Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spotlight: Burt Bacharach & Traincha

He is a legendary pianist and composer whose musical career has spanned 5 glorious decades. She is a Dutch jazz singer who joined the industry after participating in an amateur music contest with her brother in 1990. Together, Burt Bacharach and Trijntje Oosterhuis (otherwise known as Traincha) has put together a most definitive collection of Bacharach's classic and more recent tunes through the albums THE LOOK OF LOVE (2006) and WHO'LL SPEAK FOR LOVE (2008).

Ok, I am a self-confessed, die-hard Bacharach fan, and I have purchased nearly all the recent tribute albums to the man who made complex chord progressions and multi-meter fashionable in popular music. There was SHAGADELIC BACHARACH (2001) from the Australian mainstream jazz group, Steve Newcomb Trio. Then came LONG AGO TOMORROW (2003) from the Irish singer with the smooth pipes, Siobhan Pettit. More recently, there was BACK TO BACHARACH (2008) from Grammy-winning Steve Tyrell, who used to produce for Bacharach himself. But I will dare to say that Tarincha's tributes are for me, the most fascinating.

Traincha's collaboration with Bacharach began when her record label sent the composer a disc and DVD featuring the singer, and a request for him to allow her to record his music and for him to appear in the project. Bacharach admits that he approaches with trepidation the prospect of artists recording a full album of his songs.  But after having watched the DVD, Bacharach declared, "I was blown away."  After recently purchasing THE LOOK OF LOVE and receiving through my sister (who recently came home from the U.S.) a copy of WHO'LL SPEAK FOR ME, so was I.

What I particularly appreciate about the albums is the successful attempt to keep the original spirit of Bacharach's music alive. This is brought out especially through the lavish arrangement and performance of the Metropole Orchestra that accompanies Traincha in every track. Thus, you hear the familiar horns, the sweeping strings, an occasional harp, some brush drums, a timpani, even Bacaharach's fingers on the ivories. This of course is not to say that the songs are mere replicas of the originals. On the contrary, while we hear similar instruments, the arrangements remain fresh and contemporary, putting a twist to the songs we have grown to love.

And what about the singer? Traincha rivals Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield with her unique interpretation of Bacharach. Hers is a richly-textured tone that soars as effortlessly as it does plunge, leading the listener through the peaks and valleys of Bacharach's emotional tunes. if you have not listened to Traincha, I urge you to look for her albums. It is easy being enamored by her voice, one that has learned to tell a most moving story with a most moving instrument.

While THE LOOK OF LOVE contains more of the classic Bacharach hits, WHO'LL SPEAK FOR LOVE has more contemporary tunes including the title track, which was written specifically for Traincha. Have a listen. Through Traincha, you will remember why you fell in love with Bacharach in the first place. 


Allan Dy said...

Enjoyed reading this Norms--thanks! I just recently saw her rendition of "Don't you worry 'bout a thing" in youtube and I wasn't that impressed, well at least compared to her "Where is the love?" version with another of your favorites, Raul Midon. But she is still awesome. And oh, I like Raul now too, really -- thanks to you again. = )

Norman Agatep said...

Hey there, Allan. Visit my multiply to listen tracks from these two albums! : )

Anonymous said...

Trijntje is nominated for a Grammy for The Look Of love!

Norman Agatep said...

Cool! I sure hope she wins! : )