I’ve mentioned Madeleine Peyroux in the past — most recently, in our Best of for 2007, where we noted “Her smoky voice and fresh soulful delivery are perfect for the mix of acoustic blues, country ballads, classic jazz and torch songs she sings.”
I happened to notice she is playing Town Hall on 06/18/09 (123 W. 43rd St. in New York) and that was enough of an excuse for a summer Friday Night Jazz.
For those of you not familiar with Peyroux or her fabulous vocals, she careens from a very Billie Holliday-like sound to Josephine Baker, Edith Piaf, even k.d. lang.
Her latest album, Bare Bones, is a mellow, enjoyable foray into the Peyroux mix of Jazz, Blues and Country. The odd song out that stands out compared tot he rest of the disc is the Steely Dan feeling song, “You Can’t Do Me.” Peyroux sings:
“You know I get so blue
And I go down like a deep sea diver,
out like a Coltrane tenor-man,
Lost like a Chinese war baby ? (gone, gone, gone!)
Blewed like a Mississippi sharecropper,
screwed like a high-school cheerleader,
Tattooed like a popeyed sailorman ? (gone, gone, gone)
I am glad to see she is having a little lyrical fun.
This album stands in stark contrast to her debut disc — 1996’s Dreamland — a stripped down showcase for her musical chops. The spare arrangements set off her voice well; most listeners were stunned to learn Peyroux was just a 22-year old Georgian living in Paris.
Her breakout album was Careless Love — a contemplative, moody, jazz foray filled with delightful moments of jazz perfection. For newbies and on a FNJ session, I would go with this disc. Its the album that can make you ask “Norah who ?
Half the Perfect World was a little softer jazz-pop. Its filled with familiar covers, a few surprises, and most of all, that wonderful voice. It is still worth a throw.
videos after the jump
Singer Peyroux Returns with ‘Careless Love’
NPR, October 3, 2004
Madeleine Peyroux’s Nearly ‘Perfect World’
NPR, January 16, 2007
I’m All Right
Dance Me To The End Of Love