Melody Gardot - My one and only thrill

Category: Music

Melody Gardot in my humble opinion is one of the most sensual singer-songwriters that I have had the pleasure of discovering and the credit goes to a very good friend across the pond who sent the album my way as a birthday/Christmas gift.

Melody Gardot has a hauntingly beautiful voice and she sure knows how to express her work in the most melodious way, her style which is a combination of Pop, Folk, Jazz, Gypsy Jazz, Viennese Waltzes, Washboard Blues, and Bluegrass with hints of samba is most unique. She gravitates towards blues not because she is a blues singer but because of the sheer emotions she is able to put into her songs. Just like the melody itself, Melody does not restrict herself to a single genre, she crosses from one genre to another in the same song which will basically make her work very appealing to most listeners irrespective of which genre they belong to. She comes through like a breath of fresh air in the world of polluted music

According to Melody her influences include all those who resonate absolute soul and the list is long, including, but not limited to such artists as, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Andre Previn, John Lee Hooker, Janis Joplin, James Taylor, George Gershwin, Carole King, Elvis Costello, Chopin, Debussy, Stravinsky, Astor Piazolla, Charles Mingus et el.

On this album there is synergy between her singing and the music accompanying her voice, it could not have been better. The choice of instruments, the string arrangements, for which the credit goes to Vince Mendoza who is known for his work with Larry Klien on Joni Mitchell albums, and the lush orchestration make this a very pleasurable experience. The quality of recording is exemplary and no wonder the album was nominated a Grammy in the Best Engineered category (Al Shimitt).

Allow me to elaborate on some of the songs from the album “My one and only thrill”

The album starts with “Baby I'm a fool” which is a very intense love song and perhaps a very emotional one for the artist as one could feel the pain in her voice as she renders it.

“Who will comfort me” is a very catchy tune with a great rhythm arrangement and when the muted trumpet comes into play it is just perfect sounding, this instrument can in most cases sound shrill and piercing, not here, it is just the sound of trumpet that one wants to feed to their ears, it is breathtakingly beautiful.

The joy of giving is what this next song “If the stars were mine” is all about. Melody's philosophy in life is beautifully expressed in the exquisite poetry that she penned. The song has a very smooth flow and the beauty of the song is that she has a scatting style that is unique to her. She was only able to scat and hum the tune after her near fatal accident as she could not talk and she incorporated it here as well as in some other songs. There are two versions on the disc one without the string arrangement and one without at the end of the CD, both in their own right sound very good but I am more inclined towards the first one which is without the stings in the background and this is because a song with a latin beat does not necessarily require stings in the background, it sure can stand on its own two feet. This song proves that beyond any doubt.

“Your heart is as black as night” is the darkest of all the songs on this album. And proves her great skills as a first rate pianist as well.

“Les Etoiles” is a French song and her effortless style and authority to render a song in foreign language is very much evident here. No wonder the French have fallen head over heels when it come to Melody. Her album has already gone platinum in France and also did very well in many other parts of the world making her an Internationally acclaimed star.

The evergreen song “Over the rainbow” is so fresh that you may think it was written just yesterday for this album, Melody put her signature on this song and made it hers.

The sense of longing for the beloved in her works is intense and one can feel the emotional turmoil she may be going through considering her past, the breakup with her friend, the accident and divorce of her parents but she persevered against abject adversity. She got her fair share of bad luck at such a young age of just 25 which has made her more mature beyond her 25 years on the planet and it certainly reflects in her works, rather if I dare say it, works of art.

Her music that you listen to is in its most purest form, whether she is in a studio recording it and later you hear it on a record or she is singing live on stage in a concert and last but not least on a talk show. Her voice comes through with uncanny accuracy and sounds the same no matter what the venue. How many artists you have heard thus far can sound like that to you? If you happen to be an audiophile like yours truly you got to experience this album on tube amplification and planar speakers, it will render goosebumps even on the soles of your feet and not just all over your body.

This album was produced by Larry Klien (ex-husband of Joni Mitchell) who is himself an accomplished musician and has him playing bass on three of the tracks here. He has gone on to mainly produce albums for quiet a few female singer-songwriters. He also produced Grammy winning Herbie Hancock's album River: The Joni Letters. In 2010 Klein was nominated for Producer of the Year for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards for production on several albums. This album is produced to near perfection as any album could possibly be.

Melody was asked by an interviewer “You are very young at 24, what is the greatest lesson life has taught you thus far? Her response was, “The greatest joy that any of us will ever experience is from serving others, so when you serve others and then you serve yourself your life is enriched” Melody is serving her best to you in the shape of enchanting music and that too on a silver platter, should you not acknowledge her gift by giving her a listen? Quoting the very words from a a very dear friend who I share the love of music with “If chocolate could be heard, rather than would sound like Melody Gardot!”
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Quadophile is absolutely correct in the sense of the musical truth. I have heard this Album and it is now one of my favorites. This review is "sweet spot" on.

Thank you for the feedback, it is very much appreciated especially coming from someone like you.
I just ordered this CD on Wednesday. I had some credits at CD Universe that I used for my one of my Christmas gifts to myself. You may want to check out Adeles' "19". Very Good!
This album is also one of my favorites as well! Count me as another fan?
Yup - just got a copy over Christmas and it is one sonic splendor and very enjoyable music.

Thanks for the tip will surely check it out.
I too am a big fan. She has that 'IT' factor that separates the great from the very good. Some of the songs on this cd are the most sensual and lovely love songs I've ever heard. Ms. Gardot came back from a very serious auto accident. A big part of her recovery was by way of music.
All: I just finished listening to the new Melody Gardot album "The Absence" (SHM Japan CD pressing). Like her first album, the sonics are amazing and the music extremely compelling,interesting and laid down masterfully. There is a ton of talent here from the vocals, compositions, backing musicians all the way to the mastering by Bernie Grundmann. This is worth checking out and is my favorite thus far; Moroccan, Brazilian, Argentinean (Tango), and Spanish influences dominate. If you haven't heard her work, you are definitely missing out!

BTW...there is a track 12 ("The Willow") that is only present on the Japanese SHM disc. Tracks 1-11 available on all the discs will impress you for all the reasons above. Track 12 is audiophile-dream material to an even greater extent, its haunting, ethereal laced with various instruments including gongs, chimes, Buddhist prayer bowls, etc.....that one track is worth the extra money for the SHM pressing alone!
Anyone heard LP?
Seems to have good deals now on new sealed US release. UK is just few bucks difference for sealed and new...
She's not as known as Norah Jones or Diana Krall, but surely substantially higher class and calibur. Her voice is the sexiest on the planet.
I don't have all of her recordings, but I am very fond of "Worrisome Heart" and her newest, as far as I know on vinyl "Currency of Man" is great. 

Thanks for your review of "My One and Only Thrill"
Nice to see this thread revived...

She's not as known as Norah Jones or Diana Krall, but surely substantially higher class and calibur. Her voice is the sexiest on the planet.

I have to agree. And can only add that her recordings remind me that the "best" musicians or singers or artists of today are par with those from the past. Her songs and voice evoke the past but are very much of this time. Gives me hope that there's still a ton of great music left to make.

Agree with everyone here.  A friend told me about Melody Gardot sometime last year and I found that she's an excellent compliment to music such as Diana Krall and Norah Jones (as mentioned here).  Her last two albums are available in hi-res at hdtracks.  I just wished more of her albums were produced hires (Currency of Man is only 24/44, but it's excellent anyways).

For those of you who like this genre, check out Lyn Stanley (not a well know).  She has hi-res and DSD available at Blue cost.  Also, Heather Rigdon is a lesser known jazz artist (but only 16/44 res if you contact them directly).

I have all of her CDs, I'm a big fan.
My all time favorite song of hers is "Some Lessons" on the Worrisome Heart cd.  You have to hear this song, truly sublime.