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The Blue Room CD

4.0 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Celebrated and Award-winning jazz singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Madeleine Peyroux gears up to release her inspired new album, THE BLUE ROOM, March 5, 2013 on Decca. The album is a return to what she is known best for reinterpreting songs with an emotion and depth that cant help but touch the soul.

THE BLUE ROOM features Madeleine reinterpreting songs from Ray Charles seminal album MODERN SOUNDS IN COUNTRY & WESTERN MUSIC, as well as others from legendary artists such as Randy Newman and Leonard Cohen, whose legacies are herein enveloped into a similar melting pot of the variety of American popular song.

Released in the summer of 1962, MODERN SOUNDS was a daring album for Charles as it broke the mold of what was expected from him, and in turn, truly represented artistic freedom something that clearly inspires Peyrouxs album THE BLUE ROOM.

Conceived and produced by the legendary GRAMMY-Award winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Herbie Hancock), he says, Rays cultural landmark of an album has always been a part of me. I have loved this album ever since I can remember and I knew that Madeleine would be the perfect voice to bring it to the forefront again.

Reexamining this album is an ideal project for the multi-talented Madeleine Peyroux, because she comes from that same rare place as Ray Charles the junction of jazz, country and blues. The Brooklyn and Paris-bred artist, with a New Orleans pedigree, Peyrouxs soulfully piercing voice and eclectic musical mix makes for magnificent story-telling. And that is exactly what each of the songs on THE BLUE ROOM does tell a story but from her own perspective. Infusing her own vision and reinterpretation of the songs with modern sensibility, Peyroux brings elements of jazz, country and blues into each song, while evoking a depth of emotion and sound of such legends as Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, and Bob Dylan.

Featuring sparse arrangements, each of the 11 tracks on the album sets a tone and mood that respects where the originals came from, but offers a modern reinterpretation of each song. Truly an inspired record, THE BLUE ROOM features five other tracks that Madeleine felt could accompany Charles seminal album.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Take These Chains
  2. Bye Bye Love
  3. Changing All Those Changes
  4. Born to Lose
  5. Guilty
  6. Bird On The Wire
  7. I Cant Stop Loving You
  8. Gentle On My Mind
  9. You Dont Know Me
  10. Desperadoes Under the Eaves
  11. I Love You So Much It Hurts

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 5, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EmArcy
  • ASIN: B00B2TUKI0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,319 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Madeleine Peyroux has one of those voices that is subtle, sweet and doesn't need to ask for your attention by adding trills or drastic pitch changes through her tracks. It's simple, tasteful and makes all of her music calming, soulful and beautiful. This hasn't changed throughout her career. What has changed is her musicality and what is behind her. Personally I'm a fan of the "stripped down" Peyroux which is why I'm slightly disappointed here that there's no "Sweet Man" or "Weary Blues" type tracks here. Nonetheless Madeleine does some fantastic, and subtle (a bit too much at times) takes on Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, and yes even Randy Newman here.

I'd say if you're the casual Peyroux fan you may want to take pause before immediately buying the whole thing here. While she delivers with her voice, there's just nothing I would consider "spectacular." But Peyroux has never been about flash, and this album is one that after the first few tracks I found myself quite entranced. Her voice is just so pure.
So while this isn't my preferred instrumentation, her voice comes across beautifully especially on a couple tracks:

"Guilty," Madeleine brings her own tonality to this Randy Newman tune and gives it a slight country twist. The song doesn't progress or plateau, but she's extraordinary here, with good range and vibrance.

"Bye Bye Love," Classic Everly Brothers song written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant...this is a swanky, bluesy version of the song and she does it more than justice. My favorite instrumentation on the album and I really like that Peyroux comes up a little above her normal "low-key" nature here.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm always excited to see a new album by Madeleine Peyroux, but I have to prepare myself for disappointment. I thought Bare Bones, with her original compositions, was pretty great, but I felt like most people did not like it. For me, this new album contains some bizarre song choices that highlight the uniqueness of Madeleine's voice and delivery, but not in a good way.

I suppose she is trying to update her image by tackling songs from the 60s-70s. However, the songs - particularly Bird on the Wire and Gentle on My Mind - do not fit Peyroux's very mannered and polished style. She tends to take liberties with the melody. Because every note is so precise, I have no doubt that her choices are deliberate and even rehearsed, but for me they just don't work, particularly on these two songs. The effect is like sitting in a cabaret listening to a singer who looks great but is a bit off-key. I actually winced a few times listening to these two songs.

For me the most successful track on this album is You Don't Know Me. It's more adaptable to a variety of genres and styles. I am reminded of Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge, being urged to sing, and she sits down at the piano and pulls out this song. It's a good song for Madeleine because there is not an iconic version out there, it's a song that's been covered a lot and hers could end up being your favorite version.

I really do applaud Madeleine Peyroux. There's no one else like her. She sounds so much like Billie Holiday sometimes, but her image feels so carefully cultivated and totally her own. I'm wavering between 2 and 3 stars on this record. I'm going with 2. I feel like the song choices set her up for failure. This may be one of those records that I like better with repeated listening. I will try it again in the future when I get in a Madeleine Peyroux mood. There are definitely those moods - just disappointed with this particular record.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I understand that the Ray Charles vein of this disc is lost on some reviewers here, but for those of us who loved Ray's experimentation with a range of genres, this is a stunningly beautiful tribute. Larry Klein's production coupled with Peyroux's brilliant reading of these classics results in a recording that just gets better with repeated listenings. In fact, Peyroux's voice has never sounded more nuanced and fluid. Sadness hasn't sounded this sweet since the great Lady Day, yet Peyroux has now moved past the Billie Holiday pastiche and into her own universe. Can't wait for the next one.
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Format: Audio CD
The first thing that's striking about Madeleine's voice (at least to me) is that she sounds more like Billie Holiday than Billie Holiday did...without ever imitating her. Because let's face it: it's not possible to mimic that utterly unique tone. Whatever fate laid it's wonderful hands on Peyroux's voice to give it that quality, it's just one of nature's peculiar miracles.

I love almost all of her CD's, but could not get a grasp on "Bare Bones" or "Standing on the Rooftop." But until "The Blue Room" there has not been a 100% faultless gem of musical choices. This is it. Absolutely great from the first notes to the last, a gorgeously original fusion of post-modern jazz/blues with a tinge of country. Whoever thought the song "Gentle On My Mind" could bring tears to your eyes? I cannot stop listening to it. Even the CD booklet is a work of art.

Visit the lovely, lonely "Blue Room." You'll never want to leave. Thank you, producer Larry Klein and Madeleine for this extraordinary recording.
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