Jean-Pierre Simons
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Jean-Pierre Simons

San Jose, California, United States | INDIE

San Jose, California, United States | INDIE
Band World Singer/Songwriter

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"Jean-Pierre Simons, Sentimentally…To Africa"

The multi-cultural and multi-dimensional artist known as Jean-Pierre Simons brings us one diverse piece of work. The title track “Sentimentally…To Africa” brings it all back to Simons’ roots as a young man growing up in Cameroon. He says during the song, “Everything is bringing me back to Africa” and you really feel his passion and love for his homeland. This singer/songwriter has a lot to offer on this record such as: six songs sung in English and seven in French. Simons has also lived in Paris for part of his life and now presides in Oakland, California. Living in different parts of the world and being able to experience and live by so many cultures makes Jean-Pierre a unique musician.

The record resonates with an abundance of sound and styles. You hear African, Latin, European, American and even island-sounding sections throughout the album. The record is full of color and life along with such a worldly touch to it all. Jean-Pierre is pretty much taking you on a journey throughout the world by way of his music. The overall effect is just a lively and vibrant feel that will take over your senses. The joy and passion that Simons sings with is taken in loud and clear. You actually hear a fun and upbeat spirit that is being evoked by Jean-Pierre Simons. The end result= feeling of happiness, enjoyment and satisfaction by way of the powerful and yet positive messages being portrayed.

I can’t overlook the incredible backing instrumentalists along with the tremendous rhythm and horn sections. The heart and soul of this album is the Afro-Pop and rhythmic sensation known as Makossa-Funk. The musicianship and arrangements are just spot on and seriously leave a good taste in your mouth. Simons and the entire band section come together like John, Paul, Ringo and George. The Cameroon native and his accompanying band-mates offer something special on Sentimentally…To Africa. The special formula works and is able to cross cultural boundaries by way of music.

The only drawback is the fact that seven tracks are sung in French. Being as I don’t speak French, it was hard for me to grasp the true meaning behind each song. Honestly though, the entire feel and sound of the record made up for that fact. Simons’ soul was heard in a big way, no matter what language it may have been in.

For more on Jean-Pierre Simons and Sentimentally…To Africa, SKOPE out www.jeanpierresimons.com.

By Jimmy Rae - SKOPE


"Sentimentally… to Africa Jean-Pierre Simons Available from CD Baby."

Sentimentally…
to Africa
Jean-Pierre Simons

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

Jean-Pierre Simons hails from Cameroon, and the native rhythms there are quite dissimilar to Western tradition, as is much of the continent's musical tradition, yet exceedingly infectious. Paul Simon found that out and incorporated African staples and colorations into a segment of his work, finding a wide audience for the fusion. Not long after, Peter Gabriel, departing the prog realms, dove into heady waters and began heavily working with upper and lower African (and surrounding areas) sonorities, gathering to himself much more legitimate world essences than the New Age movement had been able to provide, an effort that proved providential.

Simons turns this all around and starts from Africa, working outwards, incorporating the jazz of that continent and this along with pop, latin styles, and rock. The base, though, is always African in its rhythmic fundament. A number of the songs are sung in French, and the appearances of Ron Leewarde and James Robinson, despite the somewhat innocuous accreditation of 'lead guitar' and 'classical guitar', play very well, the latter especially, in fusions that will have Al DiMeola scampering around delightedly, keeping up with runs that are shockingly adept.

Harmony is the keynote to Sentimentally and much of this CD comes off gratifyingly akin to a Putumayo label release, reggae peeking in here, soul there, everything engineered to please ear, spirit, and emotion. Polyrhythms abound and Simons' voice is not far removed from Al Jarreau's (minus all the wonderful scat Al uses), Kenny Loggins', or Stevie Wonder's, nor are the songs unaligned with the same positivity and uplifting regards. And, just like Kenny, Stevie, and Al, this is material to uplevel the moribundity of the charts. One can only hope, then, that this guy achieves rapid success because I'd like to have a few more reasons to turn on music radio.
Track List:

* Sentimentally…to Africa
* Take my Love
* Un Amour Impossible
* Baobab-Tree
* Change in my Life
* Ballade Pur Une Fleur



* On Danse
* Laisse-Moi T'Aimer
* Una Place au Soliel
* Like a Friend
* Aime-Moi
* Candlelight

All songs written by Jean-Pul Simons except Aim-Moi (Simons / Mosquea).

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Share/Save/Bookmark
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
- Fame Review


"Review: Jean-Pierre Simons - Sentimentally... To Africa"

Jean-Pierre Simons - Sentimentally.... To Africa
2009, Jean-Pierre Simons

Jean-Pierre Simons is a citizen of the world, quite literally. Born in Cameroon, Simons lived in Paris for a number of years before settling in the San Francisco Bay area of California. His music encompasses African, Latin and European musical styles with a strong emphasis on classic American Pop music. His debut album, Sentimentally... To Africa, features 6 songs in English and 7 and French, all highly listenable and enjoyable. Simons has a sense of melody and rhythm that is impeccable, and a top-notch band backing him up. The result is an album you won't want to put away.

Sentimentally... To Africa opens with the title track, sounding like something that might have been a Paul Simon outtake from his Graceland sessions. Simons creates a very similar Pop/Rock/African traditional hybrid sound throughout much of the album. Take My Love is a great love song in the same vein, a highly infectious bit of pop music with African rhythms, horns and the electric guitar sound common to Simons albums of that era. Aime-Moi (Love Me) and Un Amour Impossible (An Impossible Love) are the first two French language songs on the album, both staying well ensconced in pop style with the essential African flavor that runs through the album. Une Place Au Soleil (A Place In The Sun) features some the best overall arrangement on the album, layering acoustic sounds in a song that touches on Pop, World and Jazz without quite giving in to any one style. My favorite song on the disc is Baobab-Tree, which will have you up and moving you feet even if you're not prone to dancing. Other highlights include Change In My Life, On Danse and Like A Friend.

Jean-Pierre Simons has the perfect blend of Pop and World styles on Sentimentally... To Africa. If it weren't for that Paul Simon guy we'd be talking about Simons' groundbreaking mix of styles, as it is its still a fine album that is highly accessible and commercial without trying to be either. This is feel good music you can move to, and no matter what language Simons is singing in, that feel good vibe is universal. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Jean-Pierre Simons at http://www.jeanpierresimons.com/ or http://www.sighes.com/. You can purchase a copy of Sentimentally… To Africa at www.cdbaby.com/cd/jeanpierre2. - Wildy's World


"Jean-Pierre Simons – Sentimentally…To Africa (CD)"

Posted by James on February 13th, 2009 No Comments Printer-Friendly
The title track to “Sentimentally…To Africa” begins off this album, and one is immediately hit with a rich collage of artists as storied as UB40 and Paul Simon. Simons himself is more eclectic than either act, marrying together African with Caribbean rhythms, while tying the resulting music with pop sensibilities that will ensure that fans of current music will find something that they can love on “Sentimentally…To Africa”. “Take My Love” starts out with Simons’ vocals taking an authoritative place at the front of the track; the rapidly-shifting nature of the track ensures that listeners will be unsure where exactly Simons is set to go.

“Sentimentally…To Africa” is a disc that, despite only having 13 tracks, goes to hundreds of different time frames, interacts with countless styles and genres, and with each track, informs listeners about the unique type of music that is Simons’ trademark. “Un Amour Impossible” has a hot set of horns that cut in at all the right time, interjecting a drive to a track that would otherwise seem perfectly content in its meandering nature. “Candlelight” shares the same chill, calm sound as the early reaches of “Un Amour Impossible”, building further the story previously laid out by the preceding tracks on “Sentimentally…To Africa” . Listeners need not speak French to get a good idea about what Simons wants them to take from a track; the rich vocals are varied enough to imbue a narrative upon anyone lucky enough to listen in.

“Sentimentally…To Africa” ends with “Mes Adieux”, a slow, emotive missive to all of Simons listeners. The instrumentations, despite taking a very light touch on the track, nonetheless come up with a dense and substantive effort that joins together with Simons’ vocals to make something truly special. With so many different things occurring during the 13 cuts of “Sentimentally…To Africa” , listeners should really give the disc a few listeners before getting the entirety of what Simons has laid down here. What listeners will understand even after listening to one track, however, is that Simons is one of the best performers in any genre that he decides to pick up.

Top Tracks: Une Place Au Soleil, Aime-moi

Rating: 8.6/10

Jean-Pierre Simons – Sentimentally…To Africa / 2009 Self / 13 Tracks / http://www.jeanpierresimons.com

- Neufutur Magazine


"Jean-Pierre Simons / Sentimentally...To Africa"

Sentimentally...To Africa is exuberant and ebullient, almost a religious devotional to life, friends, loves and a country. It's an AfroPop French-Caribbean beach party from Cameroon-born Jean-Pierre Simons. Bring your own boat drink. Simons, and drummer-producer Jojo Kuo (Peter Gabriel, Harry Belafonte), pair African melodies and rhythms with Continental arrangements for a bright, brassy and accessible World Music album. Simons, who now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, draws from Makossa, which is a vibrant style blending funk, jazz, Latin, Cameroon folk (ambasse bey), and African rumba (soukous). More than half the songs are in French, but you don't need to know the language to translate the emotional energy—even a eulogy like "Mes Adieux" is more of a celebration than a lament. One challenge—my copy of Sentimentally...To Africa lists the tracks out of order, though I see it has been mostly fixed on Amazon. There's plenty to enjoy on Sentimentally, starting with the title track. "Change in My Life" celebrates the possibilities for change; "Like A Friend" entertains the dream of universal love; "Baobab-Tree" celebrates the land. "Un Amour Impossible" sounds terrifically upbeat, even though my Frenglish interprets an opposing possibility. "Laisse-Moi T'Aimer" is a joy, though it could be about buying a magical washing machine for all I know. "On Danse" is a bit formal, but "Aime-Moi" and "Candlelight" are soothing. Sentimentally...To Africa is a mini-vacation, a temporary tonic to office politics. - Caught In The Carousel


Discography

- Broken-Heart Maxi 45 RPM (1985)
- Like A Friend - Single (2002)
- Sentimentally...To Africa (2009) ; full album (13 tracks)

Photos

Bio

JEAN-PIERRE SIMONS is an international Artist from Cameroon by way of Paris, France. His music experiences began early in his life, performing at annual school and community feasts. Jean-Pierre formed a band at age fifteen and used all of his free time endeavoring in music composition and song writing. In 1974, he joined a semi-professional orchestra playing feasts and marriages. He was later selected as lead vocalist in the Junior college band , the ” Lycée Polyvalent’s Band”. Jean-Pierre also performed regularly at weekly jam sessions sponsored by the French Cultural Center in Douala. He was selected the “ Best New Artist” for four consecutive weeks. This became the catalyst for his professional career.

Jean-Pierre’s big break came in 1977 when he was contracted to perform as lead vocalist at “CLUB LA JUNGLE”, a renowned Cameroon area hot spot. Jean-Pierre was a “ LA JUNGLE” regular for four years. In 1981 he went to study in Europe where he was admitted to “ L’ECOLE NORMALE DE MUSIQUE”, a noted Parisian school of music, on Boulevard Malesherbes. He studied Harmony, Solfeggio and Arranging.

In 1985, Jean-Pierre produced and released a Single “ BROKEN-HEART” and “ A HEART IN LOVE “, through his own label “Victory Productions” (later renamed “Sighe’s Victory Productions). Both songs were hits in several African countries. Most notably,” BROKEN-HEART “ remained No 1 on Africa Number One (a prestigious international radio station in Africa, based in Gabon) for several weeks.

In 1988, Jean-Pierre decided to move to the United States.
What brought Jean-Pierre to America after seven years in France? “The USA is the real place for music. As a musician, I was drawn to the creative climate that encourages producing original musical work”

ABOUT THE MUSIC

Jean-Pierre’s music combines African melodies and rhythms from Cameroon (such as Makossa, Lali and others), with European & American styles of music arrangement. ” Music cannot be confined to the narrow space of one’s own country or people. It is a universal gift of God to mankind.”

In 2002, Jean-Pierre released another Single with two tracks :”Like A Friend” and “Aime-Moi”, designed to herald a full album, now released : "Sentimentally...To Africa".

Current Production

The current production is a dual project with a full album CD and a video production of a NEW Dance called ESSEWÂNGO.
The album features 13 tracks, of which 6 songs are in English and 7 in French. They are a nice blend of rhythms from Cameroon with the Afro-fusion or Afro-pop that immediately places it in the International context. Two of the French tracks have versions in Italian and Spanish (not presented in this album, but are in almost all completed and ready for later release).
The harmonies in the songs are constructed in the African tradition of singing that draws the listener’s emotional attention. They quickly stick in the mind and convey the marvelous impression of something one always knew.