The Rich Girls Are Weeping

05 January 2006

J'aime le jazz hot. Today's selection looks back a bit and comes from my mom's impressive music collection. When I was home for the holidays, I asked her if she had any interesting music I could post, and she immediately directed me to Les Double Six. The group, a vocalese jazz sextet highly influenced by the American vocalese trio Lambert, Hedricks, and Ross (...who deserve a post of their own at some point!), was active in France in the early 60's. These tracks are from a collection released in 1999 that showcases the group's recordings from 1959-1962. The group's core structure was always the same (two sopranos, an alto, a tenor, a baritone, and a bass accompanied by a rhythm section of piano, bass, and drums), though the personnel sometimes changed. The most interesting aspect of these songs is that the six voices were overdubbed, giving the impression of 12 voices (hence the group's name!), thus expanding the potential of the singers to reproduce the sound of the sax section of a big band orchestra.

Founding member Mimi Perrin arranged most of the the songs (the remainder were Quincy Jones' arrangements of his tunes for the Count Basie Orchestra) and translated them into French. Her arrangment technique was to assign each voice an instrument to emulate, and the effect is pretty darn stunning -- vocalese in en Francais is a lot speedier than its English-language counterpart.

Future members of the Swingle Singers (later famous for their bebop take on Bach), Ward Swingle and Christiane Legrand (she of the insanely high voice that you'll hear here), were part of Les Double Six as well.

Les Double Six -- Meet Benny Bailey (Au bout du fil)
Les Double Six -- Boplicity (La l├ęgende du troubadour)
Les Double Six -- Rat Race (La course au rat)

(Bonus: Mimi Perrin interviewed on NPR's Weekend Edition.)
(buy Les Double Six from Amazon.)

Also for your listening pleasure, WFMU has 61 versions of "Tico Tico" online. I can't tell you why I find this so wonderful, I just do. I especially love the Andrews Sisters' version.

BTW, the Nellie McKay tracks from the soundrack to Rumour Has It mentioned the other day can be found at Ze Paramour.

In other news, I'm in the process of deciding the bands that comprise "ones to watch in 06," and I believe that's what's coming next 'round these parts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and the Swingle Singers.
Les Double Six is now on that list.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 4:41:00 PM  

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