- Monday, May 28, 2018, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$46 - $80
When Madeleine Peyroux comes around this time, she’ll be travelling light. It’s a trio gig with guitar, acoustic bass, and her voice to support the jazz-and-blues singer’s 20 years of recordings. I think her own folkish guitar is little more than a prop, a replacement, perhaps, of the ukulele she grew up learning to play music on. Peyroux can pull it off — the minimal, bare bones stage without much in the way of gloss. It’s a café set, better suited for a coffee house or a street corner, but she brings it to the big stage and it works.
Her band otherwise is a prominent presence that rests just behind her and her voice. As a singer, Peyroux slips around the watery roots of a song like an electric eel. Every so often, as is proper jazz form, she cuts her band mates loose so they can re-shuffle the deck with their own instrumental ideas. The interchanges are not unlike those of Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie from back in the day.
Madeleine Peyroux: "Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky (From Now On)
The American-born singer calls her mother and father hippies. She says she learned music in the time honored way, by listening to their old vinyl. Her mother moved her to Paris during Madeleine’s teen years, who had chops enough by then to gig with random buskers. At 16, she’d enrolled in a school of a different kind, by touring Europe with a street jazz-blues band. Hers would ultimately be a life of right time, right place, and the right friends, drawn in by Peyroux’s craft and the resemblance to Holiday that music critics claimed they heard in her voice. Or maybe some Edith Piaf, way before cigarettes darkened that French star’s vocals. But that’s where comparisons end. Peyroux is the anti-Billie, the anti-Edith. She’s a window on them both, luminous, with husky little bits of funk, country, gospel, even gypsy jazz in the mix.