Smoldering sensuality and stormy improvisation collide in a spellbinding performance from jazz-pop seductress Melody Gardot, who makes a smashing concert film debut on the stylish DVD Live at the Olympia Paris.
Dressed in black from head to toe, wearing a fedora, dark sunglasses and skin-tight leather pants, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and Philadelphia native appears perfectly at ease in the dark, smoky ambiance of the legendary venue. Pulling most songs from 2009’s My One and Only Thrill and her current album Currency of Man, Gardot and her band exhibit a wondrous chemistry that’s combustible and disciplined, erotic and tempestuous. The horn section swings, with saxophone solos that flow and erupt, and drummer Chuck Stabb displays a light, but deft touch, as a cameras float in and around the instrumental ballet, resulting in sumptuous imagery.
As for Gardot, she commands the lion’s share of attention, whether smartly manipulating her guitar or wheeling around a piano. Her vocals are captivating and full of personality, sexy and worldly in the sleazy, bluesy creep of “Bad News” and the steamy, simmering tension of “Same to You,” but soothing and wounded in “Baby I’m a Fool.” As evidenced by the chaotic funk of “Same to You,” the amorphous, experimental crash of a sprawling “March for Mingus” and its more soulful twin “Morning Sun,” all these forces of nature create beautiful messes that suddenly coalesce into substantive melodies you wish would hang around a little longer. We’ll always have Paris, Melody Gardot.
– Peter Lindblad