This disc is clearly a labour of love by the Artistic director of the Orchestre National de Jazz, Daniel Yvinec, who has captured Robert Wyatt's genius and placed it in a new setting. Guest vocalists Rokia Traore, Yael Naim, Camille and Wyatt himself each bring a distinct vocal phrasing to the songs but ti is the synergy between these singers and the instrumental soloists that bring each track to life. Highlights include "Just as you are" and the superb "Del Mondo" with Irene Jacob providing distorted words counterpointing Mathieu Metzger's solo. It is rare to find originality in a set of covers but this is a very different kind of disc, beautiful and intriguing and exposing the true richness of Wyatt's extraordinary muse.
Hardcore Wyatt nuts would worry that in emphasising the beauty of Wyatt's harmonies by employing a big band one might risk losing some of the strange, fragile beauty of Robert Wyatt's original recordings.
Well, in my opinion, they don't need to worry. The lush beauty of the orchestration here only serves to accentuate a deeper strangeness, lurking beneath Wyatt's singing. It is the harmonies-- yes, the harmonies--that are so mysterious, disturbing, melancholy, beautiful.
This is a wonderful record that everyone should flock to buy. I loved it. I grew obsessed by it. It filled my head when I was awake and provided the soundtrack to my dreams.
This really is fine music. The jazz orchestrations are just beautiful;some of the nicest voicings I've heard since Gill Evans's great work and more recently,Dennys Baptiste on his wonderful Let Freedom Ring. The vocal contributions by Camille,Rokia Traore and Yael Naim are particualarly good and as mentioned elsewhere,the Robert Wyatt sung Rangers In The Night really works. I love this disc-it's somehow perfectly tempered and is really a labor of love by it's artistic director Daniel Yvinek and arranger Vincent Artaud.
This is a really nice disc, in the true meaning of nice. It is a quality measured performance, and one of real distinction. The settings of the songs at first listening are unsettlingly odd, but that opens up new vistas into them. The playing is first rate. The choice of material good. Robert sings. Its French. And I really like it, but probably will never love it. Perhaps because it is too nice and just lacks that raw edge that in particular Robert brings to everything he does, that really goes to your heart, just think of Robert singing Buddy Holly compared to this to get what I mean.
I would have liked to say 'He did it again'. But he didn't. That is: not on his own. I had never heard of this 'Orchestre' but they do all possible credit to Wyatt and his songs. And the maestro himself was not completely left out. Superbe are the renditions by a host of international vocalists, but Wyatt beats them all.