Listen to La Dégustation
A singer, guitarist and songwriter, Eliane Amherd has formally studied jazz, but also embraces Latin, African and Brazilian ideas into her unique song craft, and here Amanda Ruzza, Rose Avila, Bashiri Johnson, and Pauline Lugon join her for the careful and adventurous listen.
“Gamaret” opens the listen with no shortage of rhythm, as Amherd’s powerful pipes guide the soulful, psychedelic climate, and “Humagne Rouge” follows with Rosa Avila’s agile drumming highlighting the cultured landscape.
In the middle, “Cornalin” benefits much from Bashiri Johnson’s pretty percussion as the calmer delivery is quite soothing, while “Johannely Fy” showcases Amanda Ruzza’s playful bass lines amid the cozy atmosphere that’s a bit funky.
Approaching the end, “Flee Flailing” is full of breezy melodies that are executed with warmth, and “Quarantini Time” exits the listen with a festive spirit that’s energetic, memorable and displays the band’s worldly vision.
A listen where no tracks run the same course, Amherd sings in French, English, and Walliser Titsch, the Swiss-German dialect spoken in the upper valley of canton Valais, and together with the esteemed players it makes for a groove filled and passionate endeavor.
O's Notes: This is a retro rock/jazz effort led by Swiss composer, guitarist and vocalist Eliane Amherd. She now resides in New York where she’s lighting up the adult contemporary scene with a high-energy approach. Wine is the focus of La Dégustation with each song reflecting the flavor and spirit of a specific wine. It’s an interesting approach with a light, bubbly karma that is festive.
O's Place Jazz Magazine
ELIANE AMHERD/La Degustation: She might look like a folkie that’s been writing out in the woods but she’s a modern AOR rocker that freely genre splices where needed and really wants to rock your world. Some new, interesting stuff on tap here.
....The album opens with “Gamaret,” which has a funky element. Gamaret is a type of wine created in 1970, and the music finds some of its inspiration from that year, with references to Jimi Hendrix, both in the lyrics and in the guitar work. It’s a fun track, no question, and she playfully describes the wine, addressing it (and the grapes) directly: “You were meant to blend/Such a peppery tease/You’re so resilient/Standing your ground with ease.” That’s followed by “Humagne Rouge,” named after a wild, rustic wine. Her delivery here has a seductive quality to match lyrics like “with your dark smoky eyes,” and some of the lyrics are sung in French, which somehow is just inherently sexy. There is also something wonderfully playful here, as when she adds “shooby dooby doo” at one point. When she sings “I gave up that fight/To resist your charms/I was lost in your arms,” is she singing about a person or the wine, or both? The style of this track has something of a Santana flavor at times. Then “Heida” has a delightful vibe, and some great percussion. This grape is known by the name Traminer in Germany, and Eliane Amherd sings this one in German. I’m not sure what she’s saying here, but I love it all the same, and this track ends up being one of my favorites. This wine is said to have the power to make people ridiculously happy. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t attest to such a power, but I can promise you this song has that ability....