Baptiste Trotignon, Melody Gardot

Mashing-up Brel’s Ne Me Quitte Pas and Gainsbourg’s La Javanaise, it can be done, and it sounds great. French jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon expertly ties these well-known chansons together on his new album. Ne Me Quitte Pas starts gentle, then Baptiste gets mental. Or desperate – just like NMQP. Then, he finishes in a melancholy mood, that fits La Javanaise, after all a song that’s about a love affair that lasts just one song. It all sounds very left bank. Serge and Jacques knew each other well, and toured together. I’m reading the English translation of Gilles Verlant’s indispensible Gainsbourg-biography, in which he tells stories of Brel charming every girl in the little town he, Serge and a small troupe of variety-artists passed through, with Serge taking note(s).
Trotignon covered Gainsbourg before, together with Aldo Romano he mashed-up Valse de Melody and Je t’aime… Mon non plus. On his new album, Song Song Song, Trotignon has another FS-regular as a guestvocalist. Melody Gardot is breezes (or should I say, breathes) through Mon fantôme. Nice.

Baptiste Trotignon – Ne Me Quitte Pas/La Javanaise
Baptiste Trotignon & Melody Gardot – Mon fantôme

Melody Gardot

Edith Piaf did (co-)write La Vie en Rose, she wasn’t the first one to record the song. Wikipedia tells us originally, the song was registered as being written by Louis ‘Louiguy’ Guglielmi, since at the time Piaf did not have necessary qualifications to be able to copyright her work with SACEM. In 1945, Piaf’s friend Marianne Michel gave it a first try, for Piaf wasn’t sure it would fit in her repertoire. But from the first time she did sang the chanson, it became her signature song. La Vie en Rose was covered many, many times. Louis Armstrong (love his version), Dean Martin, Madeleine Peyroux, Aretha Franklin, Grace Jones, the list goes on.
And now American jazz singer Melody Gardot covered it, on her most recent album The Absence (a music magazine joked that the title refers to the lack of clothing on the album cover). Melody spices it up, sings it like it’s a booty call. Hard to ignore, judging from that album cover.

Melody Gardot – La vie en rose

Juliette Gréco & Melody Gardot

The everlasting Mme Gréco (b. 1927) is back, with another album. Featuring younger stars, like Marc Lavoine, Féfé and blonde Jersey girl Melody Gardot. Together they sing Sous les ponts de Paris, a standard dating back to 1914. Ponts, or bridges, are the recurring theme on Ça ce traverse et c’est beau, with covers and new songs. Like fellow living chanson legend Charles Aznavour, her voice isn’t what it used to be – Gréco talks or growls more than she sings. Yet, she’s still standing. One has to bow.

Juliette Gréco & Melody Gardot – Sous les ponts de Paris

Melody Gardot

I’m not exactly an admirer of those after-hours sound smoothies that are sold as ‚vocal jazz’ nowadays. Super-successful Melody Gardot, certainly not French, but a native of the Garden State New Jersey, doubtlessly belongs to that fraction as well, doing more smug’n’snug cuddle harmonies for them latte macchiato sippers who also can’t get enough of that dinner muzak zombification a.k.a. Till Brönner. But revisiting Gardot’s 2009 album My One and Only Thrill – now out as a new edition with bonus remixes –, I must admit that Melody’s self-written Les Etoiles has class, groove, and tendresse, and feels a bit like a missing link between Peggy Lee, Bud Shank’s cool jazz meets easy listening sauce and the nocturne bossa swing of Coralie Cléments Salle des pas perdus. Plus a charming vibraphone, too.

Melody Gardot – Les etoiles