Quote from the liner notes: “Recorded on a cheap machine on the streets of New York…” As soon as they could, Messrs. pianist de Chassy and bassist Yvinec headed back to France to hear what they’d collected on their tape recorder from people who obliged with memories, nostalgia and, most importantly, a cappella recreations of songs from the World War-2 era.
As they had done a few years earlier, with memories from fellow Frenchmen that resulted in Songs Under the Bombs, the duo began overlaying and blending sounds of the city with their brilliant jazz statements. In addition to ten amateurs, they happened across Andy Bey, who contributed “It Could Happen to You” and “The Next Time I Love.” (He sounds more and more like Johnny Hartman.) One old-timer sang “As Time Goes By,” following it with verbatim dialogue from Casablanca.
That track is the longest, allowing de Chassy to showcase his classical technique and his penchant for bitonality. For the most part, the duo segues from singers to instrumental treatments, as in “Here’s That Rainy Day,” “When You’re Smiling,” “I Had the Craziest Dream;” a beautiful Gordon Jenkins tune, “Blue Evening,” and, of course, the title tune. Say hello to reality recording.