Appearing at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival is No-Ce, a quite staggering combination of, yes, Édith Piaf and Frank Zappa! Celebrating the art of the French chanson whilst wrapping it in rock n roll. The results are a kind of jazz quite unlike anything else – dextrous; moving, yet humorous, their latest release, Jazz Proclamation Vol.1&2, is a collection of tracks which transcend language and genre.
Based in Vienna, Austria, No-Ce is fronted by Cécile Nordegg, a chanteuse with a truly remarkable voice which is deeply resonant and expressive, operating in the lower register, already offering a rather unique listening experience. Previously a successful film and TV actor, Cécile is backed by a band of outstanding musicians who have already made names for themselves: JP Chiche on guitar and background vocals (previously having shared the stage with everyone from Aerosmith to Fats Domino); Andreas Pirringer on sax, flute and clarinet and Walter Bass on piano, all contributing to their compositions. Augmented by American Grammy Award-winning rock guitarist, Jamie Kime (rhythm guitarist for Dweezil Zappa), the combination is both engrossing and intriguing.
French jazz is not that easy to find and a new experience for many but for both newcomers and those already soaked in the boozy musical brew, there is a wealth to savour, with as many rock riffs as there are torch songs and glimpses into cabaret resurrected from a bygone age. With a casual cover of Frank Zappa’s notorious “Bobby Brown” thrown in for good measure (sung in honeyed French tones, naturally), plus standards by Piaf and Brel, this is an experience not to be missed.
See No-Ce & Band at this year’s Edinburgh Festival August 6/7/8 at 08:30pm at AMC @ UCC