Jazz singer Melody Gardot signed one of the most interesting albums of the year. Her unique blend of pure jazz ballads (Morning Sun), cool soul funk songs (It Gonna Come) and haunted pop songs (the brilliant Same To You) brings the listener into various moods. Her art just became a few notches darker with this new album entitled “Currency of Man”, released last June 2015 on the prestigious Verve record label.

Try imagining where a mix of MeShell Ndegeocello, Kelis and Cassandra Wilson would create. Funk, but classy music, where the big bass comes together with elegant string arrangements, a few horns and some moog here and there. It is a very modern album that transcends genres, a bit like Feist’s or Elizabeth Shepherd’s music. On the excellent Preacherman, the American singer brings a rock mood that is reminiscent of Dusty Springfield’s best moments, with a Tarantino-movie ambiance. There’s a bit of Tom Waits spice in there too.

 

Gardot suffered head and spinal injuries back in 2003 when a car hit her while she was riding her bicycle in the streets of Philadelphia. This accident left her with neural problems that affect her short and long term memory and made her hyper-sensitive to light and sound. It’s during her year confined to bed in a hospital that she began to compose music, primarily as a way to communicate her feelings. The five song EP, “Some Lessons: The Bedroom Sessions” come from that period.

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Melody Gardot is an experienced singer that explored more traditional vocal jazz in her last three albums. But on “Currency of Man”, the 30 year old musician from New Jersey goes further than ever. By mixing the genres like she does, not only she expands her chances of reaching a larger following but the overall result is way richer than your typical jazz album. “Currency of Man” is full of strong songs, delivered with passion by an inspired singer and a top quality team of musician, namely guitarist Dean Parks, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Larry Goldings, the Waters Sisters as background singers.

One of 2015’s highlights, no doubt.

MELODY GARDOT
Currency of Man
(Verve, 2015)

-Genre: jazz/soul/rock crossover
-In the same style than Elizabeth Shepherd, Sophie Hunger, Lianne La Havas, MeShell Ndegeocello

Follow the artist via her Facebook page
Listen to videos on the artist’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier
Fondateur et rédacteur en chef
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Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 4 500 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Nicolas a publié "Les perles rares et les grands crus de la musique" en janvier 2013, un ouvrage de 1250 pages en deux tomes.