Jazz review: Orchestre National de Jazz
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DE JAZZ *** THE HUB, EDINBURGH
THE Orchestre National de Jazz made their Edinburgh debut with a ten-piece band and two vocalists in Broadway In Satin – Billie Holiday Revisited.
On one level, the Holiday connection was a bit of a red herring, and anyone expecting anything sounding much like the great American singer was likely to be disappointed.
At the same time, the songs were all closely associated with Holiday, who was largely an interpreter of other people's material herself.
Musical Director Daniel Yvinec and his musicians radically re-imagined the songs and their musical settings, using the Holiday connection largely as a stepping off point into a very varied series of reworkings.
Neither Ian Siegal's Tom Waits-like growl or Karen Lano's more lightweight chanteuse style evoked Holiday, nor were the vocalists notably at the centre of the action.
Instead, they functioned as strands in the intricate musical textures rather than a conventional singer-with-accompaniment set-up.
The extended arrangements often metamorphosed through various stylistic stages even within one song, and rang the changes item-by-item.
Skylark opened with a drum solo and You've Changed with prepared piano, I'm a Fool To Want You slid into God Bless The Child within a single trippy hip-hop arrangement, and Strange Fruit opened with Cotton Club-era Ellington and quickly flipped into post bop/free jazz mode.
After all that, the relatively romantic setting of Don't Explain suddenly sounded odd rather than conventional. It didn't all work equally well, but it was never less than intriguing.
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