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CD Review: Fleur Seule – Standards And Sweet Things
(Review by Ann Alex)
Yes I thought after hearing the first 2 tracks, yet another sweetish-voiced woman singer, clear diction, competent musicians, good but not unusual, then I sat up for track 3, I Only Have Eyes For You, done as a very slow ballad with the piano commenting after each line, a bass solo, and sung in a manner I can only describe as ‘lovingly’. The slowness of this version would have daunted many singers and made listeners yawn, but Ms Briggs carries it off well.
This is the fifth studio album from the band Fleur Seule and they are every inch an experienced outfit. They are described as Manhattan’s very own 1940’s jazz band and the CD includes swing, French songs from WW2 and the sounds of Puerto Rico. Ms Briggs looks the part as she is a blonde who resembles Marilyn Monroe. A CD with a cheerful feel, suitable for your next nostalgic party.
They play regularly at Birdland, and have a 5 year residency as the house band at The Tavern on the Green. Ms Briggs sings in 7 languages and speaks 4 so she is able to cover many genres to reach the varied New York audiences.
This is a very enjoyable CD and some tracks deserve a special mention, such as the lively Them There Eyes with a skilled trumpet solo; Tenderly, which is very, yes, tender, slow with brushed drums and a romantic bowed bass; Shoo-Fly Pie And Apple Pan Dowdy is a very amusing song about food, quote ‘shoo-fly pie and apple pan dowdy, makes your eyes light up and your stomach say howdy’.
Then we have the variety of a fast Latin number, Piel Canela; a jaunty French fun song Zou Zou Bisou and the more serious La Vie En Rose. Other tracks are: Taking A Chance On Love; Sabor A Mi; Manuelo; Misty; Con Los Anos Que Me Quedan; Almost Like Being In Love; Sweet Happy Life; Embraceable You; and ‘S Wonderful.
The album was self-released on October 9. See www.fleurseule.com
Allyson Briggs (vocals, bandleader); Andy Warren (trumpet, arranger, musical director); Jason Yeager (piano); Michael O’Brien (bass); Paul Francis (drums); Richard Miller (guitar); Ivan Llanes (percussion); Martina DeSilva, Vanessa Perea, Marg Davis (background vocals)