Review 'Sax Avec Elan' op

Mar 3

"Elan sings these songs with such a wonderful charm: an easy evidence why these chansons became classics."

Sax Avec Elan!’ is the name of the new CD by the French singer Philippe Elan, recorded with the Amstel Quartet. From the ’80′s he lives in Amsterdam and since then he recorded ten albums, gave many concerts and made theater tours. Today he’s accompanied by Reyer Zwart who also arranged some pieces on his new CD.

Philippe Elan has that typical French voice with slight throat trill. A warm, mellow tone that fits perfectly with this repertoire. French chanson, supplemented by work of Nick Drake, Piazzolla and two Dutch songs by Ramses Shaffy and Harry Bannink. Plus one instrumental piece by Rein van den Broek; the trumpeter of the legendary Ekseption. Philippe Elan is accompanied by the Amstel Quartet: Remco Jak – soprano sax, Olivier Slept – alto sax, Bass Apswoude – tenor sax and Ties Mellema – baritone. The result is amazing. These four musicians play extremely well. With flawless intonation they create a smooth and consistent accompaniment. The arrangements by Bob Zimmerman, Reyer Zwart en Silvia Maessen, touch the essence of the music. And although they are fairly closely follow the original, here and there there are some colorful chords and rhythms added which gives the music more nuance. The repertoire contrast somewhat stale. For the umpteenth time ‘Non, je ne regrette rien‘, ‘La mer’, ‘Non, je n’ai rien oublié’ or ‘La Vie en Rose’, whether or not compressed into a medley. But Phillippe Elan sings these songs with such a wonderful charm: an easy evidence why these chansons became classics. Particularly attractive is ‘Amsterdam‘ (J. Brel/arr. W. van Klaveren) in which he shows what a fine performer he is: a subtle, subdued start to a swinging end. Sublime!

Mattie Poels

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