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Raquel Bitton: Sings Edith Piaf: The Golden Album

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Morocco-bred, San Francisco-based cabaret singer Raquel Bitton’s fifth album features 16 songs drawn from the repertoire of the legendary French chanteuse, Edith Piaf. Backed by a 24-piece orchestra, Bitton performs a mixture of Piaf’s signature pieces (“La Vie en Rose,” “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”) and less familiar material, all sung in French with translations provided in the album notes. Despite the presence of pianist Larry Dunlap and trumpeter Allen Smith in the instrumental ensemble, the album contains little of interest for jazz audiences. Bitton captures Piaf’s spirit in her thoughtful, heartfelt presentation of these songs and, judging from the jacket photos, even physically resembles “the little sparrow.” No doubt this affinity for Piaf enlivens her well-received concerts devoted to the chanteuse’s life and art. However, it makes little sense for CD buyers to purchase Bitton’s replications when so many reissues of Piaf’s own recordings are available.