Umbrellas & Sunshine – The Music of Michel Legrand – Soundbrush SR1019, 52:31 [Distr. by Allegro] ****:
(Roger Davidson, piano; David Finck, doublebass)
France’s Michel Legrand has been creating extravagant music for many years now. His lush scores have won three Oscars and his songs have been done by many different vocal and instrumental artists. His mix of modern jazz, Hollywood scoring, Ravel and Debussy, and the Parisian musette style has contribute highly to our musical culture. One some albums, such as his superb l958 Legrand Jazz, he arranged a nearly 100% modern jazz experience.
This collection of 13 Legrand tunes are given a more jazz treatment than usual by French American pianist Roger Davidson. On most of the tracks he is accompanied by bassist David Finck, best known for his classical chamber music work. He also came up with the idea for the album. Sometimes Davidson just sticks to the lovely melodies that Legrand is able to spin out, such as on “Once Upon a Summertime.” Other times, such as on the jazz standard “What What Happens,” a more developed jazz treatment is given the tune. The tempi are generally upbeat. The sounds of the piano and doublebass are beautifully balanced. This is a fine album either for background listening or deeper discovery.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, La Valse des Lilas, Les Enfants qui Pleurent, The Summer Knows, What What Happens, His Eyes Her Eyes, The Easy Way / What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?, The First Time, You Must Believe in Spring, Look, Je Vivrai sans toi, How do You Keep the Music Playing?, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (piano solo)
— John Henry