MUSIC CLIP - OSCAR PETERSON, "MOONGLOW"
Welcome to Afterglow, I’m your host, Mark Chilla.
This week, Francophiles the world over are celebrating Bastille Day, the French national day of celebration. So this week on Afterglow, I thought I’d get in the spirit by exploring the French side of the American Songbook. Jazz had a foothold in Gay Paris as early as World War I, so there’s a lot of crossover between American jazz and jazz dans la Mode française. This hour, we’ll explore those blurred lines: American songs in a French style, French songs in an American style, American jazz songs translated into French, and French jazz songs translated into English, performed by Dean Martin, Blossom Dearie, Madeleine Peyroux and more.
It’s the Songs In The French Style, coming up on Afterglow
MUSIC - Sarah Vaughan - April In Paris
Sarah Vaughan and trumpeter Clifford Brown with the jazz standard “April In Paris,” written by lyricist Yip Harburg and former Parisian resident Vernon Duke. That comes from Vaughan’s 1954 self-titled album for EmArcy Records.MUSIC CLIP
Mark Chilla here on Afterglow. On this show, in honor of Bastille Day, we’re exploring what you might call “The Great French Songbook,” songs that blur the lines between French and American popular song.
We’ll start with American singer Bing Crosby, one of the classic interpreters of popular song, and a cut off of his all French 1953 Decca LP Le Bing: Song Hits of Paris. This was actually the very first vinyl LP by Crosby. The album contains a selection of French songs by Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf, and others.
And here’s Bing Crosby with the French tune “Mon Coeur Est Un Violon,” “My Heart is a Violin,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - Bing Crosby, Mon Coeur Est Un Violon
MUSIC - Dean Martin, C'est Magnifique
MUSIC - Kay Starr, Allez-vous en
Two French songs by Cole Porter originally from his 1953 French-themed musical Can Can. We heard Kay Starr with “Allez-vous en” and before that Dean Martin with “C’est Magnifique,” from Martin’s 1962 Reprise LP French Style. Starting that set, Bing Crosby and “Mon Coeur Est Un Violon” from the 1953 LP Le Bing.
We’re looking at some French-flavored songs this hour. Let’s look now at some tunes from the Great American Songbook that were originally written in English, but then translated to French. We’ll begin with Blossom Dearie, an American jazz musician who spent a good portion of the 1950s living and working in Paris.
Here she is in 1956 doing a French version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein standard “It Might As Well Be Spring,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - Blossom Dearie, "It Might As Well Be Spring"
MUSIC - Nat King Cole, "Je Ne Repartirai Pas (L-O-V-E, French Version)"
“Je Ne Repartirai Pas” - “I Won’t Leave Again,” a French translation of the Bert Kaempfert and Milt Gabler tune “L-O-V-E,” performed by Nat King Cole. Cole recorded this song in a number of languages in 1965, including English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and even Japanese. Before that, Blossom Dearie in 1956 with her French translation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “It Might As Well Be Spring.”
We’ll turn now to two very influential mid-century French songwriters: Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. Both artists were Renaissance men, involved in music and film, and both had an influence, especially Gainsbourg, on popular song in the later half of the 20th century.
First, here’s Nina Simone in 1965 with Jacques Brel’s song “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” “Don’t Leave Me,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - Nina Simone, Ne Me Quitte Pas
MUSIC - Serge Gainsbourg, Du Jazz Dans Le Ravin
The always provocative Serge Gainsbourg, exhibiting his jazzier side in the late 1950s. That was the song “Du Jazz Dans Le Ravin,” “Jazz in the Ravine.” Before that, Nina Simone with Jacques Brel’s tune “Ne Me Quitte Pas.”
We’ll have more from the Great French Songbook after a short break.
I’m Mark Chilla, and you’re listening to AfterglowMUSIC CLIP
Welcome back to Afterglow, I’m Mark Chilla. We’ve been looking at the crossover between French and American jazz standards this hour.
This next tune is all French, although it has an unmistakable American jazz-pop style. It comes from noted French singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour, a wildly popular performer in his home country, often dubbed “the French Frank Sinatra.” And this next tune sounds like it could be part of a Frank Sinatra/Nelson Riddle album. In fact, Sammy Davis Jr. actually recorded this song, in English translation, in the 1960s.
Here is Charles Aznavour in 1964 with his original song “J’aime Paris au Mois de Mai,” on Afterglow
MUSIC - CHARLES AZNAVOUR, "J’aime Paris au Mois de Mai"
MUSIC - BLOSSOM DEARIE, "L'ETANG"
Two French jazz songs. Just now, we heard Blossom Dearie in 1961 with the Paul Misraki tune “L’Etang,” a song about sitting alone, dreaming by a quiet pond. Before that, the French Frank Sinatra Charles Aznavour in 1964 with his original song “J’aime Paris au Mois de Mai.” That song was translated into English as “Paris Is At Her Best In May.”
As we continue tiptoeing through the Great French Songbook, I want to turn my attention now to some more contemporary jazz artists.
We’ll start with Dee Dee Bridgewater, a Grammy and Tony Award winning jazz singer from Michigan who spent several years living and performing in Paris, where she starred in the one-woman musical titled Lady Day, all about the life of Billie Holiday. Here’s a song originally from her 2005 all-French album J’ai Deux Amours, and also featured on her 2011 compilation album available in the U.S. called Midnight Sun.
This is Dee Dee Bridgewater performing the Charles Trenet song “Que Reste-t-il” also known as “I Wish You Love,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - Dee Dee Bridgewater - Que Reste-t-il
MUSIC - Stacey Kent - Les Eaux de Mars
A French version of the Jobim song “Waters of March” performed by singer Stacey Kent, off of her all-French album “Raconte-moi” from 2010. Before that, the song “Que Reste-t-il,” known in English as “I Wish You Love,” performed by Dee Dee Bridgwater from her all-French album from 2005.
Let’s hear some more recent versions of French jazz songs. Here’s a track from singer Caterina Zapponi, an Italian singer with French heritage, off of her 2014 album Romantica. This is Zapponi performing an all-French version of the Count Basie standard “Lil Darlin,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - Caterina Zapponi - Count Basie (Lil Darlin')
MUSIC - Madeleine Peyroux - J'ai Deux Amours
Madeleine Peyroux, an American singer with French heritage and who lived in Paris as a child, performing the jazz standard “J’ai deux amours” on her 2004 album Careless Love. And starting that set, Caterina Zapponi and a French version of Count Basie’s “Lil Darlin” from 2014.
We’ll close off this French Songbook show with another track from Madeleine Peyroux. Here she is in 1996 with the classic Edith Piaf standard “La Vie En Rose,” on Afterglow.
MUSIC - Madeleine Peyroux - La Vie En Rose
From her 1996 album Dreamland, that was the incomparable Madeleine Peyroux and “La Vie En Rose”
Thanks for tuning in to this all-French edition of Afterglow.
Afterglow is part of the educational mission of Indiana University and produced by WFIU Public Radio in beautiful Bloomington, Indiana. The executive producer is John Bailey.
Playlists for this and other Afterglow programs are available on our website. That’s at indianapublicmedia.org/afterglow.
I’m Mark Chilla, and join me next week for our mix of Vocal Jazz and popular song from the Great American Songbook, here on Afterglow