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Il y a tout juste vingt ans, maître de l’esprit Nova et des nuits parisiennes, Sir Ali jetait un pavé dans la mare musicale en offrant un métissage jazzistico-cabaret-swing. Vingt ans plus tard, Frémeaux & Associés remet à la disposition du public ces enregistrements iconoclastes qui avaient métissés Paris d’amour !

Patrick Frémeaux

Un fanatique du swing. Fidèle à l’esprit des grands orchestres de la “Swing Era”, Sir Ali et ses girls proposent le parcours idéal : de Harlem au harem. Avec ses irrésistibles girls et une section de saxos qui débite les riffs les plus torrides, Sir Ali jette en éclatant de rire dans sa marmite orchestrale tout ce qui fait la beauté et la folie du jazz. Il nous fait la totale : samba, rythm and blue, salsa, soul, standards éternels…
Gilles Anquetil - Le Nouvel Observateur, 1989

Barman de tous les cocktails de timbres et de rythmes, mélangeur de Vie en rose et de Rossini, détourneur d’Air Mail Special et autres Flying Home… Sir Ali (…) a l’obsession plurielle.
Philippe Carles - Jazz Magazine, 1990

Sir Ali’s Girls

Sir Ali’s Girls
Just a gigolo 

Objectif Swing
Mozart fucker
Brouilleur de pistes, brouilleur de swing, Sir Ali est le personnage le plus réjouissant de la scène jazzy d’aujourd’hui. Imaginez un Cab Calloway des années 80 qui serait né à Téhéran. Car cet enfant de la Perse, qui pousse le vice jusqu’à parler le français avec l’accent yankee, est un fanatique. Un fanatique du swing. Fidèle à l’esprit des grands orchestres de la “swing era”, Sir Ali et ses girls proposent le parcours idéal : de Harlem au harem. Avec ses irrésistibles girls et une section de saxos qui débite les riffs les plus torrides, Sir Ali jette en éclatant de rire dans sa marmite orchestrale tout ce qui fait la beauté et la folie du jazz. Il nous fait la totale : samba, rythm and blue, salsa, soul, standards éternels. Sir Ali passe sans transition d’une version gag de “Blue Monk” à une parodie du thème musical de la série télévisée “Mission Impossible”. Avec ce diable d’homme-orchestre, tout est possible. Attention fête !
Gilles Anquetil (Le Nouvel Observateur, 1989)

Barman de tous les cocktails de timbres et de rythmes, mélangeur de Vie en rose et de Rossini, détourneur d’Air Mail Special et autres Flying Home, entremetteur (et en boîtes : Eléphant Blanc, Bains, aujourd’hui New Morning) de jam-sessions, saxophone marmelades et autres bœufs sur un toit brûlant, contrebandier de transes musicales, metteur en scène et en sons des modes (hier Emanuel Ungaro aujourd’hui Angelo Tarlazzi), dissecteur-créateur de monstres musicaux frankensteiniens, Sir Ali – né le 31 Juillet 1953, émigré aux Etats-Unis dix-sept ans plus tard, Parisien depuis 1981 – chanteur, saxo­phoniste, leader, organisateur meneur de spec­tacles, a l’obsession plurielle. Pour cet Américain  à Paris d’origine persane, rien n’est simple, tout est pluriel et passible de fusion, et sous son chapeau se cachent d’innombrables casquettes. Car il procède par superposition et accumulation, ou “métissage” systématique et effréné. Le polyglottisme de ses girls, son franglais très “hip”, la diversité de ses invités et sa très joyeuse et méthodique entreprise de dépaysement nous rappellent que le jazz est né d’une immigration, puis d’un inévitable braconnage et qu’après tout Babel reste un exemple à méditer.
Philippe Carles (Jazz Magazine, 1990) 

1. Mambo de Paris (Kennedy-Alstone) 3’30 Solistes : D. Barbier (flûte),  G. Fellove (trompette), J.M. Bernard (piano) 
2. Baby Elephant Walk  (H. Mancini-B. Dega-M. Mondan) 2’44 Soliste : P. Mimran (sax tenor) 
3. Just a Gigolo (Casucci-Brammer-Caesar) 3’29 Soliste : G. Fellove (trompette) 
4. Stormy Weather (H.Arlen-T.Koehler) 4’30 Lead vocal : E. Kontomanou ; soliste :  J.M. Proust (sax baryton) 
5. Our very first date (Sir Ali) /  ma pomme (Borel-Clerc) 2’00 
6. Sixteen tons (Trad.) 3’43 Solistes : G. Baudet (trompette),  J.M. Bernard (orgue) 
7. Boogie in stereo (John Hartford-Sir Ali) 0’41 
8. Begin the beguine (C. Porter) 1’33 Soliste : D. Barbier (flûte) 
9. Naughty little flee (M. Makeba) 4’10 Soliste : D. Barbier (flûte alto),  P. Mimran (flûte) ; Lead vocal : B. Gorden
10. Blue Monk (Th. Monk-Sir Ali) 3’53  Soliste : W. Treve (trombone) ; scat : Sir Ali 
11. La vie en rose (Louiguy-Piaf) 4’03 
12. Quizás quizás quizás (M. Sarres) 2’33 Lead vocal : G. Renoir ; soliste :  G. Fellove (trompette)  
13. Tequila (C. Rio) 1’58 
14. What a beautiful mornin’  (Tex Avery in Oklahoma) 0’41 

Collaboration & trust for passion, is the moral of our story: making the record was a piece of cake, but without the collaboration and attention this multi-layered cake, rotating on your set, would have been a pudding! This classic is dedicated to my Duke E., my monk: Th. Monk, my queen: Regine S. And also to my High Priest: Jon Hendricks.  
Sir Ali 

Mambo de Paris: Naturally we start our cocktail hour with a sweet and spicy Franglais tableau, illustrating how the folks in “Gay Paree” love the Ooooh and Mambooo ! From la Chapelle des Lombards (the capital of colourful dancing) to Emanuel Ungaro (the captain of colourful fashion)… It’s not too fast and not too slow, not too hard nor too soft… just staying in a permanent state of La vie en Rose ! 

Baby Elephant’s Walk: John Wayne’s naughty little elephants in Hatari, were the first to shake their bodies along with this springy twist. Then, from Quincy Jones to Harry James to… all the dance halls, from the Bronx to Timbuktu to… every one did the “Elephant Walk”… before it was sucked into  history’s trunk! To re-tickle the past, the tune needed a boost-up, a set of lyrics and a decent refrain. As the elephant sax and tympani crashed into one another, papa elephant was born acoustically in the studio. 

Just a Gigolo: Here it is finally, the real, and yet not the original version of the everlasting hit! Yes, the original gigolo was found in tango saloons and not in swing clubs… The hip tango gigolo’s ego also got the disco and mambo… While the moaning bounce in limbo! 

Stormy weather: As Jon Hendricks would put it: “This number needs no introduction… So we ain’t gonna give it none”… Only them unlucky souls, departed before “Stormy Weather” was written have no heard this ultimate monument of melo-cinematic, Holywoodian-jazz, ballad suite! Yet the only complete performance was given only once by Lena Horne, for the original motion picture. Here the piece is more of a suite, going through four transformations. Between the soupy opening ballad and the closing dirty blues, Latin heat-wave pulses away and a swing hurricane jumps around! But wait there’s someone dancing in the rain… another’s singing from heaven (or is it Broadway!)… And for them serious Jazz freaks the swing section horn interlude is strongly recommended! 

Our First date / Ma Pomme: Of course it’s an “absurdly corny” or “absurd yet corny” original interlude that abuses Chevalier’s anthem as sauce-thickener!

Sixteen Tons: In all modesty, this must be the funkiest, the chunkiest and most up roaring re-incarnation of any “work song/Miner’s lament”! 

Boogie in stereo: To end the first side (of the  original LP) in stereo. 

Begin the Beguine: According to the Guinness book of records, Cole Porter’s charming monster remains as the longest living song in history. Therefore we present its shortest version by only beginning to begin the Beguine. 

Naughty little flea: I’ve always loved Harry Belafonte, so reworking an original Calypso was not such an odd idea, especially the particular sweet + silly Trinidad air, borrowed from Myriam Makeba. With a little help from my friends, parts were translated into French (for double pleasure). The tale follows the joys of a flea that went to a Bardot-show, sitting on his favourite doggie’s knee. 

Blue Monk: Monk’s music is unique in all senses: simple and complex, rich in fibre, adapt to all forms and rhythms and always angularly personal. My word on his most magical theme, are merely a personal homage to the man’s character, his music… and their hum-ability! It begins with soul collaboration from Stan Kenton and Perez Prado. In all evidence Basie and Braxton share the Encore! Centred between a R&B plucking of electric bass and organ on one side, a Latin walking acoustic bass and piano on the other, a whole mass of horns & voices provoke a  dangerous see-saw motion that only Monk’s tune can give balance to. 

La vie en rose: Well, it’s life… and it’s rosy!... Simple and straight… gay and bluesy… Full of ups & downs… From keys to strings… on a sonata out of the moon light. 

Quizas, quizas: Unlike the other songs, this ultimate classic of the Latin empire remains very roots a clear spot… even the constant switch between straight salsa and flamenco-funko is effortless. 

Tequila/do-wap: Take a drink… Do the Scooby doo… Wap do-wap… it’s the high hour of the carnival… Voices and voices… Percussions and more beats… it’s a beasty feast… take two tequilas… 

What a beautiful mornin’: to return to the first side of the LP! (Yes LP, this album was conceptua­lized originally as a vinyl) Sir Ali 

Musiciens :
Sir Ali : Leader, Vcl, Elephant Sax.
Elisabeth Kontomanou : Vcl.
Cathy Renoi : Vcl.
Bessie Gordon : Vcl.
Guy “mimile” Baudet : Tp.
Guiliermo Fellove : Tp.
William Trève : Tb., Vcl.
Denis Barbier : As., Fl. Vcl.
Jean-Michel Proust : Ts., Bar.s.
Pierre Mimran : Ts., Bar.s, Fl.
Cesar Strocio : Bandonéon (10)
Emmanuel Vergeade : G.
Jena-Michel Bernard : P., Org., Synth.
Vincent Charbonnier : Cb
Remy Sarrazin : Basse (2, 6, 10, 12)
Vincent Cordelette : Perc. 
Thierry Harpino : dms. 

Concept musicale et Orchestration : Sir Ali
Arrangements et direction musicale : Jean-Michel Bernard ; sauf 5, 7, 8 : Sir Ali 
Enregistré par Jean-Louis Witas ; mixé par Jean Marnay au Studio J.L. Witas (Chaville) : décembre 1988 et janvier 1989.
Illustration et conception graphique originale : Brian W. Stevens
Photo : Jean-Pierre Favreau
Produit par Jean-Michel Proust et Sir Ali pour Big Blue Records Frémeaux & Associés cessionnaire 2010.

CD Sir Ali’s Girls © Frémeaux & Associés (frémeaux, frémaux, frémau, frémaud, frémault, frémo, frémont, fermeaux, fremeaux, fremaux, fremau, fremaud, fremault, fremo, fremont, CD audio, 78 tours, disques anciens, CD à acheter, écouter des vieux enregistrements, albums, rééditions, anthologies ou intégrales sont disponibles sous forme de CD et par téléchargement.)

EcoutezPisteTitre / Artiste(s)Durée
01 Mambo de Paris - Sir Ali's Girls03'36
02 Baby Elephant Walk - Sir Ali's Girls02'48
03 Just A Gigolo - Sir Ali's Girls03'35
04 Stormy Weather - Sir Ali's Girls04'37
05 Our Very First Date - Sir Ali's Girls02'02
06 Sixteen Tons - Sir Ali's Girls03'48
07 Boogie In Stereo - Sir Ali's Girls00'44
08 Begin The Beguine - Sir Ali's Girls01'34
09 Naughty Little Flee - Sir Ali's Girls04'15
10 Blue Monk - Sir Ali's Girls03'57
11 La vie en rose - Sir Ali's Girls04'08
12 Quizas Quizas Quizas - Sir Ali's Girls02'36
13 Tequila - Sir Ali's Girls02'03
14 What A Beautiful Mornin' - Sir Ali's Girls00'43
"Je ne vous dis que ça !" par On-Mag

"Il y a une vingtaine d'années, un personnage hantait les boîtes chic parisiennes, du genre Les Bains Douches ou l'Eléphant Blanc, amuseur public à la Cab Calloway, danseur, chanteur, joueur d'elephant sax (?), baratineur au français accentué à l'américaine, et surtout détourneur de jazz vers la voie jazz burlesque qu'il suivait du temps d'Helzapoppin. Un jazz qui se convertissait aussi bien en latino s'il le fallait et qui s'y prenait bien. Parmi les musiciens de l'orchestre, des artistes bien connus comme, entre autres, Jean-Michel Proust (bs, ts), Pierre Mimran (ts, bs, fl), César Stroccio, que je préfère avec deux « c », Vincent Charbonnier (b), Vincent Cordelette (perc) ou Thierry Arpino, que je préfère sans « h ». Et trois filles pour lui donner le réplique, Elisabeth Kontomanou, Cathy Renoi et Bessie Gordon. Il y avait un dynamisme dans ces musiques transfigurées qui donnait la fièvre et il faut avoir entendu « Just a Gigolo » en tango, « La Vie en rose » ou « Ma Pomme » mâchonnées plus que chantées pour comprendre la qualité de ce jazz entertainment qui swingue je ne vous dis que ça."
par Michel BEDIN - ON-MAG

"Sir Ali’s Girls are heating up the airwaves" par Paris Passion 1987

“When he arrived in America from his native Persia, the only word of English that Sir Ali knew was “jazz.”  He was familiar with Charles Mingus and Max Roach, but also Frank Zappa, The Kinks, and Samuel Beckett, whose plays he used to direct in Teheran. While studying art in Oklahoma and Chicago, he added “Sir,” the most common Western title, to his given name, Ali, the most common Eastern name, to create his professional pseudonym.  When he goes to England, though, people get upset.  He came to Paris seven years ago and ended up staying. Though he was born under the sign of the lion 33 years ago, Sir Ali chose to ride into 1986 with an elephant.  Long-time disc jockey for Radio Nova, jazz and world music specialist at Actuel magazine, performance artist, theater trickster, and musician, Sir Ali was asked at the beginning of the year to animate the pre-disco hours at the fashionable Les Bains nightclub on Monday and Tuesday evenings.  And so from ten to one, he organized and promoted listening music at his “club within a club,” L’Eléphant Blanc.  From the outset, his program offered a variety of music styles, alternating jazz with chamber music and even comic vocal routines. Ramuntcho Matta brought both a quartet and a modified band to the club.  One constant in both groups was Guillermo Fellove, the endlessly inventive Cuban trumpeter.  Ramuntcho’s music is a rich yet spare fabric of Latin, new wave, and jazz strains stitched together by his own guitar work. Among the crooners who performed at L’Eléphant Blanc were the Melody Four with Lol Coxhill, Tony Coe, and Steve Beresford.  Trombonist Mike Zwerin’s soft trio, Zip, also appeared with Paul Breslin on guitar and the splendid Marten Ingle on bass and most vocals.  They played jazz and pop standards and originals with a light twist. A variety of bands were on the winter program, but Sir Ali’s latest passion, his own exciting ten-piece band, Sir Ali’s Girls, developed an ongoing workshop at the club.  The two horn players, the rhythm section, and the three women singers come from Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa.  Sir Ali himself does some arranging, chooses most of the eclectic repertoire, adds touches on tenor sax, and in his gravel-voiced growl sort of sings.  This group gradually gathered steam, and in early June, they gave a breakout performance at the New Morning. Besides featuring his own group, Sir Ali occasionally hosted various singers and musicians he has worked with, or would like to work with.  He either gave them their own nights at the Eléphant Blanc or built bands around them.  For example, after several evenings with the Japanese tenor sax powerhouse Shimizu Yasuaki, the club offered nights with each of the two vocalists from the workshop band:  Guyanese Véronique Koné and Austrian-Israeli Timna Breuer.  Later on, his program featured the seductive and sparkling French redhead, Sèverine Angèle, a singer who is still with the band.  Other nights included comedian Farid Chopel’s impressions of singers, gypsy violinist-guitarist Claude Alvarez’s band, and sax veteran Barney Wilen’s quartet. Sir Ali also assembled a chamber orchestra for the club, which sometimes provided background for the singers and other times performed alone.  The house band itself usually consisted of Marten Ingle on bass and vocals, Bruce Grant on reeds and woodwinds, Raphael Sanchez on keyboards, and Negrito Trasante on percussion.  Occasional appearances were also made by Zwerin, Fellove, and Sir Ali himself doing his own inimitable vocals. His primary focus, however, has been the band, whose sound he has been blending, mixing, and experimenting with all year long.  Recently he found two new singers:  Natasha Cashman is Irish, and Murel Mondon is mostly Martiniquaise.  Italian keyboard player Claude Arini, who has worked with Johnny Hallyday, also joined the formation, along with French drummer Christophe Gaillot, Puerto Rican conga player Daniel Maldonado, and Zairois bassist Moïse Mupech.  Veterans who have remained include Sèverine Angèle, Fellove, and Denis Barbier, the fluid and very fine player of flute, alto sax, and cello. What the Persian Sir Ali has created in this group is a solution to the Tower of Babel.  The answer lay in music all along.  The singers communicate on many lines, while drawing on quite different cultures, background, and voices.  They are all equally skilled at singing lead, chorus, or taking instrumental lines—Sèverine’s voice follows the trumpet, and Muriel’s the sax; Natasha will soon tag the trombone of Mark Sims, whom Sir Ali wants to add to the band. In their most recent concerts at La Chapelle des Lombards, the dancehouse near the Bastille, Sir Ali’s Girls performed 19 types of music (soul, beguine, salsa, ‘60s pop, samba, calypso, rap, swing, bossa, and more).  The group plays three different repertoires:  besides dance music, they do jazz (their mambo version of “Blue Monk” with lyrics, and “Sophisticated Ladies”) and cabaret (Chevalier and Josephine Baker tunes). Their list of local hits illustrates the group’s range.  There are three versions of “Just a Gigolo”—tango, swing, and hard rap.  From Eartha Kitt, there is “Mambo de Paree,” an old Parisian postcard sung in Franglais, which complements their moden postcard of the city, “Bossa Parissa.”  And from Miriam Makeba comes the calypso “Naughty Little Flea.”  The band also performs the leader’s arrangement of “Sixteen Tons,” the traditional work song from the American South, and his version of Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk,” with new lyrics and music added. Sir Ali’s Girls are indeed heating up the airwaves.  They’ve been getting offers from filmmakers, festival organizers, and jazz clubs, and have just finished mixing their new maxi-single, “Just a Gigolo.” ”

"Des enregistrements iconoclastes dont on se régale" par L'ALSACE

"Editeur du patrimoine sonore, Patrick Frémeaux est un « dénicheur » qui permet de se replonger dans des époques pas si lointaines mais dont on avait oublié les charmesmusicaux… C’était donc il y a 20 ans et Sir Ali régnait sur les boîtes et les nuits parisiennes en proposant unmétissage jazzistico-cabaret-swing joyeuxmais spécialement décalé. Avec le CD Just a gigolo, Sir Ali et ses girls proposent une version très… tango de Just a gigolo en passant par une Vie en rose plus très Piaf mais singulièrement attrayante à causenotamment de la voix étonnante de Sir Ali, né en Perse, émigré auxUSAet devenu Parisien… Un fan de swing qui donne aussi de sacrées versions de Begin the beguine, Stormy Weather ou Quizas quizas quizas… Des enregistrements iconoclastes dont on se régale."
par Jean-Pierre CEREJA - L'ALSACE

« 14 titres pour 40 minutes de dépaysement ! » par Big Bear.

Pour les amateurs de Mambo, Swing, Boogie, Begin, les férus de cabarets  style Amérique du Sud, Sir All’s Girls propose un panel très « tequila ». Très bon orchestre accompagné d’excellents musiciens et chanteuses dignes de l’époque Swing… Cet enregistrement date d’une vingtaine d’années. Ils savent tout faire, que dire de plus ?!... 14 titres pour 40 minutes de dépaysement !
Par Big Bear


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