Understanding Jazz with Cyrille Aimeé

Winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival’s Vocal Competition, the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition, finalist in the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition and heralded by the The Wall Street Journal as “one of the most promising jazz singers of her generation,” Cyrille Aimeé will make her debut at the Lesher Center for the Arts in this August’s Jazz at the Lesher Series. 

“Jazz has a reputation for being a kind of music for people who KNOW music, but thats not true,” says Aimeé.

People often hear the word “Jazz” and immediately assume that they do not like or understand it, but this American-born genre is more accessible than it seems, and oozes with cultural and historical relevancy. Primarily instrumental, Jazz asks of its audience members a level of attentiveness that modern concert-goers can be squeamish about. Complex harmonies, meters and forms not usually heard in pop music tend to sneak their way into your evening o’ Jazz, but all that is really required to get the most out of the music, is to feel it.

“The best way way to appreciate any kind of music is to go to a live show and to sit in the front row and to try to really get the energy and the emotion of the musician,” said Aimeé “That’s a particular way of understanding what it means. Its just about feeling.”

Aimeé describes jazz as an art form that requires an artist to be “fully in the moment, present and free.”

Born and raised in Samois-sur-Seine, Aimeé snuck out her window to play music with the gypsies who came to town for the annual Django Reinhardt Festival.

Though she is known for her Gypsy Jazz, Aimeé does not categorize herself that way, or any way for that matter. “I just call myself an artist, period. Jazz is not a category of music. It’s a way to play music. For me it’s just a way of playing music in a freely. You can play the same song every single day for the rest of your life and it’ll never sound the same because you never feel the same.”

Aimeé’s sound has been, and continues to be influenced by  all kinds of places, experiences and artists. ” I am influenced by many Latin artists and by French music. Dirty Dancing, Sound of Music. I am influenced by people, travels and experiences. Everything is kind of inspiring to me.”

Listen to this DRAA exclusive behind the scenes podcast with Cyrille Aimeé and come see her live on August 12 at the LCA!