March 2008

Anne Ducros
Urban Tribe
Dreyfus Records

Imagine hot diamonds wrapped in moiré silk and you’ll begin to understand the singular magnetism of French diva Anne Ducros. She can echo the thundering power of Aretha Franklin (if, that is, Franklin sang with a charming Marielle Mathieu lilt). She can smolder with Marlene Dietrich intensity. She’s a kitten with tiger claws. Her scatting suggests the majesty of Sarah Vaughan, yet also rivals the authority of Carmen McRae. She can transform “Stairway to the Stars” into five-and-a-half minutes of euphoric foreplay, reinvent Lennon and McCartney’s “Sexy Sadie” as sultry celebration of female empowerment, reveal the optimistic lining within the dark cloud of “Who Can I Turn To,” harness the hard-won fulfillment of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” and soar on the wings of an “Over the Rainbow” that seems equal parts Eartha Kitt and Annie Ross. Through it all, she remains a musician’s musician, woven so tightly with pianist Olivier Hutman, bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, drummer Bruce Cox and saxophonist Ada Rovatti that the results are seamless.

Originally published in March 2008
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