Surprise! Christine Tassan, the queen bee of Imposteures, had an ace up her sleeve, a secret weapon, a sweet sin: an electric guitar!
After 20 years on the roads of Quebec with its gypsy jazz, the all-female acoustic quartet, of which the Parisian is the founder, leader, and principal soloist, had simply passed the 600-concert mark. Enough to take a little break, and seek a change of scenery. And to follow up on the excellent Entre Félix et Django, Opus Prize winner for the best album of the year in 2018, the lady takes the contraption out of its case like a jewel in its box. A Gibson, an Ibanez? No, it’s the work of a nameless Chinese luthier. But how nice it sounds!
So Tassan changed everything. Her touch, her attack, her phrasing, even her vocabulary. There is little left of her gypsy jazz style except in a piece like “Not Just a Blues Away”, but one nevertheless recognises her good taste, melodic language full of fantasy, and tenderness too. Fiercely independent (this is her seventh studio album, self-produced and distributed with the means at hand), she has set a new course, pursuing an instrumental, mainstream jazz for a very classy quintet (with piano), in which Aurélien Tomasi distinguishes himself by alternating from sax to clarinet with equal aplomb.
On the (highly varied!) menu: American-style swing, a bolero, a classical bossa, a ballad, a slow waltz, some gypsy funk, long intros full of sweetness in duet, and a piece, “À bâtons rompus”, in the French-touch style showing that the soloist hasn’t forgotten where she comes from.
An entirely instrumental album that’s very agreeable to listen to, without the slightest effort. The noble risk.