Various Artists

Nos Stars Célèbrent le Jazz à Montréal

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Nos Stars Célèbrent le Jazz à Montréal features several of Quebec's most popular vocalists performing vocal jazz standards in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal. Produced and arranged by Dan Thouin, one of Montreal's leading jazz figures, the album includes some of the best-known vocal jazz standards ever such as "Heart and Soul," "My Funny Valentine," and "Fever." The performers are likewise well-known, practically all of them pop singers, and they're sometimes accompanied by jazz musicians. Highlights include Cœur de Pirate's version of "Someone to Watch Over Me" (in accompaniment with musician Benoît Charest), Isabelle Boulay's version of "Crazy" (with Jordan Officer), Stéphanie Lapointe's version of "At Last," Céline Dion's version of "Nature Boy," and Garou's version of "Mack the Knife." There are 13 songs overall on Nos Stars Célèbrent le Jazz à Montréal plus a bonus track version of "Georgia on My Mind" by the late vocalist Gerry Boulet's blues-rock band Offenbach (with the Vic Vogel Big Band) that was recorded live at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 1980. As a means of promoting jazz music in general and the festival in particular among Quebecers, Nos Stars Célèbrent le Jazz à Montréal is effective. The drawing power of rising stars like Cœur de Pirate and well-established superstars like Dion is undeniable, and while the material is arguably as time-worn as it is classic, at least it's tastefully produced by Thouin. Jazz purists will likely scoff at the integrity of Nos Stars Célèbrent le Jazz à Montréal, but this release isn't oriented toward them. It's designed as an appeal to mainstream music listeners who otherwise might not take the time to consider a jazz album such as this, let alone the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

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