Myriam Phiro | Voyages

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Jazz: Swing/Big Band Jazz: Latin Jazz Moods: Type: Vocal
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by Myriam Phiro

Jazz & pop standards on the theme of travels, topped up with a french twist!
Genre: Jazz: Swing/Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. I Love Paris
2:44 $1.49
2. Beyond the Sea / La Mer
5:39 $1.49
3. Nature Boy (feat. Dominique Gagné)
4:37 $1.49
4. It Had to Be You
3:42 $1.49
5. Caravan (feat. Robbie Klein)
4:22 $1.49
6. Skylark
5:18 $1.49
7. Besame Mucho (feat. Adrien Chevalier)
4:50 $1.49
8. I Don't Want to Set the World On Fire (feat. Robbie Klein)
4:46 $1.49
9. Autumn in New York
4:43 $1.49
10. On a Slow Boat to China (feat. Dominique Gagné)
4:11 $1.49
11. Tico Tico (feat. Adrien Chevalier)
3:53 $1.49
12. Moonglow
4:36 $1.49
13. Volare (feat. Adrien Chevalier)
4:06 $1.49
14. In My Life (feat. John Di Martino)
3:15 $1.49
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Myriam Phiro is a SINGER, no question and Myriam Phiro is unique, a class act. With a childhood classical piano background in her native Quebec City, and dance and musical-theatre training later, this lovely French-Canadian with the silky-clear voice and brilliant smile has developed into one of the most interesting and exotic young performers around, with New York City appearances at The Four Seasons, The Metropolitan Room, The Rainbow Room, The Cutting Room, Whynot Jazzroom, Backroom Speakeasy, The Harvard Club, in Montreal at The House of Jazz and The Montreal International Jazz Festival and abroad at Harry's New York Bar at The Montreux Palace Hotel in Montreux, Switzerland, and elsewhere. Her repertoire combines highlights of The Great American Songbook with songs from the French Songbook -- music by Edith Piaf, Charles Trenet, Charles Aznavour, and other Gallic greats -- and other cosmopolitan numbers. The colorful selection on this, her second (and first full-length) CD puts her together with top New York-based musicians, reflects her influences and interests, and celebrates aspects of "the voyage."
The American standards include "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire," a 1941 hit for The Ink Spots, the black vocal quartet that embodied a precise and elegant style adopted by The Mills Brothers and other more formal black groups. Here she is backed by the trombone and whistling of Robbie Klein to create a jaunty ensemble sound. Klein also plays trombone on "Caravan," co-written in 1936 by Duke Ellington, his valve-trombonist Juan Tizol, and Ellington's manager-publisher Irving Mills, and a familiar and exotic melody ever since for both singers and instrumentalists.
There are a pair of 1934 classics -- Vernon Duke's "Autumn in New York" (something of a follow-up to his 1932 composition "April in Paris") and "Moonglow," co-written by Eddie DeLange, arranger-bandleader Will Hudson, and Irving Mills and then re-written by George Duning and musician and talk-show host Steve Allen into "Theme from Picnic"for the 1955 movie with Kim Novak and William Holden. "Autumn in New York" is a ballad tour de force, John di Martino's sensitive chording setting off the poignant lyrics, while "Moonglow" features bluesy, melodic solos by di Martino and guitarist Vinny Raniolo. "this tune reminds me of the beautiful region in Canada where I grew up," Myriam explains."I would spend hours sitting at the end of the dock, looking at the moon, dreaming. It's also where I first got in touch with singing harmonies in a vocal group, as well as singing jazz."
Frank Loesser's 1948 composition. "Slow Boat to China," has been a feature for Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minnelli, a Rosemary Clooney-Bing Crosby duet, even more recently Jimmy Buffett. It appeals to her as "one of the many places I'd like to go visit soon. The verse is what actually sold me on this one, and Dominique also adds a lot to it with the flute." Hoagy Carmichael's dreamy 1941 tune "Skylark," with Johnny Mercer's lyrics, has been a success for Bing Crosby, Carmen McRae, and other singers, and intrigues Myriam because "I like the idea of a bird bringing forth love after flying over the world. It's very poetic." As for "Nature Boy," written by a New Yorker who took the pseudonym "eden ahbez" and spelled it all in lower-case, this odd song first became known in 1947 as a hit for Nat "King" Cole after the composer passed the sheet-music to Cole's manager backstage at a concert in Los Angeles. Before Cole could record it he had to find ahbez, an early beatnik type who lived outdoors with no permanent address and was finally located camping out under L.A.s famous "Hollywood" sign. Usually heard as a moody ballad (Myriam calls it "the emblem of bohemianism"), here it is transformed into a swinging medium-tempo Latin arrangement with outstanding work by Raniolo and Dominique Gagné heard again on flute.
The 1924 standard "It Had to Be You," written by bandleader Isham Jones, is one of Myriam's favorites, at a slower tempo here than when she performs it in person. By 1936, when Jones broke up the big band that included the very young clarinetist Woody Herman, he had also contributed "Swingin' Down the Lane," "On the Alamo," and "There is No Greater Love" to The Great American Songbook. "I like it so much because of the thought of going to the end of the world to find that love is right here," Myriam says.
Of the more international tunes here, "Tico Tico," written by Brazilian composers Abreu and Oliveira in 1942, was a hit for The Andrews Sisters in 1943 with English novelty lyrics by the late Ervin Drake, later best-known for "It Was a Very Good Year." Myriam points out that "It's very important to me to honor my roots and early influences. In 1944 this song was making Alys Robi the first French-Canadian female performer to have an international career. Her destiny was tragic but her work remains very well-known, partly thanks to this song. I recently discovered this wonderful fast tune through Vinny Raniolo and Frank Vignola. What a fun piece !"
"Volare," written by vocalist Domenico Modugno, was Italy's entry in the 1958 Eurovision Song Contest. Modugno's recording became Billboard Magazine's number-one single of that year, later a favorite of singers as stylistically and ethnically different as Frank Sinatra, Barry White, and David Bowie. A surprise in this lively uptempo version is a solo by French guest violinist Adrien Chevalier of New York City's Avalon Jazz Band.
French singer-songwriter Charles Trenet always claimed that he wrote "La Mer" on lavatory paper during a train trip in 1943 and, when American lyricist Jack Lawrence came up with an English version three years later, the song began its own voyage to international renown, with Bobby Darin's 1960 hit "Beyond the Sea" still the most noteworthy of a reported 4000 recordings and more recent vocals by Patricia Kaas and Kim Nalley. Here Myriam does a bi-lingual medium-bounce interpretation with fine solos by Raniolo on guitar, the Australian Nicki Parrott on acoustic bass, and backing vocals as well as di Martino on piano, backed by Rob Garcia's punchy drumming. "This song reminds me of Ireland, when I was about 19, I would sit and watch the sea 'dance' in the bay of Galway while pondering about love and life. I couldn't do a travel-themed album and not feature it."
Written as a bolero by Mexican concert pianist and songwriter Consuelo Velazquez in 1940, "Besame Mucho" is thought to be the most-performed Mexican and Latin-American song of all time, reportedly written at a time when the composer had herself never yet been kissed. "Traveling through Spain and Latin America taught me to love as if there was no tomorrow. This is a bit of a sad song if you take it literally but not if you apply this 'live and love each moment' principle. I also knew that Nicki would do great backup vocals on this one and that Adrien's savoir-faire would transmit the tone of the song well."
Cole Porter's 1953 show "Can-Can" ran for some two years and introduced not only "I Love Paris" but other French-themed tunes such as "C'est Magnifique" and "Allez-vous-en". Here the group brings the streets of Montmartre to life with evocative guest solos by the Californian Benjamin Ickies on accordion and Adrien Chevalier on violin. Myriam says that "the verse is not well-known but it also tags into my musical-theatre years as this was an important part of my journey as well."
Younger audiences feel that no performance is complete without something by The Beatles, and here it is a vocal-with-piano duet of the touching ballad "In My Life" from the group's 1965 "Rubber Soul" LP and written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, although the two later disagreed about how much each had written. Myriam says that "although this is not a traditional jazz tune, it expresses beautifully how I feel about all my travels. It is also very dear to me because my dad was a huge fan of The Beatles, making me one, too. Because of the powerful message of the song I wanted the music to be very simple and sweet and John di Martino plays it perfectly."
With her innate musicality, excellent taste, dedication to the proper interpretation of lyrics, and natural sense of swing, Myriam Phiro has created an elegant, affecting diverse and entertaining collection certain to attract attention in all the proper jazz and entertainment circles. Although still a very young performer, she has already experienced many personal voyages, and it's evident that this classy young woman's career voyage is on a strong upward swing. She will heard from again -- and soon.

--Tony Outhwaite
May 2015
New York city



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