Highlights from those in the know!

By the Riverbank—the second Jazz Fauré volume

Jean-Michel Nectoux, biographer and editor of the works of Gabriel Fauré, Institut de recherche sur le patrimoine musical en France.
Reviewing both Jazz Fauré albums, he writes:
J'écoute vos disques avec grand intérêt ; je trouve les arrangements excellents, comme les divers instrumentistes : ils ont un grand sens musical ! Le plus étonnant est Sean Harris que j'aime beaucoup, belle voix, beaucoup de sensibilité chez ce géant et un français parfait ! J'aime les titres que vous chantez à l'unisson avec Sean ; l'idée de Au bord de l'eau en duo est très logique. ...Je ne suis pas choqué par les versions en anglais, c'est autre chose et plus naturel pour les chanteurs et le style de la musique. ...Dans le style jazz j'aime beaucoup la voix grave de KT McCammond.
I listened to your albums with great interest. The arrangements are excellent as are the various instrumentalists : they bring great musical sensibility. Sean Harris is amazing. I like him a lot; what a beautiful and sensitive voice from this giant; impeccable French. I love your duets in unison with Sean; the idea of Au bord de l'eau for two is very logical. ... I'm not at all shocked by the English versions; it's a different thing, more natural for the American singers and fits the style of music. For the jazz stylings, I like very much KT McCammond's deep voice.
Rose Marie Chisholm, Principal Lecturer, Vocal Studies, University of North Texas College of Music
What a great follow-up to the first CD! I teach French diction to jazz singers as well as performers and future teachers, and I have long told my students that Ici-bas would make a great jazz tune—now they can hear it for themselves as Here on earth. I loved the variety of the arrangements. Congratulations!
Nadine Deleury, principal cellist for Michigan Opera Theatre
As a French classically-trained musician, I was intrigued by the title of the first Jazz Fauré Project CD. I liked it so much I purchased a few more copies and gave one to a professional singer who specializes in French mélodies. Would he like this daring version of Fauré's songs? The next day he told me how much he had enjoyed his present! The new CD By the River Bank now in English is a nice companion to the first one, with the same energy and creativity in the rhythms and arrangements. Fauré's music is definitively there with a tasteful American twist. The whole CD, just like the first one (Au Bord de l'Eau) is highly enjoyable. You will find yourself listening to it over and over again and maybe wanting to discover the original version some time!

R. L. Eastline, writer
A well-conceived concept becomes even more successful. This original-cast album has all of the joie de vivre of its French-language predecessor plus that rewarding extra in its use of a more familiar listening format. Can't really ask for more.

The Jazz Fauré Project: au bord de l'eau

Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker, 10/20/2006
Claudia Hommel, a sweet-voiced chanteuse born in Paris, raised in Detroit and now residing in Chicago, has recorded an alluring CD in which she and vocalist Sean Harris reinterpret songs by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) accompanied by Chicago jazzers.
It's a rewarding concept, ...Pianist Dennis Luxion's arrangements honor the composer's proportioned melodies and impressionist harmony but also open the forms for improvisation.

Neil Tesser, Co-host, "Listen Here!", the public-radio jazz review www.listenhereradio.com

In this ambitious and fascinating project, Fauré's melodies now fit comfortably in a 21st-century cabaret or jazz club, as well as the recital hall for which they were first composed.
For a new audience, Fauré's somber evocation of the famous poem "Clair de lune" can take its place among the better-known compositions based on that astronomical phenomenon. Lilting, sprightly lines, like "Mai" and "Au bord de l'eau", blossom into music at once contemporary yet true to their source. "Spleen" (a.k.a. "Melancholy") becomes a bluesy torch song, just waiting for Diana Krall or Madeleine Peyroux.
And when you hear some more familiar tunes wending their way through the program—"Les feuilles mortes" (better known as "Autumn Leaves") or "La mer" (which Bobby Darin made famous as "Beyond the Sea")—rest assured that these standards belong here as well.
You won't find a better guide to the music of Fauré—to most anything French, for that matter—than Claudia Hommel, Chicago's homegrown chanteuse. But when you see that word, don't think Piaf or Dietrich. With a voice as clear as the bells of Notre Dame, Hommel is more the boulevardier: a stylistic inheritor to Maurice Chevalier, the quintessence of all things French, both happy and sad. As her voice twines with that of Sean Harris—Hommel's male counterpart, a throaty tenor whose full embrace of this material deserves special mention—they make the music sparkle, with insouciance and yes, with joie de vivre.

More Presenter and Audience Reviews are at the Audience page.