From the minute she first heard jazz, Brigitte Zarie knew what her purpose was in life: to follow her heart and pursue the music she loved. With parents originally from Casablanca, Morocco—her father was a multi-instrumentalist while her mother was a singer and French teacher—and a grandmother from Spain, it’s no wonder she was raised in a home alive with exotic rhythm and melody. And, of course, singing, especially with nine other siblings to play and perform with. “My brother Joe used to play guitar and make me sing and make up words to everything he would play,” says Brigitte. “And my brother Danny always had Stan Getz playing, so I was writing songs since day one.”
As a child, a defining moment for Brigitte occurred when her family traveled to Buffalo, NY to buy dresses for her sister Marcelle’s wedding. “My parents had just bought a brand-new van and my brothers and sisters pressured them to let us sleep in it because it’d be more fun than staying in a hotel while we waited for the stores to open. And across the street was a jazz club. I remember hearing this be-bop music and loving it while my folks were asleep. I was really stunned by what I heard. I tried to stay up and listen to every note that was played. I can still hear and see that night as clear as day. I know I was supposed to be in that exact spot, listening to that music for a reason.”
From that moment on, Brigitte answered her calling, devoting herself to creating the music she was so struck by as a young girl. She kept singing and crafting songs, many of which were recorded by other artists. She played in bands and was a featured vocalist in films and commercials. She even explored other musical genres. But throughout it all, jazz remained her utmost passion, and she began to focus exclusively on her own material. “Douglas Cross wrote ‘I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” she states, unabashedly, “but it was his heart that he left, not mine.” Seeking to express the experiences of her own life, she penned the songs that would become her debut CD “Make Room For Me,” a searingly emotional collection offering an originality uncommon in the world of jazz. Her second album, “L’Amour,” struck an even deeper emotional chord with its theme of love in its many forms. And now, with her third effort, “Marie,” devoted to her beloved mother, Brigitte’s songwriting shows further dimension and emotive range. With new material, ranging from playful can-can jaunts and poignant love songs to classic ballads and even duets with legendary French singer Enrico Macias and a big band number with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Steve Tyrell, “Marie” showcases Brigitte’s vocal prowess and songcraft in ways like never before. Once again, her ability to write original lyrics and tell stories culled from her own experiences and observations about life captivate audiences. Brigitte finds inspiration in the joy, the glory, and yes, the pain that being alive involves, and in her latest effort she confronts these emotions with unabashed courage and confidence. The result is a listening experience that is warm, uplifting, and unforgettable. Brigitte Zarie. A
songwriter who moves the heart, stirs the soul, and is the timeless voice of whole new generation of jazz.
Love. It’s what gets us through life. And what gets us through loss. Perhaps that is why so many songwriters have used the theme of loss and how love inevitably conquers it to tell their personal stories. Jazz chanteuse and composer Brigitte Zarie is no exception.
Her latest album, “Marie,”...