LA JAVANAISE

Artist: Madeleine Peyroux

Genre: Jazz (French)

Notable lyrics:

J’avoue
J’en ai
Bavé
Pas vous
Mon amour
Avant
D’avoir
Eu vent
De vous
Mon amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

A votre
Avis
Qu’avons-
Nous vu
De l’amour
De vous
A moi
Vous m’a-
Vez eu
Mon amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

Hélas
Avril
En vain
Me voue
A l’amour
J’avais
Envie
De voir
En vous
Cet amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

La vie
Ne vaut
D’être
Vécue
Sans Amour
Mais c’est
Vous qui
L’avez
Voulu
Mon amour

Ne vous déplaise
En dansant la Javanaise
Nous nous aimions
Le temps d’une chanson

Translation:

I had
A few
Tough years
Didn’t you
My true love
Until
At last
You crossed
My path
My true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

What do
You think
That we
Have seen
Of true love
Let me
Tell you
I was
Deceived
My true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

Alas
April
In vain
Draws me
To true love
I was
Willing
To see
In you
This true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

Life is
Pointless
When it’s
Devoid
Of true love
But that’s
The choice
You made
For us
My true love

If you don’t mind
While dancing the javanaise
Our love lasted
As long as a song

The combination of French, the language of love and Jazz, the music of love, has to be one of the most magnificent creations of mankind.

Originally written by Serge Gainsbourg back in 1962, this song happens to be a cover by Madeleine Peyroux, an American jazz singer and songwriter who began her career as a teenager on the streets of Paris. She is known for her vintage jazz and blues songs. When Peyroux was just 13, she moved to Paris with her mother, where she began singing, ‘inspired by the street musicians of Paris’ Latin Quarter. By 1989, she was performing as a member of the old-timey jazz band the Riverboat Shufflers. Around age 16, she joined another vintage-inspired ensemble, the Lost & Wandering Blues & Jazz Band, and spent several years touring Europe performing jazz standards by such legends as Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and others’.

While Gainsbourg’s version of the song, which is the original one, is sensual and authentic, with perfect 60’s French music, Peyroux has brought out the sheer delicacy in the song. Even though the two versions don’t necessarily contradict each other, they’re not that similar, save for the same lyrics. Why I have chosen this version is because I was more drawn to the innate authenticity that persists, even with the progression in the art of Jazz. When I first heard the song, Madeleine was mistaken for a 50’s Jazz artist, such is her vocal charm. Released in 2006, the song retains the timelessness a jazz song is entitled to have.

The elegant, pared-down arrangements are all brushed drums, acoustic guitars, and cool organ licks. But of course it’s Peyroux’s voice that brings it all home–preferably one where the shades are drawn, embers are smoldering in the fireplace, and the white wine is kept dry.

What a perfect way to describe the song. Also, the soft and toned music makes is especially pleasant, like something you’d play in a very nice restaurant, or to accentuate your lover’s voice as you have a candle-lit dinner on the terrace on a warm evening, or even on a beautiful cruise across the Pacific. Her perfect pronunciation, The sweet music of the violin and the piano swipe are all beautiful attributes of the song.

The Javanaise is made to seem like a dance the lover’s asking his beloved to remember they had on an evening, on a street with the street band playing this song (the latter half of this story is all made-up). That’s the beauty of French Jazz music when it’s played in every nook and corner of Paris – it’s mind-numbing and mesmerizing. One quiet walk through Paris on a lovely summer’s night will fill your life with so much bliss that you’ll never be worried about the little things again. That is, of course, if there’s no threat of robbery.

 

 

CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU

Artist: Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons

Genre: Swing (Jazz)

Notable lyrics:

Pardon the way that I stare,

there’s nothing else to compare,

beside, her view leaves me weak,

there are no words left to speak.

I’m aware of the plethora of covers of this song (Muse, Heath Ledger, et al) but I guarantee you, this is the most authentic and the best version there is (not to mention, the original one). The song has also played a part in several movies as a soundtrack. So, if it rings a bell, you know why.

Having to be one of the most romantically striking songs there is, the hit track was released back in 1967, the pre-revolutionary era (in terms of music, of course), earning a top position in the billboard charts for a whole week (we don’t respect billboard anymore but back then, the competition was tight), and thereby instantly fetching a gilded record for the artists. During the late 60’s, the highly contagious Rock music was all the rage and Jazz had seen better days. Even if the song is listed as a ‘pop rock’ song, there are certain attributes that make it more of a Swing oriented song; the indiscreet bass guitars, the drums, the lively maracas, an occasional trumpet and the heartfelt, sensual singing that is perfect for serenading a love interest. On the other hand, the lyrics are just as flattering as the rest of the song. If only you could imagine how the ladies back in the day were smitten (just watch the live shows, Frank wasn’t kidding around).

With a song that starts off with a bold instrumental piece, it’s important to maintain the same calibre throughout the entire song and just that has been done so immaculately, with the outstanding chorus and thereon. The mid-20th century flair is very conspicuous and adds to the originality of the song belonging to the worldly genre of Jazz. The song fades into a gradual end with the actual performance still being as intense as ever – guess they had to stop somewhere!

I can’t point the exact time or place of the song’s discovery, but all I remember was how bewitched I was; I often found myself obsessively listening to the tune while goofing around, unwinding after a long day or – pretty much all the time. Everyone deserves a wonderful favorite Swing song and this one has to be mine.

LA VIE EN ROSE

 

 

Artist: Louis Armstrong

Genre: Jazz

Notable lyrics:

Hold me close and hold me fast
The magic spell you cast
This is La Vie En Rose

When you kiss me heaven sighs
And though I close my eyes
I see La Vie En Rose

When you press me to your heart
I’m in a world apart
A world where roses bloom

And when you speak…angels sing from above
Everyday words seem…to turn into love songs

Give your heart and soul to me
And life will always be
La Vie En Rose

I guarantee you’ve probably heard this song somewhere, sometime in your life. I myself heard this song in Wall-E and spent a good hour searching for this beautiful, heartfelt tune. And also, might I add how complete my world is, even if for a moment, when I listen to this song?

‘La vie en rosé’ translates to ‘life in pink’. it is a delicate and soulful ballad, made famous by the French singer ‘Edith Piaf‘ in the late 40’s. The song was complete with lyrics and light music until Louis Armstrong, the undeclared ‘god of jazz’ decided to enhance the song with the addition of his infamous saxophone solo. most of the lyrics were omitted because the saxophone, on its own, added a miraculous touch to the end you never knew you needed. Used in over 30 movies, this song captures the essence of love so stupendous, it’ll leave you dazed and smitten within a matter of seconds. the song oozes romance and splendour in a way most post-Jazz songs fail to do so.

There’s really something so extraordinary about Jazz no words can define; it must have something to do with the melodious tune of the saxophones. The early 1900’s were really a golden era for the rise of Jazz music, with wonderful artists like ‘Ray Charles’, ‘Eartha Kitt’, ‘Duke Ellington’, ‘Aretha Franklin’, and our very own ‘Louis Armstrong. Amidst the rise in struggle for equality, Jazz was the music that embraced everyone and showed no discrimination on the basis of a person’s skin color. as a matter of fact, most of these Jazz artists were people of color and that paved way for a historical movement that, essentially, changed the world. not only did it help eradicate racism, it also gave opportunities for women of color (and women alike) to prove their excellence outside the house. Jazz, with such a rich and fluent history, is most likely to go extinct within a few decades due to the lack of talented and skilled artists and the alarming rise in popularity of Pop music. If a genre of music helped create such a revolution, it must be celebrated in the best way possible: by preserving its authenticity and integrity.

The next time you’re in Paris having a breakfast in the balcony, (or doing anything, anywhere, for that matter) don’t forget to play this song on repeat for it with soothe your senses and tell you why your life is worth living.