Shortly after coming on stage on a piece in the spirit of bossa nova, Melody Gardot pointed out to her admirers gathered on Sunday at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier that she had a little something new. She was indeed on stage with a microphone in one hand, but without the guitar slung over the shoulder with which we are used to seeing her. “He plays so well, she said of her pianist, that he makes me want to stop [playing]. »
The pianist in question was Philippe Powell, the son of Baden Powell di Aquino, musician and composer with whom she concocted her most recent album, Between them two. However, if this album released in the spring of 2022 was simply based on the pianist’s playing and the velvet voice of the American singer established in France, it was quite different for her Sunday concert: Melody Gardot was surrounded by no less 16 musicians, including two percussionists and a string ensemble from Montreal.
The imposing orchestra was not there to furnish the decor, but to put luster, movement and color in the stories that the singer tells with this velvet voice that she poses in a beguiling way, but always with class. , on jazz or Brazilian songs. The contribution of the orchestra was, throughout the concert, of great elegance and, above all, of beautiful restraint.
The anchor, at the heart of this concert, was of course Melody Gardot. Not just because she’s the epitome of cool—mysterious, suave, sometimes a little mischievous—but also because she was clearly the one in control. You had to see her give directions to her orchestra during C’est magnifique, encouraging them to raise their voices, to understand how much she leads the game. What she does with extreme tact and tact and great generosity towards its musicians, whom it moreover presented at the beginning of the concert rather than at the end.
After having interpreted Love Song and C’est magnifique from Sunset in Blue (2020) and Our Love is Easy (from My One and Only Thrill), which was of a tender beauty, she also gave up the stage to Philippe Powell, who interpreted a piece of his composition, Obstinada, in tandem with the inventive Brazilian percussionist whose name we unfortunately misunderstood. The latter added a host of sound effects giving the impression of being in a lush forest for a walk that is sometimes peaceful, sometimes carried away. The amazing duo was warmly applauded by the room.
The next moment, Melody Gardot returned to place herself at the heart of the action, and without even a snap of her fingers, she reinstalled this warm atmosphere even in her outbursts of sadness that she had hitherto imposed with a natural absolutely disarming. In about 90 minutes of concert, she only played a dozen pieces, but all of which were enriched by her accompanists, in particular by Philippe Powell, omnipresent even in his discretion, and deployed with great finesse.
His admirers, in addition to the pieces already mentioned, were also able to taste This Foolish Heart Could Love You, Samba Em Preludio (A day without you), Coraçao Vagabundo, Les étoiles and a few others. The loud applause made it very clear that they were delighted. And we understand them: Melody Gardot offered a concert where, apart from a little frying during Our Love Is Easy, everything was perfect and of great class.