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The Absence

4.2 out of 5 stars 174 customer reviews

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The Absence
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Audio CD, May 29, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 release, the third album from Grammy nominated singer/songwriter. Produced by Heitor Pereira, renowned for his work as a film composer and world-class session guitarist (Sting, Seal, Caetano Veloso), the Brazilian-born, US-based artist shared Melody's enthusiasm for driving off the beaten path of Western pop, jazz, blues and soul. And he was as adventurous as Melody when it came to inventive sonic ideas. From the deserts of Morocco to the streets of Lisboa, from the tango bars of Buenos Aires to the beaches of Brazil, The Absence captures the essence of each of these exotic locales, while at the same time remaining quintessentially Melody Gardot.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 29, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B0073PPKNM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,881 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I would expect this distracting popping/cracking if it was an uncared for vinyl album, but this is throughout the song as an obvious defect, not in tempo with any of the music. You can even hear it with the sample clip playing.

That's garbage to release an album with such a cheap sounding artifact. Otherwise I have enjoyed the past two albums from Melody.

OK, I am adding an update...and I am sure others will have the same concern because it is not in tempo with the music, only on the one track, and no mention of it in the product liner. I had my box outside in the mailbox to return the CD for refund, when after emailing Melody Gardot at her website (in case she did not know about it), and she was gracious enough to reply. As a result, I have changed my rating from 2 stars to 5 stars, and grabbed the return box to Amazon before the Postman arrived. Here was her gracious response, that I am only posting so others having the same concern will have a way to take this into account.


Hello Charles! Im sorry you find this a defect but this is in fact not an error!

The sound you hear is a small click from the nails - as it has the sound of an old vinyl.
If you could picture the sound, its a small musician sitting beside the group, contributing to the song with only his hands, a smile, and the click of his finger nails. Some of the greatest musician I have ever met have lived on the streets and while being very poor, make sounds with their mouths, their hands, essentially only what they have before them: their bodies. In this way it is an homage to the absence of any instrument beyond the human body. This is also a focus on the nature of microtones (the tiniest sounds!)

I hope the image your mind can create can reharness the beauty you have in your mind while listening to the album.

Kind regards,

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Format: Audio CD
Jazz chanteuse Melody Gardot's new CD "The Absence" is produced by Brazilian composer and guitarist Heitor Pereira, adding a Latin lilt to her soft breezy sound.

Opening is the sunny "Mira", with Gardot scatting and singing to rhythmic guitars. In a similar vein is closing number, the celebratory "Iemanja" which is sung in Portuguese (with a hidden instrumental jam after a 10 minute wait)."Amalia" is Folky, "So Long" is a tender acoustic piece, while "So We Meet Again My Heartache" is an achingly beautiful ballad with lush strings and emotive vocals - my favourite. "Lisboa" starts with chiming bells leading to a Jazzy guitar-driven ballad.

Everything stands out really; "Impossible Love" (with enchanting guitar, clarinet and strings, and some spoken vocals with Gardot flitting between French and English as she tries to share her frustration at trying to get an affair to work), the prowling "If I Tell You I Love You" (with some Eartha Kitt-style purring and growling), the horn-sprinkled slow shuffle "Goodbye", and the spare hushed "Se Voce Me Ama" (with tenderly plucked guitar and some harmonising with Pereira). Regally understated and beautiful!
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Format: Audio CD
First, this is an album full of beautiful, absolutely listenable music - but I do agree with the reviewer who states that the song "So Long" suffers from a strange clicking that I cannot reconcile with the music at all. I can't understand how it was not detected during the recording or mixdown.
Second, for the reviewer who contends that the overall recording was poor, I beg to disagree - and I have an above average stereo system. Excepting the aforementioned clicking, this is an album of nuance and artistry. Melody Gardot is one of those wonderful artists who never loses her core while also never repeating herself. One hears echoes of great artists of the past as she sings, but she is unto herself in mixing those influences with the sensibilities of an old soul in the modern world.
"The Absence" graces us with a five-star talent. Fix the clicks on the one track and the album is five stars as well.

Update: Based on the gracious response of Ms. Gardot to Amazon Chuck, I wish to revise my comments. As I have a highly resolving system, my ears interpreted the clicking on "So Long" as a distraction as it is in timbre close to the sound that I used to hear on poorly cared for vinyl. It also has a correlation to the beat, but is not entirely consistent with it. Understanding it now to be the sound of fingernails tapping interpretively to the music, I appreciate the intent behind it. I can't guess how this tapping will come across on differently resolving systems, but my overall comments from above remain. The music on "The Absence" - all of it - is beautiful. I hope most of you do not find the tapping on "So Long" as distracting as I have, and I hope to put my initial impressions of it out of my mind.
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Format: Audio CD
My wife bought me this loveliness this evening, just to be sweet, but this is far from our first swim in that butterscotch rum that is Melody's voice.

"Absence" is an excellent album that has a rather different approach from the hallmark jazz that we've verily enjoyed from her in the past. Frankly, I was ready to be a bit grumpy: it's not often that you find a truly great jazz artist in this day and age; especially not one who sings in French!

But, despite what I considered perhaps an overabundance of Spanish musical influence throughout, "Absence" combines so many other polycultural influences as well, it's rather tough to go wrong, and the grumpyface melted pretty quickly into enjoyment of another fine installment in the music joy of a musician we both love.

Anyone who hasn't taken a good look and listen to this needs to take a bit and just enjoy. Melody Gardot is a woman who, against the odds of terrible poverty and a hit-and-run that left her for dead and shattered her body, has built herself into a truly versatile and very talented musician, composer and performance artist, full of humor but also humility.

She really is rather wonderful, with a true modern jazz mindset that is barely encompassed by the label, and voice that makes people think of Nora Jones, Billy Holiday, and our much-missed Ella Fitzgerald, but which is absolutely, undeniably her own.

On a final note, there is a rather remarkable YouTube playlist, which contains her musicumentary: "The Accidental Musician," which you should definitely start with, as it shows her growth as an artist and her triumph over hardships that, and will make you love her all the more.
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