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Few recordings have been as intensely anticipated as the sophomore release by Madeleine Peyroux. Taking the music world by complete surprise back in '96 with her startling debut, Dreamland, Peyroux performed the ultimate "where's Waldo" and disappeared from the recording scene for eight years. Rounder deserves credit for resurrecting this artist's career.
So how does Peyroux fare following an eight-year hiatus? Pretty darned well, her voice still golden after all these years. There's still the hint of Billie Holiday with the touch of twinkling mischief in her eye. Completely at ease in this collection of laid back swing, Peyroux glides through a series of songs not normally associated with small group caberets (Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" and Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"), yet she makes it work, and work well.
With the vast majority of songs concerning difficult relationships and heartache, gone is the insouciant optimism of her debut. She's been taught a few lessons. Her mood is less effervescent (the most upbeat song is "Lonesome Road"). However, this is the sign of a true artist. She is taking us on a journey. With first class and diverse support by keyboardist Larry Goldings and sensitive brushwork by Scott Amendola, the trip is worthwhile.
Track Listing: Dance Me to the End of Love/ Don't Wait Too Long/ Don't Cry Baby/
You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go/ Between the Bars/ No More/
Lonesome Road/ J'Ai Deux Amours/ Weary Blues/ I'll Look Around/ Careless Love/
This Is Heaven to Me
Personnel: Madeleine Peyroux- vocals, guitar; Scott Amendola, Jay Bellerose- percussion;
Larry Goldings- piano, organ; Dean Parks- guitar; David Piltch- bass
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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