Album of the Week: Janet Evra, ‘Meet Me in Paris’

Janet Evra pays tribute to the French canon and Paris’ distinct allure on her new album as a leader, Meet Me in Paris.

Janet Evra is a jazz vocalist, bassist and bandleader of international stature, originally hailing from England and currently based in St. Louis, Missouri. In recent years, she has wowed audiences at prestigious festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Her impressive collaborations include working with esteemed musicians such as Randy Brecker, Taylor Eigsti and Jeff Coffin, among many others. Evra’s musical journey as a bandleader has yielded her four albums to date, and her latest creation, Meet Me in Paris, is set for release on October 20 through Plum Jazz Records.

With Meet Me in Paris, Evra joins the famed ranks of celebrated interpreters like Stacey Kent and Melody Gardot in paying homage to and sharing her profound affection for the tradition of French chansons and their influence on the evolution of jazz music. This album also serves as a sensory and immersive experience, celebrating the distinct charm, culture and joie de vivre of the French capital city. The album’s atmospheric allure was meticulously crafted by Evra through collaboration with a talented ensemble featuring  Ryan Marquez on piano and Fender Rhodes, Matt McKeever on saxophone and flute, Will Buchanan on guitars, and Tomi Kämäräinen on drums.

Meet Me in Paris offers invigorating reinterpretations of nine beloved classics. These arrangements strike a balance between accessibility and concealed intricacies, revealing Evra’s unique artistic imprint. From an Afro-Cuban mixed-meter rendition of “C’est Si Bon” to a passionate interpretation of Edith Piaf’s signature song, “La Vie en Rose,” the album breathes new life into these cherished classics. Beyond these covers, Meet Me in Paris also includes two original compositions, “Mia Mia” and “Paris,” both showcasing Evra’s compositional prowess while seamlessly fitting into the album’s passionate and cohesive ambience.

Janet Evra’s new album, Meet Me in Paris, will be released on October 20 via Plum Jazz Records. Order it here.

Featured photo courtesy of the artist.

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