THE CABARET VENUE WHERE IT FLOURISHED
Mr. Tharaud played with a subdued sensitivity and delicacy of touch that demanded close attention.
He got it.
-The New York Times, reviewing Tharaud in concert at (le) Poisson Rouge
On October 22nd, French Pianist Alexandre Tharaud will release Swinging Paris Le Boeuf Sur le Toit, a new album of jazz music inspired by the legendary 1920s Parisian cabaret. The album features a kaleidoscopic selection of music from composers ranging from Ravel to Gershwin to W.C. Handy, and includes a diverse group of guest artists including Natalie Dessay, Madeleine Peyroux and more. This new release caps a busy year for Alexandre - he starred in Michael Haneke s film Amour, which took the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival (Tharaud also provided the soundtrack to the album, which will be released on Virgin Classics in January of 2013), and was also featured on the smash hit Fifty Shades of Grey The Classical Album.
Alexandre will perform selections from the album at an intimate evening concert at New York City s (le) Poisson Rouge nightclub on October 23rd at 10PM, featuring several special guest performers. Tharaud will make his Carnegie Hall solo debut on October 24th with a program of Ravel, Chopin and Liszt, as well as several sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti from his acclaimed Scarlatti Sonatas album (one of NPR s 50 Favorite Albums of 2011 - all genres). He will also give a concert on October 26th at the French Embassy in Washington, DC.
Tharaud previewed Swinging Paris Le Boeuf Sur le Toit to a sold-out New York City crowd this past April, with the New York Times reporting: Mr. Tharaud played Chopinata, a clever jazz fantasy on Chopin themes by Clément Doucet, who was the house pianist at Boeuf Sur le Toit during its heyday. It was fun to hear his breezy account of Five O Clock Foxtrot, an arrangement of a dance episode from Ravel s opera L Enfant et les Sortilèges. He ended with a tasteful rendition of The Man I Love, the Gershwin classic.
The cabaret Le Boeuf Sur le Toit (literally The Ox on the Roof ) was a hotspot and melting pot of Parisian and international culture in the 1920s. As Tharaud explains: Every evening you would come across composers like Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie and the members of Les Six...even Stravinsky! There were French popular singers like Maurice Chevalier, Yvonne Georges, Kiki de Montparnasse and then, among the throng, lots of artists, such as Man Ray, Diaghilev, Coco Chanel, Georges Simenon...though they came from different worlds, everybody on the Paris scene came to Le Boeuf Sur le Toit for jazz and new music amidst the excitement of the Roaring Twenties. The cabaret s importance in the history of jazz can be gauged by its immortalization in the French term for having a jam session, faire le boeuf .
To help him faire le boeuf, Tharaud is joined here by a hand-picked group of colleagues. From the world of classical music come soprano Natalie Dessay (making her debut on the mouth trumpet!), pianist Frank Braley ( He is crazy about Gershwin, explains Tharaud); tenor Jean Delescluse and percussionist Florent Jodelet. Joining from the world of jazz and popular music are three singer-songwriters: Madeleine Peyroux (an American of French extraction) and French chansonnier singers Juliette and Bénabar, and guitarist David Chevallier (here on banjo). The actor Guillaume Galliene, a resident of France s most prestigious theatre, the Comédie-Française, takes on a cheeky comic song.