Cyrille Aimée Live (Mack Avenue)
Cyrille Aimée is not a gypsy, but she has Roma fervor and intensity reminiscent of Django Reinhardt’s. It’s no wonder; when she was a little girl in northern France she sneaked out at night to join the neighborhood gypsies who sang and played around their campfires. Some of them had known Reinhardt. Their spirit has never left her. She combines it with intensity and accuracy of musicianship that compel the audience to occasionally participate in this performance at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge nightclub. Whether they are reinventing pieces by Stephen Sondheim, Michael Jackson or Thelonious Monk, the singer and her band transmit their infectious joy at making music. Aimée’s and guitarist Michael Valeanu’s “Each Day” is a highlight, as is the band’s nearly eight minutes of joyous complexity in Monk’s “Well, You Needn’t (It’s Over Now)”. Indeed, the album itself is a highlight of the year.