‘The Absence’, Melody Gardot’s third album and the follow-up to her critically acclaimed international bestseller, ‘My One and Only Thrill’ is scheduled for release by end May 2012. Gardot always succeeds in striking a balance between vulnerability and cool seduction. Her music seems to be steeped in unfulfilled longing. The story of 27-year old Melody Gardot’s career reads like a fairy tale. She already gave a concert at the Ghent Jazz Festival in 2009, which was warmly received.
After the release of ‘My One And Only Thrill’, Melody Gardot spent the next two years touring in support of her record. She then took some time out and spent some time exploring new resources. ‘The Absence’ reflects the time she spent in Morocco, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil. She wrote twelve new songs, which encompass the sound and feel of all these exotic locales and more. The deserts of Morocco provided her with new force and inspiration. In Lisbon she discovered saudade, listened to the musical sounds of the streets and explored fado clubs. As an avid tango dancer she absorbed the dramatic tango rhythms and spirit of Buenos Aires and in Brazil she was infected by the smiles of the locals and their passion for samba.
‘A lot of the stories on the record come from my experiences, but also from the observation of people, living with them, the sadness and joy that came about in little moments’, she says.
Gardot’s career as a singer and composer truly reads like a fairytale. When she was 19 she was riding a bicycle to college when she was struck by an SUV which ran a red light. The near-death experience proved to be a life-changing experience. She spent a year flat on her back because of various fractures in her pelvis and head injuries, which in turn resulted in significant memory problems. A doctor suggested music therapy to as a possible aid in dealing with the cognitive impairment caused by her head injuries.
Gardot had taken piano lessons at the age of nine and played in a bar from the age of sixteen until she was nineteen. She learned to play the guitar on her back in bed because she couldn’t sit at the piano without experiencing pain. She soon progressed albeit with some pitfalls. She also started recording what she was playing. And started to hum along to her songs. Subsequently she started to scat and add lyrics to her music.
Today she uses a cane, which she calls ‘Citizen Cane’ for stability and balance. She is forced to wear dark glasses to compensate for hyper-photosensitivity, and sometimes earplugs. The slender blonde’s cool style is reminiscent of Peggy Lee and she uses her voice with care, simultaneously sounding sensual, sincere and vulnerable.
Melody Gardot (piano, guitar, vocals), Petri Korpela (percussion), Mitchell Long (guitar), Stephan Braun (cello), Irwin Hall (tenor & alto saxophone), Jamila Ford (backing vocals), Celia Chavez (backing vocals), Charnett Moffett (bass), Charles Staab (drums)