Melody Gardot & Philippe Powell: Entre Eux Deux

The singer's sixth album has a powerful French flavour and features pianist Philippe Powell, son of guitarist Baden Powell

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Gardot’s last album, Sunset In The Blue (2020) was a much-modified recording because of the pandemic, with musicians contributing their parts from studios around the world. Sometimes less is more and it became of one my favourite releases of last year. This album, her sixth, is a worthy addition to an already impressive catalogue. 

Born in New Jersey, Gardot is more often to be found living in Europe – first Portugal and now France. This album could not feel more French if it had been recorded by Edith Piaf. This Foolish Heart Could Love You is typical of much of Gardot’s previous work, but the rest of the album is minimalist and sparse, filled exclusively by piano and voice. Piano is provided by Philippe Powell (son of Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell), whom Gardot refers to as “the Bill Evans of Brazil”.

A song dedicated to the Eiffel Tower (A La Tour Eiffel) and a cover of Plus Fort Que Nous from Claude Lelouche’s cinema classic Un Homme Et Une Femme all add to the album’s French credentials.Gardot and Powell’s shared love of deep poetry and solid melodies results in what Gardot describes as “a dance between two people who love and value the same things”.

Gardot’s voice is as delicate, cinematic and expressive as ever, whilst Powell’s piano goes beyond accompaniment and creates a voice of its own. The result is a whispered conversation between two friends – beautiful and intimate, with a simplicity rarely found in modern commercial jazz recordings. The title track, Entre Eux Deux (roughly translating to “between the two of them”) is a fitting description.

Gardot constantly searches out new musical directions while retaining a respectful and sentimental hold on the past. She is never afraid to experiment, and in many respects this album represents a continuation of that journey. It should also serve to introduce the talent of Philippe Powell to a wider audience.

Discography
This Foolish Heart Could Love You; What Of Your Eyes; Plus Fort Que Nous; A La Tour Eiffel; Flyers Du Dimanche; Samba Em Preludio; Perhaps You’ll Wonder Why; Recitativo; Ode To Every Man; Darling Fare Thee Well (41.23)
Gardot, Philippe Powell (v, p). Studio Guillaume, Paris. No recording dates given.
Decca 4508810