This three-LP collection brings together Ms Peyroux’s second album, the one that launched her career in 2004, together with two further vinyl discs of a concert at a Spanish jazz festival in 2005. After an average first LP eight years earlier, the second really took off and launched her on a tour of Europe where the two additional discs were recorded for Spanish radio.
The studio set was the best of this batch, partly because she had a specially picked band of studio musicians, well versed in jazz performance, to back her. The programme, a cute mix of jazz, gospel, blues and country music worked well, and she enjoyed support from a pianist doubling on Hammond organ, a guitarist, a tight rhythm section and a trumpeter on two tracks.
Best perhaps are her intimate, confessional style on Weary Blues and Careless Love, where her phrasing and delivery are personal but her intense, emotive voice reminds listeners of Billie Holiday. Madeleine acknowledged the inspiration herself. She also brought to the recording studio the ability to put over convincing country-music vocals on Lonesome Road and a folksy quality on bob Dylan’s You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone. The band suited her ideally, with Larry Goldings on piano and organ and Dean Parks on guitar outstanding.
The live tracks in Spain are different, inevitably so. The hand-picked professional studio musicians were unavailable apart from drummer Scott Amendola and she was reduced to a rhythm section of piano, bass and drums. Not that there was anything wrong with Kevin Hays and the rhythm players who support well throughout these two discs but there was no guitar, organ or second drummer and trumpeter. So the overall sound is, of course, slightly different.
The reduced lineup did give Madeleine the chance to play guitar herself on a few selections and she proved to be a good improvising musician on that instrument. Her voice once again is warm, intimate and communicates easily with the enthusiastic audience. The music chosen is much the same as the first record, not surprising as she was actively promoting it at the time. In addition, there are tasty versions of Walking After Midnight, I Hear Music and Destination Moon added, the last named a solid swinger.
All three records maintain a high standard of jazz vocals and are well recorded, both studio and location tracks.
LP1: (1) Dance Me To The End Of Love; Don’t Wait Too Long; Don’t Cry Baby; You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome Me When I’m Gone; Between The Bars; No More: Lonesome Road; J’ai Deux Amours; Weary Blues; I’ll Look Around; Careless Love; This Is Heaven To Me (42.29)
LP2: (2) Dance Me To The End Of Love; Don’t Cry Baby; Don’t Wait Too Long; You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When I’m Gone: Between The Bars; J’ai Deux Amours; Walking after Midnight; No More (34.12)
LP3: (2) Lonesome Road; I Hear Music; I’ll Look Around; Careless Love; Destination Moon; This Is Heaven to Me (32.35)
Peyroux (v, g) with: (1) Dean Parks (elg); Larry Goldings (p, org, cel); David Piltch (b); Jay Belerose, Scott Amendola (d); Lee Thornburg (t). Hollywood, 2004. (2) Kevin Hays (p); Matt Penman (b); Amendola (d). Spain, 15 July 2005.