China Moses
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China Moses

Band Jazz Blues


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This One's For Dinah - 2009:

Single Dinah's Blues 2009 & Video Clip
Fat Daddy airplay (France Germany Japon Benelux )
Dinah's Blues airplay (France Germany Japon Benelux )

LP Good Lovin' 2004 (Virgin)
LP On tourne en rond 2000 (Source/Vrigin)
LP China 1998 (Source/Virgin)



It could never be said that China Moses and Raphaël Lemonnier were fated to join forces on a project, given their rather different career paths and the seeming absence of any compelling reason for the two artists to meet.

As an MTV host, singer, author, songwriter and producer, China is first and foremost an eclectic artist who embodies the American idea of an entertainer. This aspect of her personality can be traced to her childhood, steeped in music and the world of theatre. From her mother, the singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, she inherited the ability to work towards long-term goals. Her father, Gilbert Moses, who died in 1995, was a committed television and film director responsible for series like Roots and the cult film Willy Dynamite, who taught China the value of hard work. Just before he died, Gilbert prophetically saw his daughter take on duties for Virgin Records. His hopes came to fruition when she signed with Source, a Virgin subsidiary. Her first single, Time, was released in 1996, whereupon her career took off thanks to her first video, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. This was followed by three albums: China (1997), On Tourne en Rond (2000) and Good lovin’ (2004). Subsequent collaborations with Me’shell Ndegeocello, Bob Power, Etienne de Crécy, Guru, Mounir Belkhir, Diam’s, Camille, Fabe, Dj Mehdi and Karriem Riggins cemented her reputation in the world of alternative R’n’B.

The career of pianist Raphaël Lemonnier has been focused more on jazz. He made his debut with the Nîmes Big Band under the direction of Jeff Gilson and later Roger Guérin. In 1986, over the course of a year in New Orleans with Guy Labory’s Creole Jazz Band, he developed a passion for boogie-woogie, which he studied with Philippe Lejeune. The teaching he received from the pianist Philippe Duchemin made an important contribution as well. On becoming a professional musician in 1997, he moved to New York to study piano with Jaky Byard. There he recorded his first disc, entitled Raphaël Lemonnier Trio and intended as an homage to Erroll Garner, one of his primary influences along with Oscar Peterson, Earl Hines and Count Basie. Upon returning to France, he studied musical notation with Ivan Jullien and released the album Septet Jazz, dedicated to Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington. In 2004, in partnership with Chris Gonzales, he mounted the show Dancing, a production of the Théâtre de Nîmes. Extensively involved in France's jazz scene, he performed with Liz Newton at numerous events: the Tangier Jazz Festival, The Village Gate, Jazz in Montauban and the 24 Hours of Swing festival in Monségur. At the same time he was composing music for television, notably the Arte network.

The one thing that was needed to bring these two artists together was some deeply shared passion, and that was jazz, an integral part of China Moses’s upbringing. And the opportunity was provided by Camille, a prominent French songstress, who was performing at Paris’s Café de la Danse. Invited by the singer to join her musicians on stage for two songs, Raphaël, who wisely keeps his ears on the alert at all times, heard the voice of China, who at the time was one of Camille’s backing vocalists, and asked her to perform in Dancing. And from there, the rest was fate: while the two were on a drive through the Camargue, the car radio played a song by Dinah Washington, their mutual idol. Raphaël had been a fan of the singer for many years. And China had secretly listened to Dinah Washington records at the home of her grandmother, who deemed the singer’s lyrics too suggestive for young ears.

So why not put together a show devoted to Dinah Washington? Stéphane Kochoyan, program director for the Nîmes Métropole Jazz Festival and director of the Jazz 70 association, was thrilled with the idea, and the project, titled Gardenias for Dinah, began to take shape. The actor Henry Le Ny was enlisted to sketch a portrait of the singer against a musical background comprised of period audio recordings collected by Raphaël. This was followed by a concert in which China performed songs from Dinah's repertory backed by Raphaël, Régis Maurette (dms) and Alain Resplandin (b), later replaced by Jean-Pierre Dérouard and Fabien Marcoz respectively. Daniel Huck, offering his services as a friend and neighbour, rounded out the team. Buoyed by their success, the group opened for Dee Dee Bridgewater when she performed at the Nuit des Jardins music festival in Nîmes and at the Montauban and Monségur festivals. Each of the performers began to take a greater role, while the group became more cohesive and everyone had a great time. The natural next step in marking their success was a tribute disc: This One’s For Dinah. Raphaël wrote the arrangements and collaborated with China on the song selection; François Biensan handled the orchestrations and chose the brass players: François himself (tp), Fréderic Couderc (sax), Aurélie Tropez (sax, cl), Jean Onesta (tb) and Daniel Huck (sax)