Album Remarks & Appraisals:
The extraordinary Melody Gardot returns May 29th with a stunning new album 'The Absence'. The follow-up to her 2009 critically acclaimed international best-seller 'My One and Only Thrill', this new album is steeped in Melody's global travels and worldly influences. 'The Absence' reflects time spent in the deserts of Morocco, the tango bars of Buenos Aires, the beaches of Brazil and the streets of Lisbon. The 11 original songs encompass the sound the feel of all these exotic places and more.
The enchanting behind-the-scenes piece is narrated by Melody herself and features commentary from renowned guitarist Hector Pereira, whose Spanish guitars provide the backbone for the new record. The singer also shares how her travels in Lisbon and Brazil brought new life to her music: "I sat under a tree and I had this thought," says Melody, "which is if you sit under a tree long enough, either somebody finds you or you find yourself. And I found myself.
Billboard (p.72) - "On the song 'Amalia' she connects with the same Brazil Paul Simon explored on THE RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS....'If I Tell You I Love You' and 'Goodbye' land between cabaret and Tom Waits' mid-'80s albums."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Gardot's silken voice, musicality and knack for a telling lyric exude class."
Uncut (magazine) (p.73) - "The songs are terrific...loose, lovely, dramatic things alternating between the brightest sunshine and the deepest midnight blue."
Personnel: Melody Gardot (vocals, piano); Heitor Pereira (vocals, guitar, piano, percussion); Jo Ann Turovsky (harp); Alyssa Park, Serena McKinney, Katia Popov, Helen Nightengale, Phillip Levy , Tamara Hatwan , Lisa M. Sutton , Bruce Dukov, Julie Gigante, Sarah Thornblade, Roger Wilkie, Tereza Stanislav (violin); Marlow Fisher, Matthew Funes , Brian Dembrow, Keith Greene, Roland Kato, Dave Walther , Darrin McCann, Andrew Duckles (viola); Paula Hochhalter, Christina Soule, Dennis Karmazyn, Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick, Armen Ksajikan, Martin Tillman, Stephen Erdody , Andrew Shulman, Cecilia Tsan (cello); Dan Higgins (flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet); Coco Trivisonno (bandoneon); Larry Goldings (melodica, piano); Ron Kerber (clarinet); Jessica Pearlman (oboe); Harry Kim, Ramon Flores (trumpet); Andrew Lippman (trombone); Jim Keltner, Peter Erskine (drums); Paco Arroyo, Yolanda Arroyo, Paulinho Da Costa (percussion); Alfie Silas-Durio, Ali Witherspoon, Louis Price, Phil Roy, Tata Vega, Bill Cantos, Bill Maxwell (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Antonio "Moogie" Canazio.
Photographer: Fabrizio Ferri.
Arranger: Heitor Pereira.
If Melody Gardot's 2009 sophomore effort, My One and Only Thrill, sustained the sultry, atmospheric vibe of her critically acclaimed 2006 debut, her 2012 follow-up, The Absence, is a bit of a creative departure for the vocalist. Apparently inspired by her world travels, and specifically by a trip that brought her to the desert around the city of Marrakech, the album moves her away from smoky, small-group jazz and into a bright, if still bedroom-eyed, rhythmically exotic sound. Produced by guitarist/composer Heitor Pereira, the album is a lush, somewhat orchestral album that finds Gardot delving into various Brazilian, Spanish, and African-influenced sounds -- including bits of samba, tango, bossa nova, and calypso -- that evince her global journey. However, rather than simply making a standards album, Gardot continues her all-original approach, offering up new literate and passionately delivered compositions that bring to mind the work of such similarly inclined artists as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Simon, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and others. Although there are a few name musicians who help add spice to Gardot's musical caravan here, including percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, drummer Peter Erskine, and bassist John Leftwich, primarily it is still Gardot's burnished and yearning vocal style that takes the helm on these tracks. ~ Matt Collar
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