Friday, January 23, 2009

Mulling Over the Grammy Nominations

While scrolling through the list of Grammy nominations for 2009, I was saddened to find that Melody Gardot hadn't received a nomination.

Her debut effort received boatloads of publicity when it was released last spring. Understandably so—she has a compelling back story involving how music played a central role in her recovery from a near-fatal biking accident. She is young and mysteriously beguiling. She sings like a cross between Blossom Dearie and Julie London. Or do I hear June Christie sometimes in her voice? What's it matter—this artist's voice is chameleon-like, and that's part of the joy of listening to it.

Plus there's the fact that she can flat out write a solid song. Gardot plays the guitar, so strings form the primary layer on her sound, but many numbers are enhanced by horn instruments. Rhythmically, her approach is diverse—sometimes a slow bluesy-walk ("Worrisome Heart"), and other times an almost bouncy, girlish skip ("All That I Need Is Love"). You're never bored, and the CD stands up to as many listenings as you're willing to give it.

I noticed that Universal had made her CD available at stores like Barnes & Noble for only $7.99. I'm sure that the company was hoping for a slowly building enthusiasm capped by a Grammy. (This is just how Norah Jones emerged.)

I'm sure Melody Gardot has found a passionate audience. I hope you'll lend her an ear and become a part of it.

By the way, I was pleased to see that Karrin Allyson, one of my favorite jazz singers, received a Best Jazz Vocal nomination for "Imagina: Songs of Brasil". Gorgeous work!

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