Gig: Madeleine Peyroux – Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool: 03.12.13

Posted on: Thursday, Nov 14, 2013

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‘The only thing that matters is the song’ says singer-songwriter Madeleine Peyroux. That conviction, along with a one-of-a-kind voice, has carried her from busking on the streets of Paris all the way to mainstream recognition. Through her intensely distinctive renditions of old classics and modern tunes by the likes of Leonard Cohen and The Beatles, Peyroux has proved to be an uncannily insightful interpreter with her consistently impeccable choice of material.

Peyroux’s new album, The Blue Room (out now on Decca), sees the genre-blending singer reworking some landmark musical gems, in a collaboration with long-time Peyroux producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Walter Becker, Tracy Chapman, Herbie Hancock). Following her string of sold out shows at Ronnie Scott’s in London and at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, she returns to Liverpool Philharmonic.

With the sensitive accompaniment of Dean Parks’ guitars, Jay Bellerose’s atmospheric drumming, David Piltch’s bass and as in “Dance Me To the End of Love,” Larry Goldings deft piano, Peyroux sheds an enticing new light on the familiar classic.

The Blue Room feels like a landmark in the artist’s free-spirited musical journey which started in Paris, when ‘drawn to the music of the streets’, 15-year-old Peyroux left school to join a touring blues and jazz band.

“Someone gave me early Columbia recordings with Billie Holiday and instructed me to learn the songs.” Peyroux grasped not just the melody changes, choice of tone and phrasing but the power of the iconic artist’s presence. “It was by learning Billie’s mannerisms that I was learning to listen to my own,” she explains.

Years later, her talent was spotted at a New York club by Atlantic Records’ Yves Beauvais who signed her to the label and co-produced her 1996 debut album Dreamland. Peyroux’s husky voice enchanted punters and critics alike but it was the 2004 Careless Love that proved to be a milestone release for the artist, bringing mainstream recognition and marking the start of a four-album-long collaboration with producer Larry Klein.

It’s a long way from the streets of Paris to collaborating with some of the world’s finest musicians. Still, where others may be content basking in the glow of praising reviews, this charmingly humble musician bravely explores new grounds showing that like jazz itself she is willing to take new chances.

‘A balance of vulnerable humanity and meticulous skill’
The Guardian

Tuesday 3 December 2013 7:30 pm
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Tickets £24, £30
www.liverpoolphil.com

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