2013 Taichung Festival Artists Spotlight
French jazz diva Anne Ducros
set to charm local audiences
Words by Douglas Habecker
Translated by Angel Pu
As is often the case with great artistic achievers, French diva Anne Ducros appears to have discovered her talent for and love of jazz in a roundabout fashion. For this native of Pas-de-Calais, early musical and vocal foundations in France were classical in nature, with further refinement of her vocal skills taking place while she was studying law at the University of Lille. Instead of jazz, though, her focus at that point was at the other end of the musical spectrum, exploring Baroque artists like Bach, Couperin and Rameau.
Her first exposure to vocal jazz came in 1986. This in turn led to the creation of her first jazz quartet, with which she joined a number of international competitions. It wasn't long before she was earning prizes for her performances at various festivals--encouragement that launched a full-fledged jazz career, including a growing number of concerts and her first vocal jazz album, "Don't You Take a Chance" in 1989.
This release was followed by an eruption of jazz-related endeavors, from touring, performing and collaborations with a variety of artists to becoming a jazz educator herself, teaching vocal jazz in Paris, holding master-classes and, starting in 1994, managing Prelude, the first school of vocal jazz in the French capital.
The past two decades have seen further recordings, such as "Purple Song" in 2001, "Close Your Eyes" in 2003, her 2005 U.S. debut "Piano...piano", or her fifth album, the American-flavored "Urban Tribe", recorded in New York in 2007 and released to critical acclaim and commercial success with her interpretations of songs like The Beatles' "Sexy Sadie" and the Otis Redding classic, "Dock of the Bay". Many of these albums have seen her collaborating with fellow jazz greats like harmonica player Toots Thielemans and pianists Chick Corea, Jacky Terrasson, Enrico Pieranunzi and Rene Urtreger. Along the way, she has also won numerous awards, including several "best vocal artist" prizes.
Throughout her career, Ducros has proven herself to be a versatile vocalist, mixing jazz standards, pop songs or classical compositions, as well as mastering scat to the point that she has been hailed as a "white Ella Fitzgerald" in Europe. This formidable talent, combined with a wonderfully sensuous stage presence and good sense of humor, promises that Anne Ducros will deliver a tremendous performance for her audience in Taichung.
Anne Ducros will perform at the Taichung Jazz Festival on Saturday, October 19 at 8:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. For more information about the 2013 Taichung Jazz Festival, please visit the official Chinese-English website, www.taichungjazzfestival.com.tw