Jean Brassard: Dix (Ten)

| August 10, 2017

Jean Brassard

Dix (Ten)

(Small World Network)

July 30, 2017

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Jean Brassard came to prominence in the cabaret world (having already been involved in television, recorded books, ballet, and as a commentator for The World Wrestling Federation in French) winning a Bistro Award for his tribute to Yves Montand. Now, he offers up a collection of his own songs—lyrics and music. The Canadian-born vocalist moves easily back and forth between English and French as both lyricist and singer. On the album, the songs alternate so there are five in English, five in French (none mix the two languages together).

Brassard’s vocal style is clearly influenced by idol Montand: a comfortable musical conversational tone. He certainly can sing, but the emphasis is as much on the words. The lyrics are all devoted to the topic of love: “All manners of love: the one we want and look for, the one we refuse or is refused to us.”

His view tends to be combative: “Casting a fog over your eyes to blind you and throw you in the dark.” “I won’t be made a fool for my affection.” And perhaps the most original of all, which verges on camp while remaining sincere: “I’m down in the gutter of love” which resolves into “Dive into the glory of love.”

Mention should be made of Richard Maheux, variously credited as arranger, mixer, master, and player of six different instruments. The arrangements utilizing accordions, guitars, harmonicas (played by Brassard), and various winds, are charming and varied enough to keep this shortish (under 40 minutes) collection always interesting and appealing.

The packaging is equaling classy and attractive, but contains one major flaw: The booklet includes the lyrics to all the songs; unfortunately, only in the language in which they are performed so that there is no translation of the French numbers that make up half the recording, leaving them a bit of a mystery for most American listeners. This issue aside, this is a pleasant, witty album from a songwriter and singer we will hopefully hear again.

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Category: Music, Music Reviews, New York City, New York City Music Reviews, Regional

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