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The French Impressionists \ A Selection of Songs [LTMCD 2415]

An archive collection from Scottish new jazz ensemble The French Impressionists, who recorded for Les Disques du Crépuscule between 1981 and 1983.

Formed by songwriter/pianist Malcolm Fisher in Glasgow, the group worked first with Postcard Records, recording a first demo in June 1981 with the help of vocalist Paul Quinn and Roddy Frame and Campbell Owens of Aztec Camera. Fisher subsequently formed a permament band in 1982, first with singer Beatrice Colin, and later Louise Ness, recording EP A Selection of Songs and festive Christmas single Santa Baby.

This digitally remastered CD and download contains 18 tracks, including 5 recorded live in Glasgow. The CD booklet includes a detailed band biography. After the group disbanded in 1983, Malcolm Fisher relocated to Milan and recorded several albums of solo piano music. Two such cycles, Seven Suite and Lantern Suite, feature here as bonus tracks.

Cover art by Hennebert and Lynn Hendry.


1. Pick Up the Rhythm
2. Blue Skies
3. Since You've Been Away
4. Theme from Walking Home
5. Santa Baby
6. Castles in the Air
7. Mannequin
8. Rainbows Never End
9. Waiting for Someone
10. Boo Boo's Gone Mambo
11. My Guardian Angel
12. My Rainy Day (live 1983)
13. Nothing Really Matters (live 1983)
14. Blue Skies (live 1983)
15. Helpless (live 1983)
16. Summertime (live 1982)
17. Seven Suite
18. Lantern Suite

Available on CD and digital download. To order slipcased CD please select correct shipping option and click on Add To Cart button below cover image, or else contact LTM by email for other payment options.

A Selection of Songs [LTMCD 2415]
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"Small group jazz-cum-pop done for love rather than money. The emphasis is on tunes and moods rather than improv or experimentation. The piano is delightfully controlled and supports the songs without shouting for attention. Rhythm and harmony are more complex than a pop audience would normally expect to cope with. The additional piano cycles are a very fair addition to an already generous collection. The Debussy/Impressionist connection becomes more evident" (Whisperin' & Hollerin', 11/2004)

"Glorious - a key element in the whole Postcard Sound of Young Scotland" (Tangents, 2004)

"Having only appeared via singles and compilations in the early 80s, the French Impressionists had a reputation that was limited to the Crepuscule label fanatic, at least until the crackerjack LTM label came to the rescue. A Selection of Songs - borrowing its title from the band's debut EP - collects everything the band formally recorded, plus some live tracks and late 80s solo suites by Malcolm Fisher to boot. Jazz-influenced but dedicated more to keyboard-led finger-snapping pop winners than, say, the more rhythmic and exploratory work of their semi-contemporaries Swamp Children, the French Impressionists come across as a sometimes rough but generally winning proposition. Starting the compilation with Pick Up the Rhythm, showcasing Louise Ness' high-pitched ghost of the mid-century vocals and Fisher's light and enjoyable piano playing, was a smart move, and the remaining three tracks from the debut EP are equally breezy good fun, concluding with Fisher's elegant solo turn Theme from Walking Home. That the band ended up recording a version of Eartha Kitt's saucy holiday standard Santa Baby is no surprise in retrospect, with Ness joined by Margaret Murphy on vocals while the band turns the music into a low-key funk jam. The Ness/Murphy duo also features on a quartet of hissily recorded live tracks from 1983; the only unreleased efforts as well as the only tracks featuring late-period guitarist Charles Reilly, they give an enjoyable taste as to where the band might have gone next, with songs featuring stern, strong rhythms and Arabic-tinged singing. Another brace of recordings features original singer Beatrice Colin, with a slightly more ethereal tone than Ness but not an unpleasant one; given that the music is mostly the same as the debut EP, the effect is a bit unusual hearing songs that weren't so much remade as slightly altered in the lyrics, if not the singing. The original 1981 recordings with Paul Quinn are amusing digressions that feel like they were written and recorded on the spot - Quinn's nicely relaxed and louche - while the two lengthy Fisher solo tracks are quite lovely, showing that his ear for melodicism and atmosphere works just as well on its own as it does in a band format" (All Music Guide, 2004)