WBGO Radar

Cyrille Aimee: It's A Good Day

Singer Cyrille Aimee

Singer Cyrille Aimée’s new album is a joyful mix reflecting the multicultural influences of an artist who has lived and performed all over the world.

If you're having a bad day, listen to Cyrlle's irresistible joie de vivre, and before you know it, your frown will turn upside down.

Her previous recordings were self-produced with minimal distribution. But now, in the wake of her wins in the Montreux Jazz Festival's vocal competition and the first Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, she has a major-label release produced by Fabrice Dupont, who has also worked with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.

Aimée is a gypsy at heart, born to a Dominican mother and a French father. She lived in Cameroon, Singapore and in her mother's homeland, but was raised in France, spending many of her formative years in the town of Samois-sur-Seine, which was once home to guitarist Django Reinhardt, and is now home to an annual Gypsy jazz festival that bears his name.

She fell in love with the sound of the Gypsy guitar, and was "adopted" by the town's encamped Gypsy musicians, who keep Django's spirit alive. It's this spirit that permeates her musical choices on this album, along with generous infusions of jazz and Brazilian rhythms. She employs three guitarists on the CD, to represent each of these musical flavors well.

The album begins with a sunny version of "Where Or When," a Rodgers & Hart standard. The title track follows, and on listening, one gets the idea that this Peggy Lee/Dave Barbour song reflects Cyrille's outlook on life, and each successive tune reinforces that notion.

She also sings "Young At Heart," one of Sinatra's signature songs, Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall or the Duke Ellington classic "Caravan, the French pop song "Pourtant." She pays homage to the work of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday with "Love Me Or Leave Me," scats to Oscar Pettiford's jazz standard "Tricotism," and delights us with the engaging originals on the album. Cyrille weaves her own magical youthful optimism into each performance.

Cyrille is all about love, having fun, being fearless, independent and free. Exploring the world. Taking chances and being forever young at heart. In the end, it's all love. Even her name - Aimée - which means "loved" in French.

  - Rhonda Hamilton, host of WBGO's Midday Jazz

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