Melody Gardot/Philippe Powell: Entre Eux Deux

Rating: ★★★

Record and Artist Details


Melody Gardot (v)
Philippe Powell (p, v)




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Rec. December 2021

The lady quite obviously has talent – and has overcome injuries that threatened to derail her career – but Melody Gardot has always gotten a rough ride in these parts. One can see why; after promising beginnings with Worrisome Heart back in 2008, and early work with Charlie Haden, her music has since degenerated into commercially successful but increasingly grating lightweight jazz-pop on albums like Live In Europe, Sunset In The Blue and Currency Of Man, records unworthy of serious consideration by us jazzers.

So, this new Gardot waxing, I am delighted to report, is actually rather good. A duo album with Philippe Powell (son of the great Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell, who takes over keyboard work, allowing Ms Gardot to concentrate on vocal duties), it comprises 10 Gardot/Powell-composed tunes, one of which, the lead single ‘This Foolish Heart Could Love You’ may well be a standard-in-the-making. In fact, all the songs – notably ‘Plus Fort Que Nous’ and ‘A La Tour Eiffel’ – are strong compositions, musically and lyrically.

The pair obviously like and admire each other, because there’s a palpable chemistry and connection between the two, which suits the album’s intimate intent supremely well. Gardot sings beautifully in both English and French, her enunciation of the latter tongue pin-perfect, while Powell’s dreamy, Evans-like piano runs – his use of space is exquisitely judged – provide the ideal romantic backdrop to their tête-à-tête. Purists may be unconvinced of course, but let ‘em sneer – this is good stuff, the best album Gardot has yet made. Give it a try, you might like it; and if you’re a fan of brooding torch songs, you’ll probably love it.

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