Mira Choquette: vocals
Ewen Farncombe: piano
Josh Goldman: bass
Morgan Childs: drums & percussion
“You had to be there,” the saying goes. But in the case ofIn Reel Time, the new album by Montreal vocalist Mira Choquette, you’ll feel like you were at the recording session even though you weren’t. The album has the intimate feeling of something happening in your living room. Or, more accurately, in someone else’s living room… because that’s where it was recorded.
“We did everything live at my house in Toronto,” said bassist and producer Joshua Goldman. “All the musicians were in the same room, including Mira. The engineer, Timothy Doyle, was one room over.” Choquette said the entire session was spontaneous, noting that most of the songs on the album are first or second takes, recorded during three of the hottest days of the summer of 2022. That led to an interesting situation on the final day of recording…
“We did two days of everybody playing live,” said Goldman. “And then we decided to do some vocal overdubs, too. That day was even hotter, so Mira ended up doing all of her overdubs naked in the hallway.” Said Choquette: “I had to do [Stevie Wonder’s] Overjoyed, and there ain’t no way I can do Overjoyed with sweat beading down my back.”
Literal nakedness aside, the album also features real moments of emotional exposure. ”For me, half this album is a break-up album,” Choquette said. “We were recording a block away from what had been our house, my partner’s and mine. Ne me quitte pas was really hard to do, as I had also lost my father not long before the recording. So half the album is about loss and half the album is songs of joy and love. It was very real: the heat wave, the heartbreak, being a block away, just being in a weird place.”
The joy shines through on songs like Harry Belafonte’s Jump In The Line and a burning version of Cole Porter’s Just One Of Those Things, which features Farncombe’s piano to great effect, along with some first-class vocal improvisation from Choquette. There’s also an original called Love Crime, co-written by Choquette and Goldman, that recalls the slow-dragging swing of the Basie band.
All in all, it’s an album that takes you on a ride, like the best records do. In Reel Time is proof that you don’t always have to be there. Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, “there” comes to you.
Release Date: Friday, May 19th 2023