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Essential 10: Juliette Gréco

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Album Review

The first thing that has to be clarified about this CD is that, although it's titled The Cinema of Juliette Gréco, it has only four tracks on which she sings. The idea is to compile music from the soundtracks of a half-dozen 1949-1958 films in which Gréco appeared and/or sang on the soundtrack, though she did not actually have a lead role in any of them. So after the first four tracks, the selections are entirely instrumental pieces to which Gréco did not contribute. It might be going too far to say this package is deceptive, as it is annotated with reasonable thoroughness, and doesn't claim to be a Gréco album (though it doesn't exactly claim not to be, either). But it seems fair to state that this is more for soundtrack buffs than Gréco fans, though the Gréco-sung tunes — including French and English versions of "Bonjour Tristesse" — are easily the highlights of the CD. If those sultry songs put you in the mood for more of the same from this interesting cult chanteuse, the remaining 65 minutes of the disc can't help but come off as a disappointment, comprised of relatively typical if varied '50s-era soundtrack music. The scores are often densely orchestrated and portentously melodramatic. Some folksier accents of accordion, nightclub jazz, and martial bands pop through on occasion in the excerpts from The Sun Also Rises, which also has some English spoken narration.


Born: 07 February 1927 in Montpellier, France

Genre: French Pop

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Muse to the Parisian literary scene of the '50s, godmother of songwriter-led '60s French pop, and a self-reinventing torch singer from the '70s until now, Juliette Gréco is one of the great French recording artists of the 20th century. Born in Montpellier in 1929, Gréco was classically trained at the Paris Opera as a youngster. Forced to flee Paris at the outbreak of the Second World War, and practically orphaned when her mother was jailed for her resistance to the Nazis in 1943, Gréco then sought...
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Essential 10: Juliette Gréco, Juliette Gréco
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