[UNITED STATES ~ ADELAIDE PREMIERE]
Dunstan Playhouse, Fri 8 Jun.
Madeline Peyroux made a very odd entrance indeed; running into the Dunstan Playhouse looking like a stage-hand who had forgotten to fix something. It took a few seconds after Peyroux reached for her guitar for the audience to realise this was the performer they come to see. Once she played said guitar however all was clear. Peyroux’s relaxed and flowing approach not only oozed through her sultry singing but also coursed through her deft finger style acoustic guitar playing.
Commencing her set with a Latin song, Peyroux effortlessly switched from singing in French to English and held the audience captive with her swooning; her fluid black phrasing and slightly flat vocals rich with tone and capturing images of hanging with the cool cats in a smoky Paris jazz club.
Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Peyroux could really not be further from Paris or Latin America but having moved to Paris with her mother at 13 years of age Peyroux clearly absorbed the lush Parisian soundscape, and capably embodies the culture with each refrain one number after another. Peyroux’s repertoire choices were a good mix of her own delightfully charming and funny originals, classic jazz standards, and many more modern selections, such as the always beautifully crafted songs of Leonard Cohen.
Adelaide’s subdued audience reactions appeared to perplex Peyroux a little, and at one point she stated she was ‘not very good at Australian yet’. It surely wasn’t helpful when members of the audience clapped on beats 1 and 3 in a swing tune – lesson 101 in how to kill a jazz feel. Unfortunately this no doubt hindered Peryoux’s ability to feed off energy levels, and although Peyroux’s performance was masterful it seemed to lack spark. Still, the band (Aram Bajakian on guitar, drummer Graham Hawthorne, Andy Ezrin on keyboards and bassist Paul Frazier) chugged along and supported her much as they could, and Peyroux in turn gave them plenty of solo opportunities and acknowledged each of them graciously at various points in the set.
Without question Madeline Peyroux is a formidable interpreter of the jazz genre, and with eyes closed one can sense the soul and spirit of Blossom Dearie and Billie Holiday soar and breathe again.
Madeleine Peyroux performs at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre from 7pm until Sat 9 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.