Cherry Pill took a detour this year and recorded an instrumental album titled Si Tu Savais . It is a collection of well-loved standards that have helped shape Cherry Pill’s sound over the years, including rousing gypsy jazz inspired by Reinhardt and Grappelli, a touching rendition of Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro, and much more.

Kristel and Rory of Cherry Pill decided to record Si Tu Savais as a tribute to some of the composers and songs that influenced them when they first started playing together over 10 years ago, performing various styles of jazz standards as an instrumental duo at restaurants and craft markets. Their mutual love of the eclectic styles of music found on this album is what ultimately lead them to begin collaborating on writing original music together, culminating in their 2014 release, Chocolate Box. Although today their sound has evolved into something uniquely their own, much of that sound is owed to the influence of the great composers and performers whose songs they grew up performing, and Si Tu Savais represents a raw and unvarnished return to those early days.

Album Review of Si Tu Savais by Bruce Dennill

Virtuosic duo Cherry Pill (Kristel Birkholtz, violin, and Rory Gaddin, guitar) released a well-received collection of original material not too long ago, featuring Birkholtz’s gentle vocals. Si Tu Savais is a showcase for some of the instrumental favourites from the classically trained pair’s repertoire – a different musical perspective, and perhaps one that’s slightly more accessible because of the vintage and popularity of some of these compositions.

The collection opens with the frisky energy of Swing Gitane, one of the many tunes on the album many listeners will find familiar but not know the provenance of. Dream A Little Dream is one of the more mainstream pop numbers and is followed by O Sole Mio, a piece that can be incredibly cheesy in the wrong hands but which is given sensitive, melancholic reading here.

The choice of strong material coupled with some shrewd sequencing means that the album can fulfill a dual role, depending on taste and context. The expert playing and generally upbeat tone of the music make Si Tu Savais a great album to put on and focus on, but if you have other business at hand, it’s a wonderful half-hour-and-change of jaunty backing music.

These are accessible and enjoyable recordings – to the point that it may be a good starter pack for people who think they don’t like instrumental music thanks to the marketing brainwashing of most mainstream radio stations.