at Oceanview Studios, in West Vancouver, BC, Canada. For this production George plays 11 selections from the Michel Legrand songbook, primarily from Michel’s vast collection of over 200 television and film scores. The 1964 film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, written and directed by Jacques Demy, starred Catherine Deneuve and was unique in that the dialogue was entirely sung. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score, which produced two songs that have become classics: the hopeful I Will Wait For You, and the jazz standard Watch What Happens. George’s interpretations of these melodies is beautiful, creative and dynamic, and the background orchestration is a fine match that complements perfectly in mood and taste. The 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair, directed and produced by Norman Jewison, starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in a story about a Boston bank heist. Legrand’s score produced the exquisite composition The Windmills Of Your Mind, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The arrangement for this song is also quite interesting. It begins with a straight rhythm featuring a background of light percussive bells, before the saxophone mourns the melody with a lush string arrangement behind him. The second verse develops the theme, while the third verse picks up a Latin rhythm with a piano background, before the fourth and final verse return to the original format. The 1971 film Summer of ’42 was a coming-of-age movie set on Nantucket Island off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score, which produced the beautifully-reflective ballad The Summer Knows. This song features a fuller orchestrated background, balancing the saxophone to fine effect. Once Upon A Summertime was composed in 1956. It was originally titled La Valse Des Lilas and written a year earlier by Michel Legrand, Eddy Marnay and Eddie Barclay. Johnny Mercer added English lyrics and Blossom Dearie recorded the song for a 1958 album of the same name. It is another beautiful ballad in the style of which Michel Legrand is so well-known, this time featuring a smooth saxophone melody that is as lyrical and natural as a simple conversation.

    Torben Oxbol was the recording, mixing and mastering engineer for this disc. George Robert and Torben Oxbol were the producers for GPR Productions. The executive producer was Patrick Peikert for Claves Records. A 24- page booklet is included with photographs and liner notes in English and French. The sound quality is excellent. This is one of George Robert’s last recordings, and is a beautiful tribute to George and Michel Legrand and their music.

    Bruce McCollum



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