CD review: Melody Gardot – Live in Europe 2018: Video

After a serious car accident when she was 19, Melody Gardot used the experience as a springboard to musical success she might never have achieved otherwise. Gardot had played the piano before the accident, and a doctor suggested that she use music as a kind of recovery therapy.

Since she couldn’t sit comfortably at the piano, she picked up a guitar and now after several albums she is celebrating the international tour success of her career so far by brings us her first ever album of live recorded music. “Live In Europe” presents live versions of her greatest hits recorded at concerts worldwide between 2012 & 2016. An album personally curated by Melody herself, hits include Baby I’m A Fool, My One and Only Thrill, Les Etoiles & March For Mingus.

The cover shows a woman, center stage, spotlit, back to the camera, nude save a guitar. The inference is obvious: This, her first live album, is Gardot laid bare. But Gardot has ranked among the most nakedly honest and emotionally vulnerable of singers, ever since her stellar debut with Worrisome Heart in 2008. Live in Europe’s two discs—17 cuts culled from more than 300 concerts between 2012 and 2016—simply confirm that she exhibits the same breathtaking naturalism in front of thousands-strong audiences.

Rather than seek out the most perfect performances, Gardot assembled her choices based on the sage belief that “live there is only one element that counts: heart,” as she puts it in her liner notes. Several tracks focus on her deeply simpatico rapport with cellist Stephan Braun, including exquisite duets on “Deep Within the Corners of My Mind” and “Over the Rainbow,” as well as a “My One and Only Thrill” with Gardot at the piano and Chuck Staab on drums. There’s a rousing, crowd-thrilling “Lisboa” from, of course, Lisbon. “Baby I’m a Fool” is the only song presented twice, first from Vienna, mirroring the tremulous beauty of the original studio session, and second from London, intriguingly sprier and sunnier. But the standout tracks are an 11-minute “The Rain,” a resounding showcase for Gardot, Braun, Staab, bassist Aidan Carroll, and saxophonist Irwin Hall; and a colossal “March for Mingus” highlighting Hall and bassist Sam Minaie.

  1. Our Love Is Easy (Live) 06:22
  2. Baby I’m A Fool (Live In Vienna) 04:24
  3. The Rain (Live) 11:22
  4. Deep Within The Corners Of My Mind (Live) 06:56
  5. So Long (Live) 05:35
  6. My One And Only Thrill (Live) 07:33
  7. Lisboa (Live) 07:06
  8. Over The Rainbow (Live) 05:06
  9. (Monologue) Special Spot (Live) 02:09
  10. Baby I’m A Fool (Live In London) 04:03
  11. Les etoiles (Live) 03:23
  12. Goodbye (Live) 04:05
  13. (Monologue) Tchao Baby (Live) 00:22
  14. March For Mingus (Live) 11:13
  15. Bad News (Live) 06:29
  16. Who Will Comfort Me (Live) 07:19
  17. Morning Sun (Live) 12:22

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