J'ai Deux Amours
To be released on 8th August on the MGP Records label, Gabrielle Ducomble's jazz debut album J'ai Deux Amours is currently already available as advance copies from the label. I say jazz debut advisedly, as Belgian-born Ms. Ducomble has already recorded pop for major labels after being a finalist in the French Pop Idol in 2003 - the album resulting from this having gone double gold. However, not long after this, Ms. Ducomble 'discovered' jazz and switched, including post-graduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
We certainly ought to be very glad indeed for this gain to the jazz world. Gabrielle Ducomble sings with rare grace and elegance, whether in her native French or English, and her voice seems to just float in mid-air with the kind of ease and effortlessness that was rare even among the greats of the past.
Moreover, Ms. Ducomble more than ably tackles an unusually eclectic range of material on J'ai Deux Amours. From the standards of the Great American Songbook via Tango Nuevo (Piazzolla's Libertango) and Brazilian (Bonfa's classic Manha de Carnaval) to French chansons and Jacques Brel to modern French song (Gainsbourg), Ms. Ducomble handles it all with supreme and equal panache, her own elegance matched by equally elegant, subtle arrangements (mostly her own).
The ensemble, led by pianist Alex Hutton and guitarist Nicolas Meier, variously also includes Chris Garrick on violin, Nick Kacal on bass, John Bailey on piano, Saleem Raman and Eric Ford on drums, and Andy Davies and Nathan Mansfield on trumpet and flugel. Their accompaniment is near perfection itself, with some excellent soloing.
J'ai Deux Amours presents its material superbly well balanced. It is, quite simply, a very beautiful album that one can't help instantly falling in love with, and the same goes for Ms. Ducomble's exquisite voice. Favourite track? Every last one!
This is a completely consistent album, coherent and cohesive, and more than compelling J'ai Deux Amours is one of those albums that is utterly addictive. It is a very mature effort and certainly does not strike as a debut. Indeed, if J'ai Deux Amours is a debut album, one can only marvel what Ms. Ducomble has yet in store for us! Just oozing sophistication, elegance and grace, beauty and charm, as well as full of drama and fascinating story telling, this album just about has it all. J'ai Deux Amours is, to put it simply, an album to die for!
Gabrielle Ducomble is a most happy, welcome and graceful addition to the British jazz scene, and she should go very far indeed.
To say that Gabrielle Ducomble's J'ai Deux Amours is essential in any jazz collection, or any collection of standards, chanson, or whatever, surely would be an understatement. Get it!
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