Brigitte Zarie’s New Album “Marie” Shows How Love Transcends All
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,” could only happen at this juncture in Brigitte’s songwriting career. Dedicated to her beloved mother Marie, who recently passed away, this deeply stirring collection of 12 songs explores a range of emotions, once again highlighting Brigitte’s lyrical and compositional prowess and her lush, evocative vocals. Brigitte’s mother Marie, a singer, chef, and French teacher who hailed from Casablanca, Morocco, jokingly asked her, “when are you going to write something about me?” At the time, Brigitte shrugged off the question, knowing she’d eventually get around to it. Then, shortly after she lost her mother, the pain was too much to keep bottled up. And so she decided to an album to her. “But the album isn’t just about her, because there’s romantic stuff on there,” said Brigitte. “That would be tres-bizarre.” But the song and eponymous title track, “Marie,” is definitely about her. “The gift that she gave to me—my love of singing and writing songs and composing—is what I am giving her,” said Brigitte. What makes the song even more special is the fact that it’s a duet with legendary Algerian-French singer Enrico Macias, one of her mother’s favorite performers. “If my mother were here today, she’d totally freak out,” said Brigitte. The song fell into place effortlessly. Brigitte called, played him a demo, and asked if he’d perform a duet with her. Macias agreed to it on the spot, causing Brigitte to remark, “I thought I was hearing things.” Since Macias was performing in New York, the two wound up recording the song there and “it all fell into place,” said Brigitte. Another song, “Pretend,” also centers around Brigitte’s mother. “Every single thing I was doing after she passed away became mechanical, as I concealed how I really felt. I was just pretending, because I was in so much pain.” It’s this kind of raw, unflinching honesty and emotional courage that Brigitte brings to all of her material. On her debut album “Make Room For Me, there was confidence and a bold, big band swagger. On “L’Amour,” her follow up effort, she explored love and sensuality in all of its many themes. Now, with “Marie,” her work once again taps into the deep reservoir of her own life and personal experience. “You have to suffer to evolve. I’ve had my share of life. And it gave me some more songs. Period.”
Songs like “Movin On’” a plush, expansive number about a person Brigitte is moving beyond. “Kiss,” a campy, playful plea for one last embrace. “Paris,” which is about her love of the city, as well as her husband and the love they have shared there. And another duet, this time with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Steve Tyrell. “Duets give someone else a chance to shine, and I love to hear other people’s talent as they interpret my lyrics.”
But when it comes to talent, there is no doubt that it is Brigitte that is front and center, with “Marie,” her third album that transforms loss into love, and a work that once again cements her position as one of the jazz world’s most beloved, unforgettable and original artists.