Mademoiselle sings Jazz and with no holes barred. At a time where the swing has swung and or ultra formatted projects titivate our ears, Sarah Lancman appears as one of those rare songbirds
Like her illustrious fore-sisters, Merrill, Vaughan, Horn or Simone, she knows how to vibrate her chords and find all the emotional levels. Her chameleon-like voice rises sometimes veiled, with electrifying effect or with an adolescent sweetness which melts you. Like her former sisters she sings about love. The beginnings, the ends, but mostly about the love of creating and giving herself entirely to her music and those that listen.
One could imagine that she has always sung. However, this young Parisien from Les Halles, Châte- let, began her musical career as a classical pianist before turning her hand to the sounds of Bill Evans. From the age of 7 studying classical pieces to Jazz at the « Haute Ecole de Musique » of Lausanne, where she obtained, in 2013, her diploma in composition. Her destiny seems written for the keyboards. « I knew from a very young age, when my parents took me to a concert, that music would be my 'raison d'être'. It is my home ».
Singing in all that? An idea which had been turning around in her mind for sometime. Owing to some nodules on her vocal chords her dreams of becoming a diva are silenced. Nevertheless, she decides to learn the technique of singing without ever dreaming it might become a reality.
The big break comes for Sarah when in 2012 she signed up for the International SHURE Jazz Festi- val, in Montreux, presided by Quincy Jones. To her surprise she remains after the eliminations and the first prize is for Sarah. The verdict of Mister Jones is without appeal - « She's truly a great new voice in jazz ». This time, without a doubt, she knows that she is on the right road.
Sarah decides to auto-produce and two years later gives birth to her first album of cover songs, bap- tized « Dark », showing her taste for singers like Julie London, Nick Drake and hits from Real Book.
Her second big chance comes one evening, in a bar in Montmartre, rue des Abbesses. Come to hear a singer friend, she meets the Italian pianist Giovanni Mirabassi. « I couldn't believe that this artist whom I had admired for so long was here, next to me drinking coffee at the bar. I thought what the hell ». After the pleasantries, phone numbers and calling cards are exchanged, he leaves with her cd in hand. Months go past, and in the spring of 2015, she finds 2 dates for the launch of her album
« Dark », one in Paris at the « Petit Journal de Montparnasse » and the other in Lausanne. Lacking a pianist she phones Mirabassi to ask if he would be willing to play. He immediately agrees, « I was just looking for a singer, and when you come across someone with such a feeling of swing and great harmonies and who manages to move you like you do, well you don't need to be asked
Their concerts seal a solid friendship. He already has a long history in show business. Since 2001, Giovanni Mirabassi has a lot of success with his album « Avanti ». He has been awarded numerous
prizes (17 gold discs, Victory of Music, Golden Django, first prize from the 'Academie du Jazz Django Reinhardt), but he has also been met with some resistance to his ambitious projects. Who could imagine daring a trio of piano, trombone and trumpet? Composing an album where the jazz trio dialogues with a symphony orchestra? Who would want to re-visit old Cuban revolutionary hymns or record an album of improvisations of film themes by Miyazaki. Giovanni Mirabassi for whom the battle of ideas and the artistic battle are one and the same. Luckily he has always been able to count on his sidemen: the percussionist Leon Parker, the double bassist Gianluca Renzi, the trumpet player Flavio Boltro, the trombonist Glenn Ferris and even the former drummer for Bill Evans, Eliot Zigmund.
In Sarah, Mirabassi immediately recognizes a partner in arms, ready for action. And this new re- cruit has so much to offer. Pianist, singer and also a talented composer. « Whilst listening to her first song « Inspiring Love » I knew straight away that there was no alternative. Sarah is made for Jazz. So, I, of course, said Yes. Write 9 more songs and then we will record the album, with a quar- tet in New York. »
Thus, Giovanni becomes her coach and manager, finds the musicians, encourages her to write, co- writes with her four songs and within a few months the 10 pieces are ready. 10 titles which re- present their ideas – swing in every tempo, latin suavity, bop virtuosity, ballads in the Cole Porter style, intertwining phrasing in English and French particularly in a song by Charles Aznavour.
Now all that is needed are the funds to record in New York. Once more, Sarah manages to whip up enough interest in those around her. In one month she has raised enough money and more to take them to the Big Apple, where a team of amazing musicians await them. Gene Jackson, drummer, long time associated with the Herbie Hancock trio; Alex Sipiagin on trumpet and bugle: partner of Dave Holland and Michael Brecker and also part of the legendary big bands such as Gil Evans Or- chestra or Mingus Big Band. For Sarah, the studio sessions are a revelation, « when the chemistry works so naturally and the musicality just flows, you realize that nothing is impossible ».
For her, who dreamt as a child to be a poet, she has found the fullest means to exercise her art, wi- thin a group.
After the success of her album « Inspiring Love » recorded in New York City, the singer comes back with a new one called « A contretemps »
surrounded by a prestigious team: the pianist Giovanni Mirabassi ( 17 golden albums, Victoire de la Musique en 2002, Django d’or ) also producer and co-composer of the album who has currently played with Chet Baker, Steve Grossman, Eliott Zigmund, Glenn Ferris
and many others, on doublebass Gianluca Renzi (Ari Hoenig, André Ceccarelli, Kevin Hays...), on drums Gene Jackson ( Herbie Hancock Trio, Diane Reeves, Christian McBride , Joe Lovano...), and as a special guest, the japanese legend TOKU on vocal & flugelhorn (13 albums
& recording artist of Sony Japan).
In November, the « Lancman » team is once more reunited for three exceptional concerts. A tour is planned for the spring of next year.