Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 7, No. 6, 2008

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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Phil Nixon
Robert Rotondo
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Diane Gordon
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Jazz Contributors

Tommy Emmanuel
John Stetch
Susie Arioli
Coral Egan
Diana Krall
Stacey Kent
Carol Welsman
Aldo Romano
Denzal Sinclaire
Madeleine Peyroux
Bireli Lagrene
Sonido Isleño
Provost & Lachapelle
Kevin Breit
Sophie Milman
Annie Poulain
Badi Assad
Donato & Bouchard
Ingrid Jensen
John Roney
Russell Malone
David Binney
Kurt Rosenwinkel
Mimi Fox
Voo Doo Scat
Coral Egan
Martin Taylor
Jordon Officer

Montreal Guitarmania 2008 (Martin Taylor, D. Ross, J. Officer etc
2008 Jazz en Rafale Festival (Montreal) - Mar. 27th - April 5th -- Tél. 514-490-9613 ext-101 (featuring David Binney)
Montreal Jazz Festival 2006 Montreal Guitar Show 2008







Piano Keyboard


by Neila Mezynski

Featured artist: MELODY GARDOT

The field is littered with bodies of unfulfilled singers and songwriters. Melody Gardot could have chosen an easier path than that of jazz. Considering her youth and musical inexperience I would have thought rock or fusion a better fit; genres not as demanding as jazz based more on performance than skill. But jazz it was; difficulties be damned! Granted, it’s important to keep on pushing the envelope in the name of creativity but so much of new music is a hodgepodge; no particular skills required. Fusion being one outcome; an overly enthusiastic response to mining the field. It seems to this music lover that good songwriting comes down to the nature, core of the songwriter; already, there is an inherent simplicity and sincerity in Gardot’s music. Melody Gardot opens the diatonic door wide open. At the unripe age of 21 (when the songs from Worrisome Heart were composed), she understood the strength and simplicity of melody, the place where a classic song can hang its hat, grab hold. I for one can’t get some of her songs out of my head.

Being a good and disciplined songwriter not only entails knowledge of music but an inherent feel for it. It would seem Melody has had some previous musical training if only for the reason she plays piano and guitar on the recording with a certain amount of expertise. (I heard through the grapevine that she took classical piano lessons when young). Even though Gardot has shown the good sense to surround herself with fine musicians for backup, the writing and quality of the music rests on her young shoulders. Gardot sticks with the basics, a nice standard ABAB format; she doesn’t push it. Her lyrics blend well with the music and are about failed relationships, something she claims to have first hand knowledge; “a lot of juice there,” Gardot quips. Composition ‘101’ advocates that in order to write well and have some kind of impact it’s necessary to write about things and subjects one knows well. Melody is no stranger to hardship.

Getting to the 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival was no easy trip for young Melody Gardot. After suffering a near fatal bicycle accident at age 19 in her hometown of Philadelphia, her doctor encouraged her to get involved in music as therapy for her brain injury, and get involved she did. Discovering she had an affinity for songwriting and singing, the EP, Some Lessons -- The Bedroom Sessions was the outcome, recorded from her bedside. A local DJ, impressed with Melody’s remarkable talent and courage, brought her to the public’s awareness. The Philadelphia City Paper shone more light on her when they awarded her with their 2005 annual People’s Choice Award and her first newspaper article. When questioned as to her musical influences she says “all music, anything that resonates absolute sound”. She doles the influences out, carefully metering them such as “Quiet Fire,” – and its little suggestion of ‘country. For the most part her music is jazz and blues. The songs, ”Worrisome Heart,” with its easy piano and silken trumpet, and “Sweet Memory,” with its chuggin’ down the tracks guitar and muted trumpet are definitely bluesy and soulful.

With a pared down band, Gardot introduced her 10-track CD, Worrisome Heart, at the 2008 Montreal Jazz Festival to critical acclaim. Recorded when she was only 21, it’s filled with fresh original material. For her three concerts at Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, Melody, who played piano and sang, was sympathetically backed up by Matt Cappy on trumpet, Charlie Patierno on drums and Ken Pendergast on bass.

The song “Worrisome Heart” is a fusion of jazz and blues; on the CD it features the smooth tenor sax of Ron Kerber and tranquil trumpet of Matt Cappy. “All That I Need Is Love” is an up tempo tune with a tease of Cajun and fresh. “Gone” is a heartfelt ballad with Diane Monroe on violin. “Quiet Fire” nicely crosses into Country and Western territory. “One Day” has an endearing quality, a sweet, simple, uncomplicated melody with the fine Stan Slotter on trumpet. “Love Like A River” stumbles over its lyrics but Gardot’s piano saves the day. “Some Lessons,” the only song that explicitly refers to her accident, drips honey despite its content, and recalls Billie Holiday’s “Goodnite.”

Melody Gardot’s music is all about keeping it sincere, basic and heartfelt; it takes courage keeping it simple, she’s got plenty.

Melody sings "Worrisome Heart."

Photo Credit © Marcel Dubois




John Coltrane
Miles Davis
Thelonius Monk
Charlie Mingus
Oscar Peterson
Charlie Parker
Dizzy Gillespie
Wes Montgomery
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