Noiresque: The Lonely Fate of the Femme Fatale

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All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
If Noiresque: The Lonely Fate of the Femme Fatale is any indication, Sandra Lawrence aka Miss Volare put her film studies degree to excellent use. The British chanteuse who fronts the Glenn Miller memorial orchestra in France and her own hard-swinging band, the Vendettas, has issued an album of steamy tunes centered around the ultimate cinematic cipher: the femme fatale. That Miss Volare was an actress before becoming a singer adds to the pleasure, drama, and sleek aura of shadow that pervade the album. Arranged by saxophonist Al Nicholls, 11 of the 12 cuts here were written by cream-of-the-crop composers of the film noir era: Johnny Mercer with John Williams, Lester Lee and...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
If Noiresque: The Lonely Fate of the Femme Fatale is any indication, Sandra Lawrence aka Miss Volare put her film studies degree to excellent use. The British chanteuse who fronts the Glenn Miller memorial orchestra in France and her own hard-swinging band, the Vendettas, has issued an album of steamy tunes centered around the ultimate cinematic cipher: the femme fatale. That Miss Volare was an actress before becoming a singer adds to the pleasure, drama, and sleek aura of shadow that pervade the album. Arranged by saxophonist Al Nicholls, 11 of the 12 cuts here were written by cream-of-the-crop composers of the film noir era: Johnny Mercer with John Williams, Lester Lee and Bob Russell, Frank DeVol, Lester Lee and Ned Washington, Mercer with David Raksin, and more. Almost all of the selections were inspired by the movies themselves, and the one that isn't was inspired by the entire genre. Here are stunningly rendered versions of "Laura," "The Long Goodbye," "Temptation," "Blue Gardenia," "I'd Rather Have the Blues," "Letter From a Lady in Love," "From Man to Man," and others. The charts are phenomenal; Lawrence's singing opens a dialogue that has confounded, enthused, titillated, and troubled filmgoers for decades: What about the femme fatale? Lawrence sets out to offer not an explanation so much as an aural portrait of the mysteries, paradoxes, and heartaches of this most necessary anti-heroine, without whom the genre would not exist. The disc is paced between the drama and pathos and flaunty, theatrical aspects of the woman Lawrence seems to understand on a cellular level. Lawrence's voice is big; she projects and enunciates like few singers today and doesn't fall into the Julie London trap of breathing her lyrics. Her performance of "The Long Goodbye" may, over time and with enough exposure, become the definitive version. This journey is visceral, graced with humor and sensual pleasure, and is full of surprises. The band's own "The Longer Goodbye," a suite-like jam, takes the original tune; moves it into different terrains, such as tarantella, tango, and mariachi; and extrapolates enough to make it one hell of a jazz number that is equal parts smokey blues, burlesque, and cabaret before slipping through swing and bop. While this is not Lawrence's debut, it is Miss Volare's, and a very auspicious one it is. Noiresque is as tough as a smoking gun in the hands of Faye Dunaway in a black velvet dress, as feminine as a shadow, as mysterious as a wink from Dana Andrews, as sly as a card dealt by Lauren Bacall, and as deadly as the kiss from spiderwoman Gaby Rogers. In other words, Noiresque is marvelous from start to finish.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/25/2003
  • Label: Silva America
  • UPC: 738572115029
  • Catalog Number: 1150

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 From Man To Man (3:46)
  2. 2 Trinidad Lady (3:58)
  3. 3 Letter from a Lady in Love (5:27)
  4. 4 The Heat Is On (4:42)
  5. 5 Laura (5:04)
  6. 6 Put the Blame on Mame (5:25)
  7. 7 The Long Goodbye (3:15)
  8. 8 Temptation (4:02)
  9. 9 Blue Gardenia (4:24)
  10. 10 I've Been Kissed Before (2:57)
  11. 11 I'd Rather Have the Blues (5:52)
  12. 12 The Longer Goodbye - Miss Volare & The Vendettas (12:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sandra Lawrence Primary Artist, Vocals
Robert Rickenberg Bass
Al Nicholls Tenor Saxophone
Mark Adelman Keyboards
Prague Philharmonic Orchestra Strings
Owen Rees Trombone
Technical Credits
Frank deVol Composer
Nacio Herb Brown Composer
Rick Clark Mastering
Ben Matthews Engineer
Johnny Mercer Composer
David Raksin Composer
Bob Russell Composer
Kenny Denton Engineer
Doris Fisher Composer
Lester Lee Composer
Sidney Keith Russell Composer
Al Nicholls Arranger
James Fitzpatrick String Sessions Supervision
Allan Roberts Composer
Sean Mowle Art Direction
Sandra Lawrence Liner Notes
Reynold da Silva Executive Producer
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Femme Fatale has returned

    What a CD! That 40’s sex symbol the Femme Fatale returns to haunt your dreams. The bar; the small band, the seedy detective and most of all, THAT WOMAN. Shoehorned into an impossibly tight satin dress, with a slow burning cigarette in a six-inch holder. She sings about love and life, and has every male in the audience wrapped round her little finger; ready to use them, or throw them in the trash can as the whim takes her. It is all here. From the tragedy of her situation to the satisfaction of her victories over men (to whom she ultimately loses), this is a musical journey through the psyche of the Femme Fatale. “From Man to Man” sets the scene. A woman seeking love, but being used and abused by every man she finds. Sandra Lawrence’s rendition perfectly projects the image of the Femme Fatale, going back over her life, but alone in the midst of admirers. The façade has been dropped. Here is a glimpse into her heart. The fragility behind the masque of the Spider Woman. From there to the impish humour and little white lies of “I’ve Been Kissed Before”, Miss Lawrence’s voice projects the perfectly drawn images of that most recognisable icon of Hollywood – The Femme Fatale. And, if you are not into 40s and 50s cinema, this CD has everything. Here is a singer, on her debut CD, who dares to take a different path from the well trodden (over-trodden?) “Jazz Standards” route. She dares and wins. She takes songs, which are well known (Mame & Laura), and songs that other singers have avoided (The Long Goodbye & I’d Rather Have The Blues Than What I’ve Got) and very firmly puts her own brand on them. Listen to them once, and this is the version that will stick in your mind. Miss Lawrence’s voice stands out from the crowd. Sandra Lawrence is not a clone of some other singer. She does it her way and her way is absolutely right.

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