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Strange Fruit is a project of the Protean composer-saxophonist Fabrizio Cassol, which takes the form of a concept album that could be described as ‘World Opera’. This songbook was elaborated over a period of more than four years, in the company of a group of renowned singers who wrote or co-wrote each piece in their own, very different expressive and stylistic traditions. The title, Strange Fruit, refers to the song of the same name, majestically embodied by Billie Holiday, which remains an essential musical masterpiece as well as a humanistic symbol. On the album we fi nd an inspired version of the original, dating from before ‘Lady Day’ along with another, a sort of colourful fresco inspired by her interpretation as well as by Bach chorales or Malian men’s choruses, and accompanied by the heavenly voices of the forty girls of La Choraline.
The association between Strange Fruit and Some Days, a poem by James Baldwin and a major piece of inner feeling, doubt and the possibility of a salutary catharsis, creates an axis, a ‘mirror of sense’, around which are woven the other themes such as spirituality (‘Sehet Jesus’, ‘If Jesus...’), passionate love (‘Soukora’), the call to gather and freedom (‘Didadi horns’), poverty, abandon, child neglect (‘Les enfants de la rue’), dreams and self-questioning (‘I can’t sleep tonight’), celebration and respect for elders (‘Farka’).
The album, originally released on the prestigious Blue Note label (2012), was produced by the pianist Eric Legnini.