Close Enough for Love

The Guardian

“Fleurine, the effortlessly musical and coolly unhistrionic multilingual Dutch singer is a performer whose timing and inflection comes from an attentive and intimate absorption of the subtler mechanics of Jazz and her new album Close Enough for Love has plenty of unexpected diversions for that reason.

Take for example her decision to deliver Supertramp’s Logical Song in 5/4 time, and its subsequent bending into an even more unlikely meter by Mehldau’s interventions: somehow their relaxation doesn’t seem to make a big deal of it.

Both Fleurine and Mehldau’s delicacy make an exquisite episode of LeGrands Chanson de Delphine and the Latin pieces gracefully sidestep cliché; the accent on Jazz is very strong.

Mehldau, the most feted pianist of recent times, collected most of the accolades for a blend of oblique jazz grooving, spontaneity and classical purity and his eloquence shapes the disc”.


These two young artists both deserve a vote of thanks for putting so much workmanship and selectivity into this new album. Mehldau, classically trained and open-minded is in good form here. As a sympathetic accompanist taking solos between vocal choruses, his playing is less convoluted and more enjoyable then ever.

Fleurine noted for putting intelligent lyrics to tricky melody lines – as in Better Days Ahead by Pat Metheny- also has a musician’s ear for languages. Her English is perfect, but she also sings three originals plus one of Tom Jobim’s lesser-known numbers Caminhos Cruzados in very good Portuguese and delivers Chanson de Delphine, with music by Michel Legrand and words by Jacques Demy in flawless French.

Most albums benefit from at least one well-known standard, if only as a yardstick for the players improvising styles. In this case it’s Johnny Mandel’s gem Close Enough for Love. Probably chosen as an afterthought but in this case it turns out to be the most charming track on the album.”

“Close Enough for Love”(Universal) de opvolger van haar succesvolle debuut-cd “Meant to Be!”,  maakte Fleurine met jazz-pianist en inmiddels levenspartner Brad Mehldau, met wie ze sinds twee jaar in Los Angeles woont.

Net als Fleurine’s debuutalbum bevat de nieuwe CD bestaande instrumentale stukken waarbij zij teksten schreef, waaronder composities van Mehldau en van Pat Metheny. Verder zingt ze nummers van Supertramp en Jimi Hendrix, en schreef ze haar eerste eigen compositie. Diepgang, gevoel en techniek zijn allen overvloedig aanwezig op “Close Enough for Love”, het karakter ligt minder in de hardbop dan op “Meant to be!”, het album bevat vooral ballades die echter nooit te zoet worden”

Het sprookje van de Nederlandse zangeres Fleurine en de Amerikaanse pianist Brad Mehldau is haast te mooi om waar te zijn. In de goed gevulde Meervaart  in Amsterdam presenteerde Fleurine en Brad Mehldau een selectie van de pas verschenen CD “Close Enough for Love”. De zangeres voorzag Engelse en Portugese teksten van knappe, complexe bebop wendingen. In Jimi Hendrix “Up from the Skies” verraste ze bovenal door een virtuoze timing die korte metten maakte met Hendrix’ ingehouden origineel. Mehldau, verdiept in concentratie, hield zich bij de muziek en toonde zich een geniaal begeleider. Hij nam meer risico’s dan zijn partner, zonder haar ook een moment in de steek te laten. Fleurine is vanaf het begin van haar carrière een  talentvolle en ambitieuze dame geweest, die niet alleen een goede stem heeft, maar ook een fijne neus voor de juiste begeleiders. Een in potentie prachtig duo.

THE GUARDIAN – March 2000   (****recommended!)
The singer Fleurine’s work is full of subtle impact and deft timing. Supertramps The Logical Songsuits her fine timing and deceptive simplicity well, while Mehldau’s solo on this theme had a character quite different from his earlier exploits, a purposeful meditation of short explosive phrases. A Jobim episode brought out the daintier and more lyrical side of Mehldau that appeals to Keith Jarrett fans, and his rising cadence to meet with Fleurine’s returning thematic line ( he began it when he saw her rising from the unobtrusive backstage crouch she often adopted during his soloing) was an exquisite piece of anticipation and empathy. The singer effortlessly ran her jazz credentials past the audience on bop evergreen Anthropology (she sometimes recalls the instrument-like agility of vintage Annie Ross), and Mehldau brought down the house with his break on it, intertwining lines of such clamorous clarity and drive as to suggest a studio sample of half a dozen scalding jazz solos rather then a single one orchestrated by an improvising giant on the fly.


“WORLD CLASS at Atelier ”

“Brad Mehldau’s piano-playing and Fleurine’s singing are a perfect match ”

“no vocal exaggerations or extended pianistic display ; the magic of their performance iscontained in the wisdom that ‘less is more’ !

” Fleurine sings concentrated, deeply entranced into for the most part self written lyrics, and seems to have a subscription to melancholy  ”

“To call Mehldau a virtuoso wouldn’t do him justice, he plays like a young God ; he colors like an orchestra behind her  ”

“The sensitivity with which they communicate musically gives one the impression that they’ve been playing together for years .When a noticeably exited concert-promoter announced at the end of their concert that this had been the opening of their European tour, and the first time they’d ever performed together as a duo , that only underlined their formidable craftsmanship  ”

“The audience was spellbound during the intimate duo jazz of Brad Mehldau and Fleurine; the mere striking of a match was considered an impudence”

‘Classical’-Jazz; a unique balance between counterpoint and swing.

Mehldau is the great post-romantic hope of contemporary improvised music   ”

“Duo-partner Fleurine is also one to be reckoned with. Her forte lies in communicating stories with her pure and moving alto voice. She transforms instrumental compositions into poetry and sings thrallingly”

“Love’s suffering, and the agony of the soul ”

“A fantastic duo   ”
“A beautiful , intimate  concert”

Mittelbayrische Zeitung
” Extra-ordinary Duo : Singer Fleurine and Pianist Brad Mehldau”

“Probably the most exciting pianist on the jazz-scene today, and a singer who appears still modestly unaware of her own power.This duo brought a melancholy night of songs, switching from Brazilian- inspired original repertoire to French chanson ,to jazz- Standards”

“The young singer’s talent sparked brightly through her decently funky, excitingly stretched interpretation of  ‘I’ve got you under my skin”

” A beautiful cool voice, enormously swinging ,while creatively using the lyrics, with great rhythmic refinement   ”

“Her true strength revealed itself through her vocal and lyrical interpretations of instrumental songs and solos of modern Jazz   ”

“Of distinct Class: Brad Mehldau:The young pianist accompanies feather-light and beautifully open. Like Bill Evans or Chet Baker he knows how to explore the depth of a song and get to its very essence. Aside from which he manages to extend the language of jazz-piano with elements of Classical  music”

“Fleurine is a young Dutch vocalist with an elegant alto voice ‘drenched in coolness’ who sings bewitchingly. On top of that she writes intricate poetic lyrics to instrumental songs of the jazz repertoire that are too beautiful to remain unsung”

“Comparing Mehldau to Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett  is definitely out-dated. He clearly has his own lyrical voice with unmistakable classical roots.  His music might be described as Schubert or Schumann with swing”

Fleurine and Brad Mehldau met at the North Sea Jazz Festival 1996 where  both performed as leaders of their own bands. In March of ’98 Fleurine was invited as guest -soloist with the Brad Mehldau Trio at theVillageVanguard in New York. The combination proved to be a great success, and subsequently the idea for a tour together was  born. They play original repertoire as well as pieces of contemporary jazz-composers like Pat Metheny , and Standards.