Madeleine Peyroux performing at The Glee Club Nottingham on Wednesday 10th July 2019

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Madeleine Peyroux is an American jazz singer who has plied her trade in the Parisian Latin Quarter and last night she brought all of these years of singing and playing alongside the genre’s finest musicians to Nottingham’s Glee Club on the first of only two UK dates.

But to start this gentle evening off was the very talented Australian singer songwriter, Emily Barker, who armed with just an acoustic guitar and harmonica, enchanted this audience from the off. Beginning her thirty minute set with Geography, she showcased her guitar skills. The theme from BBC’s Wallander, Nostalgia went down really well as did new song Strange Winner.

Finishing her set with the lovely Disappear, Barker had set the tone very high as the crowd showed their appreciation to not just her singing but her wonderful guitar playing.

Peyroux’s entrance onto the stage was typically low key and from the off, her voice sailed around the room filling every corner. Opening with Don’t Wait Too Long, she immediately mesmerized with her apparently effortless voice which allows her to jump with ease from acoustic roots music, to jazz, to quirky originals, all of which she did last night.

With an excellent four piece band which comprised Aram Bajakian on guitar, bassist Paul Frazier, an excellent Graham Hawthorne on drums and keeping it all together was keyboardist Andy Ezrin, it did not take long for them to showcase their skills as Peyroux delved into a delightful cover of Bob Dylan’s You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome which saw Bajakian excel and captivate the crowd.

Delivering a set list that was a nice balance between her existing catalogue and fresh songs from her current album Anthem, which was inspired by the late Canadian songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, the audience were entranced.

And it was four tracks from the album, All My Heroes, On My Own, Down On Me and the title track which formed the spine of the first half of the set, each track displaying the influences from the musicians that Peyroux has recently collaborated with.

With the highlight of the night being her cover of Henry Mancini’s Moon River which silenced the crowd, it proved to be a magical moment.

Reaching her eager nearby audience as if she were still a street corner busker, last night’s performance was a balance of vulnerable humanity and meticulous skill as the band left the stage to allow Peyroux to entertain with delightful solo efforts of La Javanaise and J’ai Deux Amours before the band came back on for Isn’t This Lovely.

With her expressive Billie Holiday influenced voice combined with the bands nimble playing and charming backing vocals, they had produced a warm intimate sound. On Honey Party the audience were encouraged to sing along and did not need a lot of persuasion. Peyroux and her band were outstanding on the lovely version of Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love before finishing their main set with Careless Love.

Back on stage for a demanded encore, Peyroux continued to push the jazz boundaries by covering Allen Toussaint’s Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On) before covering Billie Holiday’s Getting Some Fun Out Of Life to end a fabulous evening that clearly showed the affection held for her by the crowd, and she had reflected that affection back through her engaging persona between songs and her wonderful music.