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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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Melody Gardot – Live at the Olympia Paris

Melody Gardot (voice, guitar, piano,): Chuck Staab (drums, musical director): Mitchell Long (guitar): Shareef Clayton (trumpet): Korey Riker (baritone and tenor saxophone): Irwin Hall (tenor and alto saxophones, bass clarinet): Edwin Livingston (bass): Devin Greenwood (keyboards)

Recorded at the Olympia Paris on 26 and 27 October 2015

DVD 9: 16:9: Audio – Dolby Digital, 5.1, DTS Surround Sound: NTSC, Region 0 (worldwide): Language – English. Subtitles – English, French, German, Portuguese; Running Time - 102 minutes

EAGLE ROCK EREDV1217 [102:00]

 

1. Don’t Misunderstand
2. Same To You
3. She Don t Know
4. Bad News
5. March For Mingus
6. Morning Sun
7. Les Etoiles
8. Baby I’m A Fool
9. Who Will Comfort Me
10. Preacherman
11. It Gonna Come

 

Melody Gardot has chosen a Parisian venue of choice, the august Olympia, for her first DVD. With a brass section, organ, guitar – to which she adds her own stylish guitar and piano playing – and drums she has a full backing within which to serenade her audience.

The nature of the serenading can be artful or intense and the funky patterns of Same To You definitely fall within the latter category, not least because of a storming and stormy tenor sax solo. The Jazz Soul inflections of her instrumental backing – they’re well drilled to a man – offer Gardot a patter-into-parlando introduction to She Don’t Know at the end of which the lighting rig is focused solely on the striking singer, complete with scarf around her head, black shades, fedora, skinny black trousers, and leather coat. The slow burning blues riffs of Bad News, on which Gardot straps on her easy rider, are accompanied by a voluble tenor solo though because the mic is stationed directly over the bell, it means that the tone suffers. Sitting at an upright piano for March for Mingus, appropriately accompanied by an upright bass, she includes parlando in French in a very theatrical, even knowing way.

But her rapport with the audience is spellbinding – an effect not wholly replicated by a moment where one of the saxists stuffs two saxophones into his mouth in clear emulation of Roland Kirk. The Gospel cum Nina Simone inspiration on Morning Sun seems clear enough, Gardot’s vibrato taking on a somewhat insistent edge, whilst Les Étoiles is another attractive French-language chanson, where muted trumpet, bass clarinet and acoustic guitar bring out plenty of fine accompanying figures and make the band sound larger than it truly is.

Wa-wa trumpet gets on down on Who Will Comfort Me – I wish there had been more trumpet solos and fewer sax ones - and this lively invigorating number prefaces Preacherman where, surprisingly there’s a very brief moment of picture break-up. The cooking outro is the encore, It Gonna Come, with all the band members namechecked and the audience – quite rightly – on their feet. Gardot is one of today’s most elusive yet understatedly charismatic singers – influenced as much by pop mainstream as by jazz as by Parisian confessional and chanson and Motown. She serves up this gumbo as only she knows how. Good camera work (in the main) allows one to enjoy her in the ‘intimacy’ of a filmed concert.

Jonathan Woolf



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