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The original soundtrack from the musical "Belles de nuit" sends us back to 1946 and the twilight days of France's notorious "houses of prostitution," which had been tolerated but were now threatened with closure by the Marthe-Richard law. The songs here are poetic, and filled with tenderness and mischief in their portraits of the prostitutes, madams and pimps who made up this nocturnal underworld. Both words and music were written by the composer, actor, singer and director Jonathan Kerr, who also plays an inestimable role in the musical. This album is carried high by the writing and by these remarkable singers and musicians, all of which shows edible precision in the way the record mixes the authenticity of France's "chanson" genre with swing jazz. It takes popular art to the stars.