Myriam Phiro’s Voyages CD, due for an early October release, is the French-Canadian chanteuse’s follow-up to her successful 2013 debut EP, My Reverie: Songs From the World of Myriam Phiro. As its title suggests, the album takes the listener on a jaunt through some of the countries that Phiro says “inspired and shaped” her views as an artist. The 14-song set, she points out in the illustrative booklet that accompanies the CD, “symbolized the journeys in my own life, both in a literal and figurative sense.”
Captivating arrangements of classic jazz and pop standards take the singer from the streets of Paris to the streets of New York, and from the ocean to the desert. Phiro sings in English, French, and Spanish. She even throws in a little Italian, but whatever the language, she sings up a storm. Fronting a basic quartet that includes Vinny Rainiolo (guitar), John di Martino (piano), Nicki Parrott (bass), and Rob Garcia (drums), along with a guest artist every once in a while, she develops a character and works a lyric like a fine actress working her lines.
Phiro moves from a flirty “Beyond the Sea/La Mer” to a husky sexuality in “Besame Mucho,” and from an exotic “Caravan” to a perky and syncopated “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire.” Sometimes her vocal persona seems so changed, so buried is the singer in character, it is as if another singer had taken over the mic.
“I Love Paris,” which opens the album, reeks of the atmosphere of a smoky Parisian cafe. Supplemented by an accordion and a violin, it has that authentic European sound.
Her take on the 1940s pop hit “On a Slow Boat to China” channels one of the divas of the period like Doris Day, while her playful version of “Tico Tico” conjures up a winking Carmen Miranda. “Autumn in New York” gets a breathless interpretation, and there is an ethereal feeling to her cover of “Skylark.” Phiro bounces through the Italian pop hit of the 1950s, “Volare,” and ends this very impressive sophomore offering with Lennon and McCartney’s “In My Life.”
Songs well sung: That’s Myriam Phiro’s recipe for her Voyages.
If you can’t wait for the CD, you can buy it now from popular digital music carriers such as Bandcamp and Amazon.com.
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