''Crying over endings is absurd'' is a premise within the logic of the beautiful 'Perhaps You'll Wonder Why'. But waiting for Gardot and meaning might it be ''dance first. Think later'' the Godot maxim? Perhaps not if you are being literal or troubled by such a transplanted context. Because mostly this is firmly a slow dance of a record. However, making a metaphorical leap riffing further the ''natural order'' that may be interpreted to follow that imperative given a Beckettian playfulness is in this album instance tristesse, chanson, a sense of saudade, and the ineffable sense of vanquishment that permeates this delicious new number-one album on the Official UK jazz and blues chart.
Entre eux deux ('Between the two of them') is an English, French and Portuguese collaboration between the, to some, Julie London of our day (at a stretch!) US singer-songwriter Melody Gardot and pianist-singer Philippe Powell who is the son of legendary Brazilian jazz guitarist Baden Powell.
As at Melody's lit-up-inside Soho, Dean Street, show in 2015 when a piano from the band truck was lowered down the Pizza Express Jazz Club's steep staircase already specially tuned to 432hz rather than the usual higher concert pitch level, that, if-you-like, bluesed connotation of the sonics is matched by Gardot's lamp turned down low cadences. Here the singer dispenses with her own piano-playing to usher in room for Powell.
And what a touch he has, Bill Evans-like on 'Plus Fort Que Nous' ('Stronger than Us') the duo's gentle treatment of the Baden Powell-Vinícius de Moraes song 'Samba em Preludio' introduced by Geraldo Vandré and Ana Lúcia in 1963 sequeing to 'Un Jour Sans Toi' is a thrill. Effective too is the spoken word poem 'Ode to Every Man' set to piano accompaniment that has a Gothic almost Daphne Du Maurier-type resonance that stops you in your tracks. Escape into their bruised, elegant, sound because there are no happy endings it's true. The duo know and say it eloquently so. There's nothing absurd at all in that. SG
Melody Gardot is to play the Royal Festival Hall during this year's EFG London Jazz Festival on 19 November. Philippe Powell and Melody Gardot photo: Franco P. Tettamanti