Flowers For Another Mood
A friend of mine who’s not a fan of jazz recently gave me a copy of a ‘promotional’ CD by a singer she’d met under unknown circumstances. ‘Let me know what you think.You’re the expert,’ she said.
Normally, I fear the worst of a request like this. Nonetheless the title of the CD, « A Tribute to Oscar Brown Jr. », intrigued me. My curiosity was especially aroused as the singer pictured on the cover was white and blonde.
Memories of past Oscar Brown, Jr. covers linger, « Afro Blue » »Freedom Now Suite », « We Insist » and « Strong Man » were all recorded by Abbey Lincoln. Mel Tormé and Rickie Lee Jones both produced their own versions of «Dat Dere ». Nina Simone, Ernie Andrews and Claude Nougaro interpreted « Work Song » as well as « Sing Sing »
Until now, however, no one has braved the challenge of an album comprised of twelve songs by Oscar Brown Jr., each of them worthy of serving as modern additions to ‘Les Poètes Négres des Etats Unis’ (JeanWagner, 1963).
A far cry from one of the songbirds hatched in the henhouse of the music business, Christine Flowers- the name itself is drenched in destiny- indisputably and immediately establishes herself as a jazz singer who hasn’t forgotten any of her lessons about the blues. First and foremost, however, she proves her talent as an actress who portrays each song as a story ; a film and an emotion.
There are no scat-like flourishes here- no sophisticated doctoring (which would be redundant, because in French ‘sophisticated’ refers to doctored wine). The lyrics are lovingly distilled and detailed when delivered in song, at times performed with militant force. Even when speaking of love or a child’s view of life, Oscar Brown Jr. relies on rhythm, rhyme and metaphor to speak his message.
This theatrical energy carried by her alto-flavored voice, places Christine Flowers and her repertoire alongside Sheila Jordan ; Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln, Billy Holiday and other legendary storytellers.
Set in the jewelry box of a precise, warm quartet, Christine Flowers makes us forget that tomorrow is Monday.
When will an astute producer dare to pick up this album ?
Christine Flowers (voc), Rick Margitza (ts), Jobic Le Masson (p, arr), Peter Giron (db, arr), Jeff Boudreaux (dr). Sunside Jazz Club Paris May 16th 2010.
- Philippe Carles, Jazz Magazine
A Friendly Moment
After a few delightfully upbeat and joyful tunes, a selection of graceful ballads and short blues themes transport us to mellow and velvety space. The group doesn’t wander into lyricism or belabored improvisations; their approach is refreshing and direct. There is no beating around the bush, leaving space for emotion and sensation….This resembles the personality of Christine Flowers herself. The vocal improvisations are clean and brief, full of emotion with lots of tenderness in the ballads while a touch of the feline reveals itself in Christine when she sings the blues. Flowers lives her music, fully. She inhabits the lyrics, her body accompanying her emotions and the song’s story. She sings in character; proclaiming, moaning, laughing, sighing, taking on a role for each song. A new artistic concept?
She plays with the audience, without overdoing it, a little like a cat discovering a new playmate, with seduction and restraint.
A joyeuse ambiance reigns. Christine Flowers’ voice teases and laughs with her audience and her musicians. We sense their real joy in playing together and the devotion of the musicians to their singer. It’s clearly mutual, as Christine leaves them open space for their expression as well.
- Citizen Jazz
Christine Flowers : Sorceress of the Blues
Christine Flowers is the blues singer we’ve been waiting for. We, meaning you, me and everyone who believes in love at first sight. In a series of concerts that remain all too confidential, this young American stands out. Her voice is limpid, playful with milky curves making her the most soulful of white singers….
- Marie-Claire Magazine
Christine Flower’s Casablanca-40’s Atmosphere
A voice of velvet… Her conversation is convincing, honed by experience : she won’t get fooled again. It’s about the singing and tenacity. Christine Flowers knows how to speak for herself. French showbiz had better watch out…
- Midi Libre
Christine Flowers at the Scat Club… Technique and Feeling
When citing jazz singers, headliner Dee Dee Bridgewater comes to mind. So to fans (as we all are) of Lady Dee Dee, we highly recommend swinging by the Scat Club. Because there on stage, in Aix-en-Provence, another great voice holds court. A voice trained by the tough school of opera, superbly poised and blessed with a large range. Christine Flowers, the blonde from America, sings with the mastery of an Ella, the pure tones of a Sarah. Her art, formed by listening to the best, would be nothing more than a well-recited lesson without her feeling. And feeling, Christine has got in every fiber of her body. And what’s more, taking a tip from Nougaro, one must say that : She is too beautiful… There should (not) be a law against her.
- La Provençal
Lovely To See And Hear
Christine Flowers grabs you, holds you and bewitches you thanks to her immaterial, saucy and unleashed voice… She lives the texts she sings and fuels the big party that jazz lives on.
Wonderfully seductive, Christine Flowers will set jazz lovers aflame…
Tonight and tomorrow. The Hot Brass will smoulder.
- Le Méridional
This Bluesinger (Has Got It)
Christine Flowers is American and sings soulful compositions and jazz-blues this weekend at the Sax-Aphone. With a strong and engaging voice.
Harking back to an era when Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Nat King Cole lead the musical parade and an American against a backdrop of 20th Century Fox, listening to Christine Flowers the emotion is genuine. She has a voice which touches you deeply, where it is rare for an artist to reach ; there where the strings of our sensitivity are most receptive.
If you don’t yet know Christine Flowers, you’re in for a shock, because this American has a voice many would sell their soul for ! Blues and jazz singer : her wide vocal range and stage presence are of phenomenal quality.
- Mid Libre
In the course of a well-chosen jazz repertoire, Christine Flowers transports us, thanks to her natural and elegant presence, to a universe that has a perfume of America, a universe that sounds to our ears like the very history of jazz.
Her warm voice and the grace of her gestures are backed by an accomplished trio. With an inimitable style, drummer John Betsch creates with his sticks and brushes, the galvanized presence of bassist Peter Giron and the sonic architecture upon which pianist Jobic Le Masson lays the line out, Christine can build her story with ease. By turns charmed and captivated, the audience is riveted to Christine’s lip’s and each number ends with a deluge of applause, as if it had been held back for a long time.
- Les 7 Lézards
… the kind of jazz singer we’d like to hear more often. This quartet fills you with emotion thanks to a powerful and warm voice.
- Autour de Midi
Graced with humor, wit and an easy contact with the audience, Christine Flowers also has a voice that turns everything from classic blues to rare musical pearls into a party ! Accompanied by the well-known and able musicians, you are guaranteed an evening of refinement with unnecessary airs.
Christine Flowers, « the most soulful of white singers… excels in R&B, jazz and standards… her voice rises like gossamer, rich,clear, perfectly balanced and free. » ( Marie-Claire). Inspired by greats such as Oscar Brown Jr. and Abbey Lincoln, she is currently accompanied by a dream trio : John Betsch on drums (who has played with Steve Lacy, Archie Shepp, Abbey Lincoln..), Peter Giron, on upright bass (Luther Allison, Kurt Elling) and Jobic Le Masson, ‘ an adventurer, a daredevil… (who) skillfully navigates the eventful terrain of improvisation on the piano.’ (Le Monde-Aden). In short, an exceptional musical evening.
Her name says it all ! Christine Flowers is in full bloom. Her natural and contagious sensuality creates the ideal frame for a bittersweet jazz laced with latin accents. Inspired by greats such as Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln or Lou Rawls and by the heavyweights that accompany her, Miss Flowers takes us on a voyage…
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