thu 23/03/2017

CD: Juliette Gréco – Gréco Chante Brel | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Juliette Gréco – Gréco Chante Brel

CD: Juliette Gréco – Gréco Chante Brel

La Doyenne of chanson makes Brel over with aplomb

'Gréco Chante Brel' has made these classics – and Gréco herself – totally fresh
Juliette Gréco's 'Gréco Chante Brel': nothing is framed in the familiar

The songs of Jacques Brel and Juliette Gréco are old friends. She has revisited them many times since she began performing with Brel’s former accompanist, the pianist Gérard Jouannest, in 1968. Brel and Jouannest had worked together since 1958. Gréco married Jouannest in 1989. Gréco Chante Brel features him on nine of its 12 tracks. As well as being integral to what it is to be Gallic, the album can be considered a family affair.

A new album of new interpretations is no surprise, but what is surprising is that it’s so compelling. Gréco is 86 and her voice is not what it was. But she has not retired from performing and is scheduled to play Paris’s L’Olympia next May. Based on Gréco Chante Brel, it would be a must.

The album was recorded over three days in July this year and is produced by pianist-composer Bruno Fontaine, who has also worked in soundtracks. Although “Amsterdam”, “Bruxelles”, “J'Aimais” and “Le Tango Funèbre” are familiar – over-familiar even – the orchestral arrangements are sensitive, sparse and unusual. Nothing is framed in the familiar. There are touches of Poulenc and Debussy. Gréco emotes and performs rather than sings. Gréco Chante Brel has made these classics – and Gréco herself – totally fresh. Recommended for fans and non-fans of chanson alike.  

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Overleaf: watch Juliette Gréco discussing the making of Gréco Chante Brel

Watch Juliette Gréco discussing the making of Gréco Chante Brel

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