Since 2004, the organist Rhoda Scott has been at the helm (sparked by an idea from Jazz à Vienne) of the torrid and well-named Lady Quartet, in the company of her Amazons Lisa Cat-Berro, Julie Saury and Sophie Alour. As euphoric and punchy as her young companions in the heat of the action, Rhoda Scott is one of the few still to use the pedals on her Hammond organ. Hence her nickname, “the barefoot organist” (or “the absolute toe” in the words of Luigi Trussardi!). After helping to raise the temperature in French jazz venues for the past 50 years, Lady Scott will be celebrating her eightieth birthday this year. She’ll be blowing out the boogie candles and setting the gospel cake and soulful chorus on fire. The organist is the daughter of a travelling pastor from New Jersey and grew up in religious communities. She graduated with a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and set off for France to complete her studies with Nadia Boulanger. Back in New York, she began by playing with Count Basie. But then she decided to try her luck in Paris, where she arrived right in the month of May 1968. Featuring original compositions and covers ranging from Trenet to Wayne Shorter, “We Free Queens” (2017), with the title proudly adapted from “We Free Kings” by Roland Kirk, was recorded live. For Vienne a Lady All-Stars is billed, with Airelle Besson (trumpet), Géraldine Laurent (tenor saxophone) and Anne Pacéo (drums), plus the drummer Bernard Purdie.
Line-up : Rhoda Scott (org), Airelle Besson (tp), Lisa Cat-Berro (as), Géraldine Laurent (as), Sophie Alour (ts) et Julie Saury (dms) + special guest : Bernard Purdie (dms)
Photo : © D.Rebmann