Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Melody Gardot: Unchained Melody

Melody Gardot
Melody Gardot Melody Gardot Melody Gardot Melody Gardot Melody Gardot Melody Gardot Melody Gardot Melody Gardot Melody Gardot

Not so long ago, a male jazz artist rose to the forefront of his genre after his distinctive vocal was discovered and given a chance to ripen. He was like a breath of fresh air, in a genre which can be a closed shop at times, some would say, even stuffy. But jazz is supposed to be about being cool and free, it’s about being alive and being able to express yourself…this artist had all those attributes and more, picking up plaudits by the bucket load as he stayed true to his roots and the genre he represented. I myself gave him my first ever 6 out of 5 review! lol. Impossible, but he was that good, better than any 5 out of 5 I had given previously. When I showed him he laughed, thanked me and then gave one of the most gracious interviews I think I have ever conducted. His name… Gregory Porter.

Now these kind of artists don’t come around too often, that I know. But now a few years later I get a chance to rave about another jazz artist who is also uniquely talented, with a different set of skills to bring to the table. So ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to now shout from the highest high about a performer who I can only foresee as being destined for big things…the difference is, she’s not a newbee and I’m not claiming to have discovered her - even though I have been raving about her from day one! There have been 3 quality albums releases to date. But she hasn’t risen to uber cool dizzy heights /superstar status. Not yet anyway! But in my opinion, it can only be a matter of time. Her name is… Melody Gardot.

I recently caught-up with this 30 year old, Grammy nominated, Philadelphia born, jazz starlet on a whirlwind visit to London - in fact, the Soho hotel to be exact. Where her new album “Currency Of Man” was topic of conversation…though her fourth album, I would say is easily on a par with her previous plaudit drawing releases. Talking of those efforts, Gardot was quick to let me know how casually her 2008 debut “Worrisome Heart” came about. “In the beginning I didn’t know what I was doing…I had no idea. I played a little bit of music for myself, by myself in a room and maybe did a handful of little concerts.” She continues. “I met some wonderful people, who introduced me to some other musicians…I then made a little record called “Worrisome Heart.” It was a very interesting record because it was just, simple. It was (recorded) in a little farmhouse in the winter and we just recorded when we could. I had to go out of town because there was no more time in the studio - my friend had very kindly offered to let us record. It was quiet you know, I didn’t know anything about anything. I knew what I was writing and I was just trying to remember it…”

In 2009 her sophomore album continued to earn her respect form all directions and a growing fan base to boot. A quality vocal mixed with well written tracks, stunning hooks and a first class arrangement, all led by her now trademark piano based orchestration. It seemed like a natural progression for a new release to take… “My One and Only Thrill,” was completed because I had a band and we were touring.” She recalls. “The second album with Larry (Klein) was basically what we were doing live, but with a little bit of refinement and of course the orchestra, but it was OUR live band. At that time I was still learning what it meant to tour, I was still leaning what it meant to do a show…I mean, I wasn’t raised to understand any of that, I kind of fell into those shoes.”

As we start to talk about the new album, I noticed Larry Klein, after not appearing on the last album, “The Absence” (2012), is back on production duties once more. On purpose perhaps? “No. This record is really thanks to Paris. I was staying in a place I usually stay and I bumped into Larry and we just started talking, the universe is like that! We kinda started talking and reconnected little bit, he talking about what he was doing and I talked about what I was doing. I had a couple of songs in my pocket but wasn’t ready to make a record yet, so I was just thinking about it…I was still waiting to see when I wanted to do it, where? All of the things you get the luxury to think about in a way when your international. Maybe we record it in France, maybe we record it Ireland, maybe we record it in L.A. …in this case it was L.A.”

The album “Currency Of Man” is out June 1st on Decca Records

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