Jazz throwback embraces the past and present
BEAVER CREEK – Long before Norah Jones had two generations of music lovers swaying in their seats, Madeleine Peyroux stumbled off the streets of Paris and into the hearts, minds and souls of devotees worldwide.
Jazz sensation Peyroux appears with her trio at the Vilar Center Friday in support of her sophomore album, “Careless Love,” which climbed to No. 5 on Billboard Magazine’s Heatseekers chart and No. 4 on Amazon sales in 2004.
Peyroux first burst onto the scene in 1996 with her debut album, “Dreamland,” and was greeted with a veritable torrent of gushing reviews. Most raved about her smoke-and-whiskey vocals, often comparing her to the late, great Billie Holiday. Others wondered how someone so young could perform classic songs by Holiday, Bessie Smith and Pasty Cline so convincingly, that they sound like her own. Time Magazine pronounced the ground-breaking Dreamland “the most exciting, involving vocal performance by a new singer this year.”Born in Athens, GA., Peyroux (pronounced pay-roo) grew up in Paris with her French-teacher mother. Quickly becoming hooked on French culture, Peyroux honed her skills and developed her style by performing with street musicians in the Latin Quarter, soon joining them on European tours. Although Peyroux’s shows are now booked around the globe, she still has a very personal relationship with French culture. On her debut album she covered Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” and on “Careless Love” she delivers a vibrant version of “J’ai Deux Amours” (“I Have Two Loves”), a song that American expatriate Josephine Baker sang to Allied troops in France during the Second World War.
“In many ways, Josephine Baker embodied that song because she represented an alliance between America and France during the war,” Peyroux says. “It has so much symbolism, and it’s important to remember that in these days of strained international relations.””Peyroux’s broken-hearted alto has a bittersweet style that makes the listener sigh with familiarity and smile at the freshness of the compositions. She puts her own twist on some of the greatest songwriters’ works including Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, W.C. Handy and Hank Williams. But Peyroux isn’t imitating anybody, she has her own story to tell and is proving herself to be an original interpreter and an open receptor to songs from earlier eras-an artist who channels vintage jazz and blues with chilling accuracy,” said Shelley Woodworth, Vilar Center’s director of marketing. Tickets to the Madeleine Peyroux Trio performance Friday can be purchased at the Vilar Center Box Office at 845.TIXS (8497) or online at http://www.vilarcenter.org.Vail Colorado