Various Artists




A bottle of French bubbles is dirt cheap compared with an airfare to Paris, so buy two, plus the best baguette and camembert you can find, and then play this. Voila! Paris! Despite spanning many decades and variants of Parisian music, this album never breaks its own spell. The great Charles Trenet eulogises about Douce France in a voice like satin, and Lucienne Delyle drizzles her dulcet come-to-bed timbre over C’est Magnifique. Francis Lemarque’s warm, grainy singing brings to life his own Un Gamin de Paris, and Raphael Bas offers an instrumental waltz in the manouche style, his keening harmonica sharing the lighter-than-air soloing with clarinet and his own guitar.

Singer/accordionist Norbert Slama sustains the waltz feel on Sous Les Ponts de Paris, and of course La Mer is here, played by Gypsy Jazz Caravan. Duo Gadjo, featuring the sweet-voiced Isabelle Fontaine, floats across La Complainte de la Butte, and a highlight is accordionist Odile Lavault leading Baguette Quartette on the rippling melody of Flambee Montalbanaise. Finally Francesca Blanchard and Giorgis offer modern twists, without imperilling that spell. The only frustrations are the album’s brevity, and that recording dates aren’t provided.