Elsie Parker and
"The Poor People of Paris "
"Elsie Parker and The Poor People of Paris" a St. Louis, Missouri based group, specializes in French popular music and jazz. Elsie Parker, the group's founder, first became enchanted with the voice and songs of Edith Piaf, and especially loves singing Piaf's early songs. Elsie also performs (in French) songs associated with Charles Aznavour, Hervé Vilard, Mireille Mathieu, Michael Legrand, Patricia Kaas, Axelle Red, Jaques Brel, Leo Marjane, Eddy Mitchell, Vanessa Paradis, Gilbert Becaud, Serge Lama, Sylvie Bernard, and Charles Trenet, as well as performing her own original material.
Also a performer on clarinet, bass clarinet, flute. alto flute and tenor saxophone, Elsie's Parker's instrumental playing is influenced by works of French composer/song writer/film music composer Michel Legrand, French jazz clarinetist/saxophonist/film-score writer Michel Portal and by Argentinian tenor saxophonist/composer/film music composer Gato Barbieri.
Internationally, Elsie has been featured on the French TV program, "La Chance Aux Chansons", filmed in Paris and viewed throughout France, French speaking Canada and Africa. Nationally, he has appeared as solo vocalist for Nordstrom's Chicago fashion show, at Chicago's Cultural Society, "Piaf's" in San Francisco, the Iowa City Jazz Festival, "Jazz Under the Stars" concert series in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and for numerous events in the St. Louis area including The Missouri Botanical Gardens Whittaker Concert Series, The Sheldon Theater, The Missouri History Museum, St. Louis First Night and Powell Hall. As a vocal soloist with symphony orchestras, Elsie Parker has performed with orchestras in Missouri, Illinois, and Florida.
Members of "The Poor People of Paris" are Elsie Parker (French vocals/flute/clarinet/tenor saxophone), Ken Kehner (piano), Michael Carosello (keyboard), Wayne Coniglio (bass), Ron Carr, (drums) and Alan Schilling (drums & percussion).
With her group "The Poor People of Paris", Elsie has recorded 4 CDs: "Elle se souvient" (She Remembers) "Entre nous" (Between Us), "Je t'aime encore" (I Love You Still) and "LIVE!"
Click on the following 4 cd icons for sound samples:
Also a performer on clarinet, flute, and saxophone, Elsie's Parker's instrumental playing is influenced by works of French composer/song writer/film music composer Michel Legrand, and by Argentinian tenor saxophonist/composer/film music composer Gato Barbieri.
Internationally, Elsie has been featured on the French TV program, "La Chance Aux Chansons", filmed in Paris and viewed throughout France, French speaking Canada and Africa. Nationally, he has appeared as solo vocalist for Nordstrom's Chicago fashion show, at Chicago's Cultural Society, "Piaf's" in San Francisco, and for numerous events in the St. Louis area. As a vocal soloist with symphony orchestras, Elsie Parker has performed with orchestras in Missouri, Illinois, and Florida.
QUOTES AND REVIEWS
ELSIE PARKER & THE POOR PEOPLE OF PARIS
“Parker can be breathy and coy on one song and strident and forthright on the next; her changing tone enhances the drama. As a saxophonist and flautist, Parker plays sweet, sonorous lines that never step over her backing trio.” The Riverfront Times, Christian Schaeffer
"Elsie's beautiful vocals are perfectly matched to a wide variety of French popular songs... with more than just a touch of jazz." St. Louis Post-Dispatch-Steve Pick
“…Parker sang, almost exclusively in French, while being backed by the
wonderfully tight jazz trio, The Poor People of Paris. Elsie Parker began the
night with the sole English language tune of the night, Cole Porter's "I Love
Paris". Once the tone was set, she began a tour of her favorite artists with
lovely renditions of Aznavour's surprisingly uptempo number "Le Temps", and the
more typical, "Heir Encore". "Sous Le Ceil De Paris (Under Paris Skies)" then
led into the gossipy song, "Les Mauvaises Langues", by the band of the same
Parker broke out her tenor saxophone to wail in bluesy fashion to "Elle Danse Seule", a tale of woe featuring a woman who dances alone. The reveling in misery continued with "Manque D'Amour", which translates loosely into "lacking love" (No, I don't speak French).
Parker then launched into Michel Legrand's catchy hit, "I Will Wait For You", from Jacques Demy's charming movie musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Parker switched to flute for a splendidly improvisational attack on Barbieri's main theme from his score for the film Last Tango in Paris. After a few more fine and memorable numbers, Parker began the last section of the show with a tribute to the legendary Edith Piaf. First up, was an instrumental piece from composer Christopher Gunning, that appeared in the acclaimed bio-pic, La Vie En Rose. Emotionally rendered takes on "Milord", "La Vie En Rose", "Fais-Moi Valser" and "Padam...Padam..." brought the evening to a close on a powerful and uplifting note.The Poor People of Paris provided exquisite backing for this jazzy excursion through France. Pianist Michael Carosello played with impeccable timing and sensitivity, tossing in tasty solos to complement Parker's work on sax and flute. Wayne Coniglio added bottom and swing to the mix with expert work on string bass, plucking and bowing to great effect. Alan Schilling marveled on drums, keeping the rhythm with sticks, brushes and his bare hands, and playfully adding flourishes with a variety of percussive instruments. Schilling is like a chef behind his kit, tossing in ingredients to add flavor and spice, as well as texture. Together, the group gives the songs a wonderful energy and atmosphere. KDHX Radio review Chris Gibson reviewing a live performance June 27, 2008 at The Cabaret at Savor
“Her warm vibrant French melodies... will blow you away." Intermission Magazine
“These four musicians have recently released a strong CD, “Je T'aime Encore” (the third Poor People album, but the first with this group)…"I'd like it to be that people who don't understand a word of French can enjoy it," said Parker, "and be transported to a different place where it's a language of love, and there aren't any problems and it's just a beautiful place. It's a land of love and mystery and beautiful sounds."” St. Louis Magazine July 2008- Steve Pick
“Je l'ai trouvé particulièrement intéressant vocalement et musicalement, le choix de ses chansons est excellent et son interprétation de "INSENSIBLEMENT" est magnifique et particulièrement séduisante.” “I found it particularly interesting vocally and musically, the choice of the songs is excellent and her interpretation of "Insensiblement" is magnificant and particularly seductive.” André Bernard , producer of "LA CHANCE AUX CHANSONS" Paris TV program
“Elsie Parker is gaining a great reputation and following for her work, often being compared to legendary French singer Edith Piaf. Her success lead her to appearing on French television to rave reviews and finishing two CDs entitled Entre Nous (Between Us) and Elle se souvient (She Remembers). There was no problem if you didn't speak French, her music was complimented as being accessible to non-speakers as well” KDHX Reviewer
“Thank you …, I’ve played it and it’s lovely!” Christopher Gunning, composer, on Elsie Parker and the Poor People of Paris performance of his music “Lisieux” from the Academy Award winning movie “La Vie En Rose”
"Elsie ...sings as strongly as the great Edith Piaf of bygone days." Folkfire Reviews Andrew Limanni
"Parisians went wild over hometown singer Elsie Parker's recent appearance on the Paris television program "La Chance aux Chansons" The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Paul Hample,
"Cabaret singing that will make you think you're in a Paris cafe..." First Night, Grand Center
“Parker does an excellent job of selling each song even to “French-challenged” listeners.”-Eileen Duggan, Central West End Word
“Une chanteuse originale…une vedette” “An original singer… a star.”- Pascal Sevran, “La Chance aux Chansons.” Paris TV
Review of June 08 performance at Cabaret at "SAVOR"
KDHX review Aug 2007 Harvest Sessions Concert Series