French crooners, big band and the standards of the 50s and 60s are a platinum winning combination
French CD, “Forever Gentlemen”, is proof that romance isn’t dead; never has been and never will be. Featuring the great American romantic standard songs of the 50s and 60s made famous by the legendary American crooners, “Forever Gentlemen” recreates these musical moments with current smooth jazz French vocalists. Only released this last October, this CD is already Triple Platinum in France with sales soaring.
So, here’s the question: what is it about the American standards of the 50s and 60s? The smooth sounds of Bennett, Como, Nat King Cole, and the glamour of Sinatra and the Rat Pack being backed by the American Big Band sound? Is it because it was an era of incredible stars and irresistible harmonies? It seems no one, no matter their nationality, can resist this style of genuinely American music.
Although the bulk of “Forever Gentlemen” album was produced by Mathieu Sinclair, a very talented musician/singer/producer in Paris, there is also an American record producer who worked on this CD: RussTitelman. Working in the recording industry for years, involved in all genres, and a multiple Grammy award winning producer, Titelman provides some interesting insights in what it was like working on this special collaborative album.
MELISSA BERRY: This is such a French album with the interpretation of American music combined with that particularly glamorous American era of crooners and big bands. How did this project come to you?
RUSS TITELMAN: Mario Lefebvre and Roch Voisine (Mario is Roch's manager) asked me to work on the record. Rochs producer, Chad Carlson, suggested they call me. Basically, I was a hired gun and luckily was allowed to do the songs I worked on the way I heard them, specifically “Fly Me to the Moon” and "It's Impossible."
MB: So, did you work here or there? What about musicians? Seems like it could get complicated with American music being produced with French sensibilities.
RT: We cut the tracks in New York with New York musicians, most importantly having Bucky Pizzarelli on rhythm guitar. The real article. Like having Freddie Green. There is a very specific art to that chair that for the most part has disappeared. The way Bucky plays time and the sound he makes is from another era...the real Rat Pack era and a little earlier. All the guys had that kind of knowledge.
MB: And the vocals? From what I heard, and then saw in the various YouTubes, the singers are all really young (and handsome!) This kind of crooning is almost a lost art – not unlike the Big Band sound.
RT: We recorded the vocals in Paris. I worked with the singers so they all sang into the tracks with that old time swing but with a fresh and slightly more modern approach. These guys can really sing, so my job was a fairly easy one. I had to be sure to capture the feeling of fun, looseness and excitement that is on the original records and make it feel fresh. Each artist brought his own personality to each song but with the Rat Pack history in mind.
MB: Being an American, and familiar with this music in its original forms, how was the nostalgia factor for you? Do you think albums like this being created will always keep this era alive although with a slightly different interpretation?
RT: I do think this music will live on. I wanted my stuff to harken back to the way Basie approached the material. On "Fly Me To The Moon", I slowed the tempo down a bit so it swings like crazy.
Russ Titelman's "Fly Me to the Moon", which is the youtube in this review, is the epitome of just how cool an era is being recreated with this album. Just think all the famous crooners of the period and throw in a touch of James Bond and you've got it...shaken not stirred.
“Forever Gentlemen” gives a French kiss to the uniquely American music of this era. Its smooth sounds conjure up a mood and atmosphere of dim lights, close dancing and smooth skin creating timeless romance for all who listen. “Forever Gentlemen” may be French Triple Platinum, but it’s universal solid gold.
"Forever Gentlemen" can be found on French Amazon link: http://www.amazon.fr/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?__mk_fr_FR=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C...