Sophie Yates began her career by winning the international Erwin Bodky Competition at the Boston Early Music Festival, and as a result she was invited to tour and broadcast throughout the eastern states of America. She now performs regularly around Europe, the United States and Japan, and has also worked in Syria, Morocco and Western Australia. Known for her affinity with the French baroque, the music of the Iberian Peninsula and English virginals music, she has performed on most of the playable virginals surviving in Britain and is working on a long-term project to collect a book of contemporary English pieces for this instrument.
Tango accordion has a clear icon in the late Astor Piazzolla, but these days Richard Galliano is making a strong case for being the premier jazz accordionist. He's as lyrical as one needs, swings like mad, or brings tempos down to a sensual jog with passion and soul. When called upon, he can play a gut-wrenching tango or two himself. For this effort he's joined by two different crack rhythm sections, the brilliant Jean-François Jenny-Clark and Daniel Humair (seven tracks), or the slightly cut below Remi Vignolo and Andre Ceccarelli (four tracks), bass and drums respectively. It's not hard to hear a distinctly French but improvisationally Americanized sound. The lone standard, "You Must Believe in Spring", is one of many waltzes, but this one jumps from second to fifth gear, Galliano rapidly flying through the changes. The title track is also quick, with "Augusta" more a sprightly 3/4, while "L'Envers du Décor" is an easier modal three beat. Nods to Brazilian Hermeto Pascoal are heard on his composition "Bébé" and the mallets on drums and heavy conga beat-based fanfare and theme of "Passarinho".
Sylvie Vartan is an iconic, award-winning Bulgarian-French pop singer and actress whose signature singles "La Plus Belle Pour Aller Danser," "Si Je Chante," "Zoom Zoom Zoom," and "Irresistiblement" are classics of 20th century European pop. She established herself as a yé-yé idol and transformed herself into a superstar show-woman during the '70s covering British and American rock hits in French; she developed into a fine interpreter of works by songwriters from Alain Goraguer and Jacques Brel to Serge Gainsbourg, Pierre Barouh, Charles Aznavour, and her late ex-husband Johnny Hallyday.