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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Strings On Fire - Michel Legrand

Tabu (CL 1725)
Strings On Fire
Michel Legrand And His Orchestra
Cover Photo: Columbia Records Photo Studio - Henry Parker
Columbia Records CL 1725 & CS 8525)

From the back cover: In his native France, Michel Legrand is known as "Le Roi des Arrangeurs" and in the United States as the "Magician of the French New Sound." Legrand's extraordinary talent for creating ingratiating orchestral settings is abundantly evident in his new album, Strings On Fire. The lushness of Ravel, the incisive vigor of Stravinshy (whom Legrand considers the greatest composer of our time) and all the best devices found in modern popular music come together in Legrand's arrangements and combine to form a musical substance wholly new and altogether fascinating.

These mingled influences have their roots in Michel's early musical training. At the age of six, he was a pianist of no mean accomplishment and five years later he entered the hallowed halls of the Paris Conservatory to immerse himself in formal studies of harmony, counterpoint and piano. When he was sixteen, Legrand pere (Raymond Legrand, the well-known conductor) used Legrand fils' services as an arranger and pianist. Word soon got around that "the other Legrand" was a very good musician, too.

By the time Michel emerged from his Conservatory studies – aged twenty – he has won first prizes in piano and harmony. Putting his formal training to work and harnessing a goodly amount of his Gallic energy and imagination, Legrand gathered about thirty musicians together and led them in his stunning arrangement of Paris Canaille for the chanteuse formidable, Catherine Sauvage. The recording was an instantaneous hit. The upshot; Columbia approached Legrand to record a collection of instrumental songs about, of all things, Paris. I Love Paris soon became one of the year's most sought-out albums. And Legrand found himself in heavy demand as an arranger for many popular artists, Jacqueline Francois and Juliette Greco among them.

El Choclo
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
What Is This Thing Called Love
Everything I Have Is Yours
Close You Eyes
Come Back To Sorrento
All Or Nothing At All

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