Melody Gardot: New “Preacherman” Video

Melody Gardot’s new video, “Preacherman,” is a gut-wrenching, truly haunting tribute to Emmitt Till. The actress who portrays Emmitt’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, gives an extraordinary and Oscar-worthy performance, embodying the outrage and grief of all mothers who have suffered such horrendously injust losses. The song was also inspired by the more recent deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner (sadly, Freddie Gray’s name was added to this list after this video was originally posted). Gardot’s signature sultry purr is more of a growl as she questions the infuriating insanity of racism and its life-destroying tragedies.

The video’s profits will benefit the Emmitt Till Legacy Foundation and I can only hope its message makes an even bigger impact. The song will be included on Gardot’s new album, Currency Of Man, set for release on June 2.

Remembering Emmett though song is way to remind people that there is no need to continue with senseless crimes. Race and racism do no go hand in hand. We are only one race: human.” -Melody Gardot

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Putumayo Presents: Women of Jazz

Women of Jazz is the magnificent new collection from Putumayo Records featuring some of my favorite modern female jazz singers, such as Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Cassandra Wilson, and Hopes Waits. The disc also features Sophie Milman, Kate Paradise, Jennifer Hartswick, Stacey Kent, Della Griffin, and Etta Jones. Each song is resplendent, and I recommend the album to anyone who enjoys jazz and/or beautiful female vocals.

The silky lilt of Melody Gardot opens Women of Jazz with “Goodnite” from her gorgeous album Worrisome Heart. Her voice holds the warmth and strength of classic jazz singers, but there’s something very modern about her phrasing that makes her stand out from the rest.

It was Madeleine Peyroux‘s sultry cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me To The End Of Love” that first introduced me to the rich voice of the Billiesque chanteuse, Cassandra Wilson’s jaunty “Lover Come Back To Me” was included on her recent release Loverly, and Hope Waits’ brassy rendition of Jackie Wilson’s “I’ll Be Satisfied” was culled from her self-titled debut.

Russian-Canadian singer Sophie Milman’s husky vocals on “Lonely In New York” are classic jazz, but the inclusion of violin and klezmer add a Tin Pan Alley quirkiness to the melody. I’m not usually a fan of scats, but Kate Paradise manages to maintain the elegantly melodic tone of her voice while sliding from sung verses to scat and back again.

Former Phish collaborator Jennifer Hartswick contributes a beautiful rendering of Billie Holiday’s “Lover Man”, Stacey Kent purrs sweetly on “Shall We Dance?”, Della Griffin gives some grit to “It Could Happen To You”, and Etta Jones’ deep howl recalls the other Etta with a hint of Odetta on “Since I Fell For You.”

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below.

Putumayo Official Site

Buy @ Amazon

Melody Gardot: Worrisome Heart

Melody Gardot’s Worrisome Heart was released in February, and it’s a shame I haven’t read or heard more about it. It is this year’s answer to last year’s Miracle Of Five by Eleni Mandell, capturing that kind of timeless jazz mood around Melody’s beautiful voice. As with Eleni, I was first introduced to Melody’s music through the awesome Late Greats. No wonder The Duke’s blog is my #1 read.

Slinky piano slides the lid off of the album on the title track before Melody’s velvet voice brushes the song with a seductive chanteuse vibe. “All I Need Is Love” is a sweeter and jauntier track, while “Gone” slips into soft melancholy.

“Sweet Memory” has just the faintest hint of twang, then “One Day” briefly returns to the sultry jazz style of the opener with burnished brass before easing into a more mellow melody.

“Love Me Like A River Does” is the song that made me an instant fan of Melody. The subtle beauty of Melody’s voice and piano – accented with light bursts of trumpet – afford this Gardot original the elegance of a classic by Chet Baker or Nina Simone.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3 (100% legal blog here, ya know), but you can hear samples at the links below.

Melody Gardot Official Site
Melody on MySpace

Buy the CD or Mp3s (only $6.26 for CD, $5.99 for mp3s!)