Paris Cesvette - Celestial (My Journey Among Stars)


Paris Cesvette is a multi-instrumentalist who started her training to read, write and play music early in her childhood. Those who are deep in the world of house music likely know Cesvette for her work as a DJ. The best DJs are stars in the own rights as their skill in drawing people to the dance floor and being musical taste makers and influences earns them a following that is equal and can even exceed that of the musicians and vocalists whose music they play.


So, it seems somewhat interesting that Cesvette seeks to shoot some shine toward those vocalists on her latest project, Celestial (My Journey Among Stars). This record of dance numbers features the voices of 12 distinct singers. Some of those singers, such as Omar, have been a presence in the dance music, while others like Will Downing are better known for their work as a balladeer or a duet partner.


Take Downing’s interpretation of “Sweetest Pain” as an example: That cut, a sensuous and lush mid-tempo ballad that is an example of Philadelphia International Records at its best, was written by Dexter Wansel and featured Terri Wells on vocals. The typical play would to give Downing an arrangement similar to that one. However, Cesvette puts Downing in the club on this propulsive version that up tempos the strings and the bass line but features a Downing vocal that manages not to sound hurried, even as he keeps pace with the arrangement.


“Sacred,” the album’s first single, features the husky baritone of Josh Milan on a track that combines the lyrics of a wedding song with a hyper arrangement of a house number complete with timbales. Cesvette and co-producer Luis LooweeR Rivera call on Junior Giscombe, who is best known to American listeners for his 1982 smash “Mama Used to Say,” to transform another hit from that era into a dance track – in this case in Sherrick’s 1987 tune “Just Call.”


Still, part of the genius of Celestial is that these distinct voices make the record one where the vocals complement the pulsating bass rather than being overwhelmed by the musical arrangement. This allows the project to break free from the criticism that often besets dance albums – that of sounding repetitive – and makes Celestial a record that can be played in the club as well as in the car on the way. Solidly Recommended.


By Howard Dukes