K comes by her abundant gifts honestly. Both her parents were
musicians: her mother, Natalie Choquette, a celebrated opera singer,
her father, Hany Khoriaty, a guitarist and composer.
stage, Florence has all the trappings that make her a joy to watch
and listen to. She wins over her audience by investing her all
in her music, and despite a sensuality around which religions
are founded she refuses to play the pandering pop diva game. For
her 2011 Montreal
International Jazz Festival
concert, she wore form fitting jeans and a simple, sleeveless
possesses a strong and sure, if not unique and memorable voice.
It’s actually better than Norah Jones’s, for example,
who, in point of fact, does not have a good voice, but it is the
only voice millions of us want to hear because it perfectly reveals
the person that is Norah no less than the memorable music she
chooses to record. However, Florence is a classically trained
pianist and has a more complex musical mind than Miss Jones.
her bona fides, why was I vaguely disappointed after her Club
Soda concert where there wasn’t an empty seat to be had?
Why isn’t this manifestly talented singer- songwriter an
is all over the map musically and linguistically. She can seamlessly
hop step and jump from one genre and culture to another; her Cuban,
her Brazilian, her French, her blues, her contemporary are nothing
less than over the top. But that might be the reason why the sum
of her gifts don’t add up, meaning audiences are wowed by
Florence performing Cuban and Brazilian but not Florence herself.
If she’s to take her already considerable game to the next
level, she might have to stop doing what she loves to do and does
so well, much like Miles Davis said the most difficult musical
challenge of his life was to force himself not to play the ballads
that he couldn’t get enough of. If and when Florence comes
to realize that her lack of musical identity is a burning issue
that deserves all of her attention, she might consider the example
of Paco de Lucia.
flamenco guitarist, Paco is without equal, now and forever. His
technique (his finger work) is so mind-blowingly clean and under
control it forces the conclusion that there are higher forces
at play and that the guitarist is merely a vessel. But in two
hundred years from now, when history examines his accomplishments,
Paco will be cited only for his inimitable technique and interpretations
within the ‘pure’ flamenco genre. His vast output
of original material will not survive because the composer could
not make a clean break from flamenco; the structure was a drug
he couldn’t wean himself off. When composing, he invariably
defaults to the traditional flamenco interval such that all of
his original work sounds faint hearted and derivative, leaving
us to wonder if there isn't an inner mounting flame to be found
and fanned. As a writer, Florence is in a similar rut in respect
to her especially Cuban calling (cronica de un carril anunciado).
and vocals are her strongest suit at this still early stage of
her career. This came to the fore very late in the concert during
a blues number where she showed astonishing orginality in a genre
suffocating under the weight of a century’s worth of clichés.
She also was highly original on the keyboards when performing
a couple of standards.
for solo piano might be the place to begin looking for herself
in song, for when you take away all of the embellishments and
her Cuba habit, what remains is the Florence that reminds us of
someone else's music. Especially live, she is attracted to a large
sound which puts her voice and piano at a competitive disadvantage.
Since she is responsible for the sound she projects, she is not
helping herself by indulging her love of hyper-ventilating brass
and multilayered, highly complex, contrapuntal percussion. I’ve
heard “Hija de Cuba” with a full band and also for
solo piano and voice; the latter wins hands down, and it is there
the Florence fragments are to be found.
Florence K continues to play more at home (Province of Quebec)
than abroad, it could very well be that she is suffering under
the stress of incompetent management, Yes-people self-dedicated
to being liked but derelict when it comes to making those tough
decisions upon which careers either break down or break out.
convinced Florence should be a lot farther afield than she is
presently, and there are reasons for it. Her challenge is to make
these reasons work to her advantage. Her pedigree and natural
gifts are formidable, her training and background give her a huge
advantage over the competition. A few adjustments and compromises
here and there and there’s no telling how far she can go,
how deep is the ocean, how high is the moon.
Dave Holland and Kenny Barron. In a word, exquisite. Kenny’s
is for the ages.
Jill Barber. The top rankin’ had better make place for
Jill; she can write, arrange and cozy up to a lyric with the
best of them.
(3) Eivind Aarest. Il y avait un moment très tôt
dans le concert lorsque je me suis demandé: ou sont passées
les traces de LSD et mescaline que j'ai ingurgitées pendant
les années 70? La réponse: nulle part. Elles sont
toujours la, attendant le moment propice pour resurgir. Eivind
Aarest était ce moment. La musique coulait plus agréable
qu’un bain chaud au milieu d’un hiver brutal Saskatchewanais.
Si vous lisez ca, Laurent Saulnier, il faut mettre Eivent Aarest
sur la grand scene l’année prochaine: on peut pas
sousestimer l’importance de la musique transitional pour
Michel Donato’s final bass solo in the Terez Montcalm
concert at Club Soda. Donato had nothing to do with it. God
decided to visit earth, took up residence in Donato and produced
a solo that was so lyrically and rhythmically inventive it seemed
to come out of nowhere. Without doubt, the best bass solo of
the new decade so far. Unfortunately, the Big Guy didn't stay
around for very long; I guess he couldn’t hack the pollution.
Anat Cohen and guitarist Howard Alden playing Django’s
Guest appearance for two standards @Florence K concert by Molly
Johnson, whose voice is now so rich and resonant it invites
comparison with the incomparable Carmen McCrea's. Bringing Molly
on stage was a huge strategic gaff by Florence and Company,
a gaff equal to Sylvain
Provost agreeing to play with Sylvain
Luc (Jazz en Rafale, 2010) without a game plan.