MADELEINE PEYROUX, THE BLUE ROOM


Inspired by Ray Charles’ hugely popular Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, Madeleine Peyroux’s Blue Room is like an extra down-filled comforter you want to curl up under – the recording is split between happy-go-lucky road songs and aching ballads, all soothing to the ear and splendidly appropriate for rainy days and Mondays. With her longtime producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Luciana Souza) and MVP band members (pianist/organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Dean Parks, bassist David Piltch and drummer Jay Bellerose) back for more, Peyroux sets her lustrous voice and sympathetic reading to tunes that were once provocative (Charles’ 1962 recording stirred racial emotions on both sides by blending a large white chorus on songs originally penned for white radio.) But Charles’ renditions endured and these days stand relatively free of politics, providing Peyroux an opportunity to coo her distinctive vocals over a lush program – Vince Mendoza arranges an effective string orchestra for most tracks.

While there’s not much difference from Peyroux’s previous stellar albums, Blue Room mixes mid-tempo tunes like “Bye Bye Love” with others by Buddy Holly and Leonard Cohen (the classic “Bird On A Wire.”) Like Billie Holiday, with whom she’s still unfairly compared to, Peyroux conveys heartbreak (the gorgeous “Born To Lose”) with pitch perfect authenticity. Randy Newman’s “Guilty” highlights Peyroux as a femme fatale, but the best is the after hours closer by Warren Zevon. “Desperadoes Under The Eaves” bathes the singer in the dappled glow of candlelight, awash in vulnerability as she sings with clear eyed conviction: 

And I’m trying to find a boy who understands me
But except in dreams you’re never really free
Don’t the sun look angry at me. 

As the tune fades and the strings swirl around her smoldering voice, Madeleine Peyroux drifts into shadow with her heart extinguished but hope intact. (10 tracks; 43 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: MADELEINE PEYROUX, THE BLUE ROOM

Monday, April 1, 2013

MADELEINE PEYROUX, THE BLUE ROOM


Inspired by Ray Charles’ hugely popular Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, Madeleine Peyroux’s Blue Room is like an extra down-filled comforter you want to curl up under – the recording is split between happy-go-lucky road songs and aching ballads, all soothing to the ear and splendidly appropriate for rainy days and Mondays. With her longtime producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Luciana Souza) and MVP band members (pianist/organist Larry Goldings, guitarist Dean Parks, bassist David Piltch and drummer Jay Bellerose) back for more, Peyroux sets her lustrous voice and sympathetic reading to tunes that were once provocative (Charles’ 1962 recording stirred racial emotions on both sides by blending a large white chorus on songs originally penned for white radio.) But Charles’ renditions endured and these days stand relatively free of politics, providing Peyroux an opportunity to coo her distinctive vocals over a lush program – Vince Mendoza arranges an effective string orchestra for most tracks.

While there’s not much difference from Peyroux’s previous stellar albums, Blue Room mixes mid-tempo tunes like “Bye Bye Love” with others by Buddy Holly and Leonard Cohen (the classic “Bird On A Wire.”) Like Billie Holiday, with whom she’s still unfairly compared to, Peyroux conveys heartbreak (the gorgeous “Born To Lose”) with pitch perfect authenticity. Randy Newman’s “Guilty” highlights Peyroux as a femme fatale, but the best is the after hours closer by Warren Zevon. “Desperadoes Under The Eaves” bathes the singer in the dappled glow of candlelight, awash in vulnerability as she sings with clear eyed conviction: 

And I’m trying to find a boy who understands me
But except in dreams you’re never really free
Don’t the sun look angry at me. 

As the tune fades and the strings swirl around her smoldering voice, Madeleine Peyroux drifts into shadow with her heart extinguished but hope intact. (10 tracks; 43 minutes)

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