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Camille Bertault: En Vie

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Even if you don’t understand a word of French, the enormity of Camille Bertault’s gift is immediately, intoxicatingly evident. The Parisian singer-songwriter, still in her early 20s, began studying classical piano with her father at age 4, but quickly developed a keen ear for jazz and its giants. By the end of her teen years she’d switched to singing and begun transcribing famous jazz solos for voice, posting videos of her skillfully wrought experimentation on social media and garnering global attention, including the interest of producer Matt Pierson.

The idea for En Vie-a mix of Bertault originals and celebrated jazz standards refitted with her lyrics-was born, but the project truly took shape when mutual pal Sara Lazarus introduced Bertault to pianist Olivier Hutman; bassist Gildas Boclé and drummer Antoine Paganotti complete the quartet. While the crystalline purity of Bertault’s voice reveals her youthfulness, her creative potency suggests tremendous maturity: Think the sass and verve of Cyrille Aimée married to the instinctual smarts of Sheila Jordan.

The 10-track playlist includes four remarkable interpretations: Herbie Hancock’s “Empty Pockets” becomes the zestful “Quoi de Plus Anodin”; Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” floats across a restless dreamscape; Jimmy Rowles’ “The Peacocks” is transformed into the darkly mysterious “Cette Nuit”; and Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” softly unfolds as simply “Prélude,” trembling with anticipation. Six originals are fully as artful, most notably the storm-clouded “A La Mer Tume” and her closing “Satiesque,” a swirling homage to Erik Satie.

Originally Published