Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Melody Gardot : Times Online Live Review & Video Exclusive

The Times Online give Melody's Union Chapel show a 4 out of 5 rating, and feature an exclusive performance of "Baby I'm A Fool"

"Audacious, truly audacious. In her brief career, the American singer-songwriter has already established a reputation as a low-key performer, but the notion of building a performance around an extended sequence of ballads might have seemed a step too far. No doubt one or two fans who are not yet familiar with her new album, My One and Only Thrill, will have found the experience daunting. Still, this was a triumphant performance by a singer-songwriter who is becoming one of the major talents of our time.

Is she a jazz vocalist? Not exactly. Her classy musicians certainly come from the jazz tradition, but the songs themselves draw on a fascinating amalgam of styles. There is a touch of Peggy Lee's poetry, a hint of Norah Jones and Joni Mitchell, not to mention the spare bossa nova guitar chords of Caetano Veloso. On her new project she adds violins to the blend, Vince Mendoza's glorious arrangements often conjuring echoes of those Hollywood masters Bernard Herrmann and David Raksin. Reproducing that lush ambience in such a tricky venue, acoustically speaking, was no easy task.

But Gardot's band - augmented by a compact string section directed by Guy Barker - coped superbly. The bassist Ken Prendergast and drummer Charlie Patierno knew exactly how to make the most of the smallest gestures, while the two-man horn section - perched almost out of sight at the corner of the crowded stage - added mere wisps of embellishment.

Lots has been wr itten about Gardot's struggle with the after-effects of devastating injuries sustained in a traffic accident some years ago. The cane and the medically prescribed dark glasses are a constant reminder of her frailty. If Tina Turner occupies the louder end of the introvert-extrovert scale, the newcomer seldom strays out of the twilight zone: her singing on the new record's title tune, for instance, had a sotto voce quality that was simply mesmerising.

Nevertheless, she broke loose at the encore, adding a driving gospel edge to Who Will Comfort Me?"

Click here to see the full feature on The Times Online