What happens when French Impressionism meets American jazz?

{To see the transformation of the painting -- from Renoir 1881 to "Renoir" 2006.}

The inspiration to create a jazz repertoire of Gabriel Fauré’s 19th century songs began with Claudia’s recording of Lydia for her “Romance Language” album. The song received special mention in reviews and from fans who voted it their favorite. Could more Fauré songs enjoy a similar treatment?

Claudia invited New York singer Daniel Neer and jazz pianist/arranger Dennis Luxion to collaborate on arrangements in early 2005. After a first round of performances in Chicago and New York later that summer and fall, Daniel and Dennis went on to pursue other projects and Claudia turned to singer Sean Harris and pianist/arranger Bobby Schiff to continue growing the project. Dennis joined in the 2006 recording as well.

The premise: To honor Fauré’s vocal line with velvety warmth and snappy joie de vivre while giving his very original harmonic progressions a jazz structure and rhythmic base. The result brings Fauré comfortably into the milieu of the jazz and cabaret club where his mini-masterpieces including Lydia, Aprés un rêve, Les berceaux and Mandoline enjoy a rendezvous with bossa nova, blues, swing and Latin rhythms.

Understated, elegant, rich and welcoming, The Jazz Fauré Project won the approval of jazz, cabaret and classical lovers alike.

In 2008, the Jazz Fauré Project inspired an academic conference on "Jazz Encounters: Musical Spaces In-Between the Visual and the Aural". The French and English posters announced an array of speakers who played with the theme, each in their own way.

The following year, inspired by audience demand for more, Claudia added "Theatre" to the Project's rubric with the creation of a musical theatre version. The premiere staged reading of "Summer on the Seine" took place on August 2, 2010, with the play by Amanda Hartley and English adaptation of the French lyrics by Arnold Johnston.