tue 24/11/2020

Album: Melody Gardot - Sunset in the Blue | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Melody Gardot - Sunset in the Blue

Album: Melody Gardot - Sunset in the Blue

The Melody lingers on

A transport of delightPat Steir, Untitled IX, 2019 (Taipei), 2019. Oil on canvas © Pat Steir. Courtesy of the artist and Lévy Gorvy, New York

What a pick-me-up this album is. Released as the days darken, literally and metaphorically, it’s a real joy – a transport of delight to dappled squares in Paris or Lisbon, or a street party in Rio.

What a pick-me-up this album is. Released as the days darken, literally and metaphorically, it’s a real joy – a transport of delight to dappled squares in Paris or Lisbon, or a street party in Rio. Sunset in the Blue is billed as “an orchestral celebration of Melody Gardot’s jazz roots” but the abiding sound that remains in the mind’s ear after the album’s finished is that of a jazz guitar, played with a bossa nova rhythm.

This is Gardot’s fifth album in twelve years, a mix of standards and originals in which her voice is close-miked and properly out front in the mix. Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt and Diana Krall bubbling (as we might say) with Juliette Greco and Barbara - perhaps even with Nana Mouskouri on her 1962 New York outing with Quincy Jones - yet very much her own. Mostly sultry, with only an occasional breeze, it quickly gets under your skin, the arrangements and textures retro yet timeless, as good music always is. It’s easy listening in that it’s immensely pleasing: the smoky sax solo on “You Won’t Forget Me”, the Mancini-esque strings, acoustic bass, the brushes, the Spanish guitar on “Ninguem, Ninguem”, which is one of two Portuguese-language numbers on the album. “C’est Magnifique”, a duet with Fado singer Antonio Zambujo, mingles Portuguese with English and French – suddenly we’re on the Copacabana sipping a Caipirinha. We wish…

Most of the set was recorded pre-lockdown in LA’s famed Capitol Records Studios with a creative team that included Larry Klein and Vince Mendoza, trumpeter Till Bronner and guitarist Anthony Wilson among the players. “From Paris With Love” features some forty musicians from around the world who answered Gardot’s call, made on 1 May, International Jazz Day, for a virtual orchestra to play away the lockdown blues. All were paid according to union scale and the result is musically rewarding – shout-outs to the pianist and solo fiddler. “Ave Maria” finds Gardot born aloft above orchestral cross-rhythms, while “Moon River” takes us back to the Audrey Hepburn original, a lazy arch-top guitar with strings and percussion in the background. Gardot’s vocal is of course not tentative – she is no Holly Golightly after all! “Fall in Love too Easily” is really rather exquisite. The physical album contains a bonus track, “Little Something”, a duet with Sting.

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