Melody Gardot in concert she's in Seattle 6/19

Melody Gardot played Portland's Aladdin Theater last night, and her performance was nothing less than jaw-dropping. I've been a fan since hearing two cuts from her album in a New Years Eve countdown of the year's best releases on Portland's KMHD, but nothing could have prepared me for the power of her live performance. Twelve or fifteen songs from her two releases, most of which were done in a completely different style from the albums, and a band--drummer, bass, and a sax/flute player--with an astonishing range. THE most remarkable combination of vocal talent and songwriting ability that I've yet enountered.

Waiting for my wife outside the theater after the concert, I watched people come out of the theater in near disbelief: did we just hear that? Most concerts you come of of, people are talking afterward about where to go for a drink. The people I saw were all talking rapturously about the performance they'd just seen. Seattleites out there, do yourself a favor and get to the Moore Theater tonight. I'm sorely tempted to get on the road and see her a second time.
Hey, thanks for posting that. I'd seen that she was coming and completely forgotten about it. I just snagged a ticket on the main floor for tonight. The Moore is a great venue. I've sat all over that place for various concerts, even back row balcony for David Byrne - I can say from an acoustic standpoint there is not a bad seat in the house. Gardot has been on my frequent rotation list for months now and I really love her voice - I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for the post!
I saw her Portland appearance advertised after I'd already made plans to go to Walla Walla for the weekend. We drank some great wine and ate some terrific food there. Still, I wish I could have been in two places at once.
Thanks again, Stewie - I saw the Seattle show - outstanding! I was awestruck that she's only 25 as she's just too damn wise beyond those few years. If you weren't actually seeing her, you might think you were listening to a 40-something seasoned jazz singer performing original introspective songs, and interacting with an audience with charm, and wit, and a streetwise wisdom. Anyone who doesn't know her story, well, that's another remarkable aspect of her...but the voice, the music, the songwriting and the spirited energy behind all of it! ...Not to mention legs that go on forever! And damn, that sax player was taking names, the entire backing trio were all outstanding young musicians...but the guy on Sax (and flute, and was that a clarinet or oboe?)...just amazing! At one point I was wondering why he was wearing a second sax around his neck while playing another...until he started playing the same time...very well, I might add!! The entire production is vibrant, creative, soulful...unforgettable. She's heading to Greece and then to Europe after that. Don't miss her if she plays nearby. If you can't see her, do pick up one of her last two CD's, which are both outstanding (though as Stewie said, her stage show is a bit of a departure and stands alone as a must-see experience). Think Eva Cassidy meets Diana Krall...with perhaps a bit of the spirited, youthful creativity of Maddeline Peyroux.
Jax2: glad it lived up to the billing! One thing I'd add emphasize in connection with your post. Her story is amazing, as are her looks; but you're right, it's not her looks or her story that make her great. In fact, I'll go further and say those things can very nearly distract you--well, not you exactly--from what is just an extraordinary talent.

As for the trio: the sax player is Antony Ware, and he's just one of the best I've heard, and fairly young I do believe. The drummer is Charles Staab, early twenties, Princeton grad. The bass player is the extraordinary Charnett Moffett, whose father, Charles Moffett was the drummer for Ornette Coleman (hence the name "Charnette"). There's not a weak link in the chain.
I completely concur - only a few minutes of her on stage and one forgets almost instantly that there is any 'story' at all - one is struck by a refined and confident and unique talent generously offered, with absolutely nothing holding her back. The story is more of a remarkable aside, and is no small stepping stone to where she is today, but it entirely apart from her talent.

Thanks for the insight into the backing trio. Absolutely - no weak links there, and the four of them were magic together.
Regarding Stewie's info on the lineup, I believe the sax player was actually Irwin Hall, who joined the band in October 2009 during its tour of Japan. He and Charles Staab graduated from Princeton in 2007, which would make them both 25 -- the same age as Melody herself. Hall is also a sideman on Charnett Moffett's 2010 release, 'Treasure', and speaks fluent Japanese.

About their mentor at Princeton, Anthony Branker:
(..and the comment on

Anthony Ware is indeed a talented young sax player (now 26) who performed with Irwin Hall while they were in college; Ware was a student at Rutgers. He joined Hall and the band for Melody Gardot's appearance with the New York Pops on June 1 at SummerStage in Central Park, NYC. Here is a video of them performing together at another outdoor event in New York, a May 2009 tribute to Max Roach:
The outdoor concert (tribute to Max Roach) mentioned above actually happened in 2008, when Hall and Ware were 22 or 23. There are two videos (parts 1 and 2):

A bit of their performance together at Melody Gardot's June 1 SummerStage concert is captured in this video (her song 'Our Love is Easy'):
Thanks for the corrections. All I can say is that Anthony Branker must have a fine program if he's producing the likes of Staab and Hall.
Another extremely promising graduate (in 2008) of Branker's program is Julia Brav, who has been studying with Joanne Brackeen for several years.

See this performance of a quartet she is part of.

I find the upcoming young jazz players now in their mid-twenties to be incredibly inspiring. Other examples include the members of Gerald Clayton's trio, bassist Linda Oh, the Le Boeuf brothers, Pascal and Remy, pianists Aaron Parks and Taylor Eigsti, and drummer Ted Poor (a recent Eastman graduate). There are many more.
Thanks for the additional recommendations. I like the younger crowd too. I'm also mightily impressed by the stuff coming out of eastern Europe and the netherlands that's recorded on ECM. I know that the likes of Diana Krall and Wynton Marsalis are immense talents, but I don't find myself going back to their music much.
See the review here.

It's not a particularly good one, but it confirms that Irwin Hall was the sax player that night.
From Stewie:
Twelve or fifteen songs from her two releases, most of which were done in a completely different style from the albums, and a band--drummer, bass, and a sax/flute player--with an astonishing range.
If you haven't seen the following two videos before, you really should see them now. The supporting players, again, are two young musicians in their twenties, from the U.K. and Germany (I think), who have also joined Melody on several of her spring 2010 dates.

"Get Out Of Town" and "I Love Paris" at Olympia (Paris)
"La Chanson des Vieux Amants" (Jacques Brel) at Olympia (Paris)

In April she also did a somewhat different arrangement of Cole Porter's 'Get Out of Town' for a BBC Four Sessions program in London, accompanied by a guitarist and Irwin Hall on sax. This performance was on YouTube for a while, but has since been removed.

Perhaps some of these covers will appear on her next album, on which she has apparently begun working (according to a couple of her posts on Twitter).
See this article, currently online at (but probably not for long). It dwells much more on the accident and its consequences, and her rather mysterious history prior to it, than the music. That said, it is quite well-written and seems to be more carefully researched than usual.

(Note: "Melody Gardot" turns out to be an adopted name.)
Interesting article, and one does get the sense, seeing her live, of young woman, of immense talent, playing a role: the stilt-high heels, allusions to a trail of men, the air of European sophistication. If you look at some of her earliest clips, you see someone whose demeanor was like Eva Cassidy's. The comparison to Dylan in that regard seems perfectly apt. And the role works, too, especially since there's just a smidgen of irony about the whole thing.
Having read Andrew Goldman's article, I can't help but wonder about another alleged fact, that she was born on February 2, which is also Eva Cassidy's birthday. (See Wikipedia.) I don't mean to be cynical by saying that. One gets the sense she is very much in the throes of constructing an identity, because of her age (isn't that what one's teens and 20s are about anyway?), the after-effects of her accident, and the process of unfolding her talent and discovering where it might take her.

I've read quite a lot about the development of young musicians recently, especially jazz musicians, and finding the balance between audacity and humility—with a capacity to listen deeply to other musicians—is central to the process. Some pretense and role-playing is also probably unavoidable for most, especially if one is trying to escape certain constraints and inhibitions of one's background.

NOBODY can doubt her courage.

(PS: In this connection, see this AAJ interview with saxophonist Myron Walden.)
Nicely put, Btv. I guess I only get cyncal about it when it's done badly, and in her case, it certainly isn't.
As an example of what bothers and intrigues me at the same time, see this video taken by an audience member during the June 29 performance in Athens (start of the summer tour of Europe).

Melody starts with a brief quote from 'Don't Explain' (Billie Holiday / Arthur Herzog), and then launches into a radical re-interpretation of her own 'Love Me Like a River Does' (from 'Worrisome Heart'). The original is so perfect that I can hardly stand the thought of it being tampered with, so my initial response was dismay. That feeling didn't completely dissipate, but I couldn't help but be drawn in by what the band does with it. (By now I've played the video several times.) The young German jazz cellist Stephan Braun has been part of many of her European dates this year, and his playing is at the core of this arrangement. Melody's own contribution on piano is also interesting.

I think many fans—especially in the U.S.—of the two released albums may be nonplussed by the direction she is taking now, but that is inevitable. She is just too talented a musician, her artistic interests are too broad, and her range of experience is expanding too quickly, to be constrained by those early expectations and assumptions. European audiences will probably find it easier to keep up with her evolution.
I had the pleasure of hearing her perform live twice, both times in Philadelphia. I agree with the OP. Both concerts had different arrangement from her studio albums. I love when an artist shows creativity like that.