Sunday, April 22, 2012

Melissa Errico's Legrand Affair

Michel Legrand is one of the grand composers for stage and film of our times and in 2005, he and Broadway actress Melissa Errico spent time together. They then travelled to Belgium, where with a full orchestra conducted and arranged by Legrand they recorded a number of Legrand’s songs. While some touches were added later, it took until now for the recordings to be released under Errico’s name, Legrand Affair: The Songs of Michel Legrand (Ghostlight Records).

I was not familiar with Melissa Errico until this recording. Married to tennis star Patrick McEnroe, she has such a beautiful voice and her precise diction and delivery likely illustrates why she has become a star of many musical productions. She has starred in seven Broadway productions and had two prior albums. Prior to this recording, I also did not realize the depth of Legrand’s legacy as a composer. The songs include The Summer Knows, and The Windmill of Your Mind. The other songs may not have been as familiar, but equally displayed melodies that linger in a listener's head. The couple, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, contributed the lyrics to 10 of the 15 selections on this album.

Enrico singing creates a sense of intimacy even with the full orchestration on these lovely songs. Legrand sings a scatted, wordless vocal to a duet between him and Errico on the Legrand-Johnny Mercer ballad, Once Upon a Summertime. The closing selection, Celui-La is the only non-orchestral performance. Here, her vocal in French is accompanied by Legrand’s piano. These are consistently beautiful performances. Errico has such a beautiful voice and the lush arrangements accentuate this and the romanticism of the lyrics of all the marvelous songs here. Legrand Affair makes for easy, but grand, listening.

My review copy was provided by a publicist. Here she talks about Legrand Affair.

No comments: