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8844Re: [RedHotJazz] Josephine Baker

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  • Howard Rye
    Sep 25 11:18 AM
      I would go further and say that while I think Jo Baker¹s earlier work is
      underrated in jazz terms, and her dancing in terms of jazz dance also, on a
      wider canvas of judging vernacular musics on their own terms, Edith Piaf is
      an incomparably superior and more important artist. One can speak of Bessie
      Smith or Billie Holiday is the same breath as Piaf, but not La Baker!

      on 25/09/2011 18:32, louis at louis.iosub@... wrote:

      > I could not have put it any better.
      > I absolutely second what Patrice wrote here.
      > Louis
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Patrice Champarou
      > To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com>
      > Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 7:28 PM
      > Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Josephine Baker
      > -----Message d'origine-----
      > From: Peter L Reid
      > Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 2:12 PM
      > To: Red Hot Jazz
      > Subject: [RedHotJazz] Josephine Baker
      >> > Not a bad CD, and for French music and vocals I prefer her to Edith Piaff.
      > Maybe I failed to suspect that this line requested some kind of, er...
      > reaction :-)
      > Not trying to argue about whatever is a matter of taste, I strongly reject
      > the basis of the comparison. The only link between both singers is,
      > obviously, national fame, but the comparison can stop here.
      > Although she made her first steps on a stage much, much later than
      > Joséphine, Edith Piaf belonged to an older, deeply rooted repertoire
      > performed by the likes of Fréhel (with such miserabilist songs as Les mômes
      > de la cloche), she did inherit the accordion songs performed in the
      > guinguettes, and even happened to pay her tribute to rural French folklore
      > (La Julie) - all of which are totally absent from whatever Joséphine ever
      > sang. Piaf never performed in any other costume than her sempiternal black
      > dress, and she never appeared in fashionable revues meant for the Parisian
      > bourgeoisie, with feathers or bananas stuck anywhere onto her body. She was
      > a "child from the gutter" just as well, but hers was the French gutter, and
      > she stuck to it because a) that was her commercial trademark and b) she just
      > could no help, even when she happened to talk in Parisian slang to a
      > hairdresser.
      > Joséphine Baker's music and lyrics were meant from the start as completely
      > "exotic" stuff, unrelated to any French tradition.
      > Even her accent permanently denied that she was singing in French, the same
      > way as Maurice Chevalier intendedly refused to sound like anything else but
      > a French guy performing American songs - when he did. Her songs were
      > thoroughly made up for the part she was supposed to play, as the national
      > symbol of some imaginary West Indies, Africa, or black America, according to
      > the needs and opportunities of the time. "French music", by no means...
      > French music is something completely different, not discussed on this list,
      > interesting in itself but quite away from any jazz criteria.
      > Of course, Edith Piaf also recorded in a nearly-jazz context (Browning, Un
      > Monsieur me suit dans la rue...), in which she completely missed the
      > instinctive, ambiguous "blue notes" (J'ai dansé avec l'amour) which were
      > familiar to most American singers of the time. Technically speaking, she
      > could have overcome that, but the national audience rather asked for a
      > performer "singing from the heart", as long as she was labeled French.
      > Although I am not a true addict, I have to admit that the difference between
      > Edith Piaf and most of her contemporaries (Joséphine, and even more
      > Mistinguett, included) was that she probably lacked the brightness of a
      > formatted professional, but she *could* sing!
      > Patrice
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
      Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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