Prepare to be transported to another world entirely by Parisian chanteuse/songwriter, Jessica Fichot, a strong bean of prodigious talent, humble presentation and, well, elan.
I must confess straight-away I hardly speak French. At all. On my first trip to Paris, I boldy struck out with my meagerly loaded toolbag of French words and accidentally ordered my waiter to ‘bring me a cup of coffee…and don’t speak!’ when in fact I intended to politely request a cup with no milk. My patient fiance gave it a little time and then informed me of my error, at which point I crawled underneath the tablecloth in embarrassment. We made a deal – no more French for me and the marriage would still be on.
Here we are married now. And while I no longer pretend to interface in the notoriously romantic language, I totally understand French-singing Jessica Fichot and her classy gypsy-jazz players.
Wielding a deadly potent voice which teems with nuance across a stretch of technical range and emotive expression, Jessica belies her young age with maturity and experience earned early-on singing and playing in Parisian coffeehouses and concert halls. Her evocative songs wend their way through bustling cities and risque nightclubs to rustic villages and faraway foreign lands, telling stories that easily transcend language barriers, directly penetrating the soft spot (your adventuresome heart, through your ears) with a resounding thunk.
Fichot is not only experienced, but also well-educated. She holds degrees from the School of Audio Engineering in Paris and Berklee College of Music in Boston. She takes music seriously and it shows in her entertaining performance, her instrumental mastery and in her bandmates’ reflections. Fichot’s full live band is comprised of fellow musical experts who also play sensitively and obviously share a passion for the music. All dressed snappily in pressed white shirts, suspenders and dark dress pants, Dave Wilson offers lovely clarinet, sax and flute; Brandon Turner nails the upright bass, fat and full; Brian Carmody makes amazing drums sound easy; and Marcel Camargo contributes sensitive flair on acoustic guitar and glockenspiel. Together the crew sculpts vignettes that tug at heartstrings and pique imagination. For me, Jessica Fichot’s songs drive vividly engaging multisensory experiences like unforgettable movie soundtracks.
Dans Le Metro is a spunky festival, sassy with sax and accordian, bouncing bass and killer drumming. The song twists and turns, a full-spirited city adventure that winds up safely tucked in under sparkly stars, crayon skies and paper moon. Le Grenier flies gypsy, bordering on Klezmer joy, another uplifting tune with verve of activities that might take place in a thousand-year old stone alley under crisp, late-night skies during and after consumption of copious glasses of fermented beverages. Un Deux Trois, a mellow tryst, reveals that there really is such a thing as mastery of toy piano. Fichot’s unfailing fingers on the tiny Schoenhut thread the entire song with a complex, mood driving, Tim Burton-esque merry-go-round – the perfect pulse behind a piece rich with simplicity. Le Velou et Le Soir opens with the opposition of deep growling bass and lilting flute. Jessica’s voice interjects in an Oriental dance, setting the stage for a swanky, jazzy, provocative interlude.
These exclusive, live recordings are remarkably clear, showcasing Jessica’s exquisite voice and the entire band’s high-level musicianship.
Listen to the Exclusive tracks (option/click to download):