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"Careless Love" is One of the Year's Best Releases,
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This review is from: Careless Love (Audio CD)
As labels and critics search for someone to declare the "next Nora Jones", I'm surprised that few have turned to Madeleine Peyroux one of her precursors. The French expatriate Peryoux released her first album, Dreamland, on Atlantic Records in 1996. The cd was well promoted and ended up doing quite well for a jazz oriented release.
Ms. Peyroux didn't seek instant fame and promptly dropped out to spend the six years on a spiritual quest and to spend time with friends and family. To her credit, career amibition was not at the top of Madeleine's list of priorities...she had better things to do. Lucky for us, the venerable indie label, Rounder Records has enticed her back into the studio for another set of music and a cd that is getting the same kind of word of mouth praise that launched Nora Jones' career.
Those less educated in jazz idioms may compare her to Billie Holliday...her timbre and pitch are just very similar. Those with a nuanced ear will here strains of Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Peggy Lee and a host of other torch singers, even Joni Mitchell, who was one of Madeleine's producers for Careless Love.
One of the songs Peyroux interprets on the new CD was sung in 1940s Paris by another American-born artist, Josephine Baker. The sweet melody saluted bonds between America and France while expressing the bittersweet emotions of the expatriate.
Her takes on Elliott Smith's Between the Bars and Hank William's Weary Blues are superb,but her reading of Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is so remarkable, you will find yourself replaying it over and over. She captures the ambivalence of the lyrics in a way Dylan never did. As much as I spun and respun the Dylan tune, I was in nirvana upon hearing Leonard Cohen's "Waltz Me To The End of Love", in which she fully renders the unblinking fatalism of Cohen's lyrics. Peyroux is to Cohen's music what Dionne Warwick was to Burt Bacharach's music... the definitive interpreter who sets the standard for all.
Singer Madeleine Peyroux moved to France at age 15. She honed her vocal talents on the streets of Paris, busking with groups with names like the Riverboat Shufflers and the Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band.
Madeleine's live shows have proven her to live up to the current hype. Her pronunciation so clear and the word nuances so well united with her use of facial expression, seeing her in person is really necessary for a full appreciation of her art. In performance she has the aura of a Parisian muse in the tradition of Jeanne Moreau or Isabelle Adjani. I hope very much that a live performance video will be spawned by the album so that her wider audience will have the joy of seeing all of this.
Madeleine, in her own quiet, unassuming way is as much bigger than life as any of her heroes. Though she's compared to "Lady Day" ; Billie Holliday is just a point of reference for Ms. Peyroux. You might as well be comparing the Rolling Stones to Chuck Berry, or Bob Dylan to Woody Guthrie. The similarities are there but dissipate very quickly upon hearing enough of her music.
"Careless Love" is one of the best releases of this year, and an enduring classic for any year. If you like jazzy female vocal stylists don't miss this one.
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Initial post: Aug 4, 2007, 9:19:31 AM PDT
helen anderson says:
Ms Peyroux is American born . . . . ..
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