Sunset in Blue (Deluxe Edition)
Singer Melody Gardot is the definition of sultry, dusky romanticism. Her highly acclaimed 2020 Sunset in Blue, is reissued here less than a year later to include five intimate bonus tracks, that leave out the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra that backed the original album, providing soft cushions for her nuanced vocal stylings. The bonus material is even more intimate, more club-like (“Trav’lin Light” and “What Is This Thing Called Love”) and, in the case, of “From Paris With Love,” strictly acoustic. Gardot terms these new ones more vulnerable and fragile.
Beyond the sheer appeal of Gardot’s remarkable vocals that bring to mind such icons as Marlene Dietrich or some of the sultrier material from Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, and early career Cassandra Wilson are two other important elements that mark the original. First, it was the return of the dream team of her platinum selling My One and Only Thrill at work with producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock), Grammy-winning arranger Vince Mendoza, and the two most highly regarded engineers for this kind of music, Al Schmitt and Steve Genewick. Secondly, the original album was lauded as one of the first to break the restraints of COVID. Garlot via social media assembled a group of musicians to provide support for her first single, “From Paris with Love” in May and later that same June led the first COVID-safe sessions at Abbey Road Studios with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Gardot featured several collaborators in the original with contributions from painter Pat Steir, trumpeter Til Bronner, Sting and two that are featured now in the bonus material – French- Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf on “Love Song” who’s gorgeous playing is reason enough to acquire this Deluxe Edition and Portuguese singer Antonio Zambujo, who returns again on the same track but in a live studio session for “C’est Magnifque,” made famous by Ella Fitzgerald. Credits are a bit elusive for the trio/quartet pieces “Trav’lin Light” and “What Is This Thing Called Love” but this writer’s guess is the brilliant guitar work of Anthony Wilson on both and tenorist Donny McCaslin coloring the latter.
Considering the original and bonus material you will find jazz standards ballads, bossa nova tunes, and recognizable fare like “Moon River” and “Ave Maria.” This is the epitome of late-night music, made for romance, reminiscing, or just a friendly companion to that glow left by your favorite wine.
- Jim Hynes
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