Thursday, August 04, 2011

Madeleine Peyroux - NYC Jazz Record

Madeleine Peyroux - Standing on the Rooftop

Vocalist Madeleine Peyroux, with her Eleanora Fagan
croon and marquee-ready name, is the perfect
songstress for quiet rooms and even quieter thoughts.
Since her debut 15 years ago Peyroux has built a
comfortable niche that peaked in 2004 with the millionselling
album Careless Love. Peyroux’ fifth album,
Standing on the Rooftop, contains a balance of original
songs and covers that should easily satisfy her fanbase
and record label, with A-list contributions from
guitarist Marc Ribot, drummer Charley Drayton,
pianist Allen Toussaint and violinist Jenny Scheinman.

The album opens with a sedate, countrified cover
of The Beatles’ “Martha My Dear”. The only thing
missing is the sound of crickets to capture that frontporch
feel. Considering that she sold millions of
records by singing other people’s songs it is curious
that the album’s sequencing is set up to put the hit first
and pray that listeners stick around. Should the listener
invest they will be treated to a solid collection of tunes
that rarely raises the blood pressure. “Fickle Dove”,
her first of back-to-back co-writes with Scheinman,
finds Peyroux channeling Santo & Johnny while the
title song and closer “The Way of All Things” adopt an
ethereal boogie that provide the most uptempo
moments of the album. Dylan’s “I Threw It All Away”
gets a choppy reading while the original “Don’t Pick a
Fight with a Poet” has a nice bouncy refrain with Peyroux’ lilting
vibrato carrying the weight.

Looking as barefoot and bemused on the cover of
this record as she was on Careless Love can’t be a
mistake. Although she is often referred to as a jazz
vocalist, Peyroux rarely swings on this record and the
soloing space is fairly limited. She is simply an
excellent vocalist who can be a country singer, a cabaret
chanteuse or a misty-eyed crooner. It is not a wide
range but it is always well done - whether she sells a
million records or not.

Madeleine Peyroux @ NYC Jazz Record

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