ANNE BISSON: BE MY LOVER
Fresh from the success of her single Killing Me Softly from her previous album Keys to My Heart, Anne Bisson, singer-songwriter and jazz pianist, has decided to perform and record more standards from the American jazz songbook, as well as new arrangements of classic songs that were so much a part of her teen-age years.
Be My Lover, Anne’s 7th Album is, therefore, a savory feast of original compositions and classic songs in her own bold new arrangements for acoustic trio. While still in the ‘Smooth Jazz’ genre, the presence of a Fender Rhodes, the legendary 70s keyboard, along with an electric bass, impart the album with quite a unique tone.
After over 18 months of musical experimentation and other creative endeavors, Anne once again brought together master drummer Paul Brochu (Gino Vanelli, Michel Legrand, UZEB) and proficient bassist Jean-Bertrand Carbou from France, for a series of informal sessions to explore the songs that were being considered for this 7th release.
These two musicians have been valuable collaborators for several years now. Paul has been featured on many of Anne’s albums, notably Blue Mind, which made a huge splash when it appeared, with over 35,000 hard copies sold, while Jean-Bertrand’s playing has also graced several of her albums.
Since 2009, the three have performed at several important venues, including Le Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, as well as other festivals in the United States and Mexico.
What holds them together is an evident complicity which is present from the very first notes. Their musical contributions are precise and deeply heart-felt. Their virtuoso playing greatly enhances these songs without turning them into mere technical exercises.
With precision playing, subtlety and attention to detail, as well as being recorded in impeccable High Definition, these songs will definitely please Anne’s audiophile fans, while also appealing to a wider audience.
CHOOSING THE SONGS
After only a few weeks’ rehearsal, the three had worked on 19 songs they felt were more than ready. Then, Anne picked the 12 she felt offered a perfect balance between original songs and covers for the album.
Pierre Lenoir, collaborator and friend for several years, has again furnished Anne with inspirational lyrics around which she has based the original songs.
Be My Lover is not a collection of ballads or songs we would typically call ‘jazz’. The music, the lyrics and the arrangements make it a bit difficult to place it in any one category. Anne easily shifts from the Progressive Pop-Rock of Emerson Lake and Palmer’s From the Beginning to the Celtic-tinged pop ala Loreena McKennit in her spectacular cover of The Four Horsemen by Vangelis, psychedelic rock icon and member of Demis Roussos’ Aphrodite’s Child.
Because she is no stranger to the great jazz classics, Anne is able to offer us a pared down version of Nature Boy, this time accompanied on the piano by her son, Samuel Jacques. The result is a touching and emotional performance from this mother and son duo.
Nor did she blink an eye when she decided to tackle such mega-hits as Bridge Over Troubled Water, Moondance and Blue Bayou, bringing her own interpretation with arrangements that are sometimes basic, sometimes audacious, but with results that always delight the listener.
This may be Anne’s greatest strength as a recording artist, to be able to present these songs with her unique and original arranging skills, rather than just recording them without adding anything new and exciting. Another one of her great talents is her fine melodic sense. Melody is at the heart of her musical creativity. With her formal training in classical music, she is able to give her backing vocals truly spectacular arrangements. This expertise gives each song its own power and uniqueness, all without losing what made the song so special in the first place.
By clearly placing her voice front and center in the mix she speaks to us, sharing her intimate feelings. And we can’t leave without mentioning the 6 wonderful Lenoir/Bisson compositions. For example, Are You Sure You Want Me? will stay with you with its catchy rhythm, while Be My Lover is sure to bring tears to your eyes.
Be My Lover, Anne Bisson’s 7th album will surely make waves and will be welcomed with open arms by her loyal fans in the United States, Japan, Germany, France and of course, Canada.