Madeleine Peyroux | SPACE | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge Madeleine Peyroux

Madeleine Peyroux

Shervin Lainez

When: Sun., Nov. 13, 6 & 8:30 p.m. 2016
Price: $30-$90, early show sold out
On her new album Secular Hymns (Impulse) vocalist Madeleine Peyroux keeps things simple from top to bottom. There’s no clever concept behind the collection—the ten stylistically disparate songs, she says, were chosen simply for their “personal and disarming” quality, and the title derives from a 2015 concert she gave at an English countryside church dating back to the Norman era. She’s supported only by electric guitarist Jon Herington and double bassist Barak Mori, and the focus is on her singing, which is tenderly cradled by lean, effective arrangements that bring subtle jazz voicings to old blues tunes (Lil Green’s “Hello Babe”), gospel classics (the Sister Rosetta Tharpe gem “Shout Sister Shout”), and melodramatic singer-songwriter fare (the swaggering Tom Waits ballad “Tango Till They’re Sore”). And with the exception of a toothless reggae-lite take on “More Time” by dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, the album succeeds because it keeps its ambitions modest. Peyroux’s voice has deepened and her phrasing has become more direct, and with songs this strong she doesn’t need much else.
— Peter Margasak



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