A blinding light glares
down from above, piercing through the shadows on the stage and ricocheting
off the forehead of the woman who is about to burst into song. Her
fingers alight on the piano : ebony and ivory, black and white keys,
African trance and European harmony, the flip side of the American
dream, a sublime moment of a universal music...
Dazzled, the audience is
spellbound. People slip silently into the last available seats.
Tonight, like every night,
Liz Mc Comb has worked her charm. In the space of a few minutes,
each member of the public becomes a child once again ; their inhibitions
gone, they clap in rhythm, smile without restraint, shed tears without
bitterness. The music is everywhere, flowing irresistibly, like
a current unleashed from Johann Sebastian Bach to Jimi Hendrix,
sweeping everything up in the "Love Supreme" celebrated
by John Coltrane.
Liz Mc Comb sings Gospel
: not catechism, but Gospel with a capital G, religion in the true
meaning of the term, by which all beings are United...
Cast into the New World,
the uprooted descendents of Africa breathed back into Christianity
all the passion it had been lacking since the Middle Ages. From
blues to rap by way of soul music, spirituals and gospel songs forged
the identity of the "African-American" people, and paved
the way for the explosion of rock'n'roll. Elvis Presley, Little
Richard, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, James Brown, Aretha Franklin,
Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Prince and so many others learned to sing
while sitting in church pews...
A pastor's daughter, Liz
Mc Comb is a rock star in spite of herself. Alone, or accompanied
by her bassist-guitarist Titus Williams, she swings from Nina Simone's
tragic accents to Tina Turner's frenetic exuberance. Each syllable
is an invitation to dance, in its most exalted state.
However, Liz has the faith
of a true believer : faith in the adorable little girl who at the
age of 3 already had the congregation of the Cleveland Pentecostal
Church eating out of her hand. Her repertoire is as personal as
it is traditional : in her own inimitable style, with instinctive
and exquisite taste, she remodels Gospel "classics", those
ageless canticles by forgotten or little-known composers that on
Sunday mornings still work their magic with the American people.
Because today Gospel, the
equal of rap and country, is the liveliest and most popular music
in America. Top-selling Gospel titles reach millions, and Europe
still has much to learn about this fabulous heritage.
Liz Mc Comb has become Gospel's
finest Ambassador, worthy of those who preceded her : Sister Rosetta
Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams, Bessie Griffin...
Like her illustrious elders,
Liz is a vocal phenomenon, a self-taught virtuoso whose stunning
technique is always transcended by pure emotion.
This album, recorded "live",
makes her recent European concert tour available to all, a tour
that took her from Paris celebrated Théâtre des Champs Elysées to
Lyon's Opera House by way of an overwhelming appearance at the prestigious
Liz reaches out to every
audience as if it were the close-knit community of her local Ohio
church. Every evening, the concert unfolds like an immutable and
unpredictable ceremony, an ancestral ritual as contemporary as any
rock concert. An ultimate offering that is worlds removed from ordinary
entertainment. And does it matter whether she is adressing God or
merely the senses ?
Her voice, authentic and
generous, seems to merge from the depths of time, taking us on an
Arnaud (translation Jerome Reese)