Rolf Schimmermann - JENESAISQUOI
Jazz - Europe


The Jenesaisquoi Project displays to remarkable effect another side of the song writing and arranging talents of Swiss keyboard virtuoso Rolf Schimmermann. The melodic, soulful side of his character is centre stage, with the spotlight falling on the stunning vocal talent of Sam Howard, a new torch singer who hails from Bath, but who comes spiritually from Philadelphia.

Making his presence felt throughout is Ray Russell on guitar. He manages to create a simultaneously soulful and bluesy feel without drawing attention away from the core melodies. Fellow B&W Music artist, Mark Jefferis, guests as vocalist on 'A Dream of You', which, as lyricist, he invests with particular feeling over a richly textured arrangement featuring Andy Mackintosh on sax.

A trio of superb instrumental tracks - 'Radio Guga', 'Jam Tomorrow' and 'Kodo Village' - remind one of the pioneering role Rolf Schimmermann has established in the area of using keyboards and percussion to complement each other. Of course, having someone like Simon Phillips on drums is a major asset and here is evidence of why he's regarded as one of the best session drummers in the world right.

An African mood pervades 'Take me Home', where the distant drum sound is provided by Steve Parker's percussion loop and provides an opportunity for Tony Roberts on recorder and bass clarinet and Stuart Brookes on trumpet to create a uniquely mellow sound, with a suggestion of the firmness of the African continent itself underneath their delicate windsong, and for the vocal section to convey all the wistfulness and sense of destiny that the song deserves.

It is numbers like 'Finally' and 'Spinning', however, that linger in the mind, with simple yet effective arrangements allowing the memorable vocal performance of Sam Howard to reach the listener without any distraction so that the total is much bigger than the parts. Great songs, inspired musicians and an unforgettable vocalist: Jenesaisquoi is sheer bliss on the ears.

Rolf Schimmermann Piano/Keyboards/Synthesizer percussion
Sam Howard Vocals
Ray Russell Guitars/Electric bass/Additional keyboards
Simon Phillips Drums
Mo Foster Five string bass
Tony Roberts Soprano sax
Graham Preskett Blues harp
Andy Mackintosh Sax
Stuart Brookes Trumpet
Miriam Stockley Backing vocals
Mark Jefferis Backing vocals

Track listing:

  1. Caravan of Wonder (4:41)
  2. Faster and Higher (3:16)
  3. The Soul of the Desert (Pta. Cruz) (4:15)
  4. Finally (Lyrics) (5:04)
  5. Spinning (Lyrics) (4:02)
  6. Thank You (Lyrics) (5:29)
  7. Radio Guga (1:31)
  8. Rodo Village (4:28)
  9. Jam Tomorrow (3:04)
  10. A Dream of You (Lyrics) (5:11)
  11. I Miss You (Lyrics) (4:57)
  12. Take Me Home, Pts. 1 & 2 (8:45)