Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: Decca
Genre(s): Jazz, Vocal Jazz, Contemporary Jazz Vocals, Jazz-Pop
Blue Room is Madeleine Peyroux’s quasi-tribute to Ray Charles, and more specifically to his 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Covers of five songs from that album appear on The Blue Room, alongside compositions by Buddy Holly, Randy Newman, and Warren Zevon. The Charles votarism should come as no surprise, given that Peyroux titled her 2004 album Careless Love, and that she hasn’t exactly been averse to the odd Charles cover on stage and on record.
On The Blue Room, her second Decca recording, Madeleine Peyroux and producer Larry Klein re-examine the influence of Ray Charles' revolutionary 1962 date, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. They don't try to re-create the album, but remake some of its songs and include others by composers whose work would benefit from the genre-blurring treatment Charles pioneered. Bassist David Pilch, drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Dean Parks, and pianist/organist Larry Goldings are the perfect collaborators.
It’s not as if Madeleine Peyroux is a stranger to covering the standards (and the more unusual). The Blue Room however started life as a concerted effort to focus upon a specific artist and album. When producer Larry Klein sought to reinterpret Ray Charles‘ Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, he decided that the soulful jazz tones of Peyroux fit the bill perfectly.
Most critics cite Tony Bennett’s rendition of Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold Heart” as the first time country-western music and popular jazz met together on smooth ground during the postwar era. A decade later Ray Charles took it a giant step further on Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music. This album today is considered one of the greatest and most influential records of all time.
Madeleine PeyrouxThe Blue Room(Decca/Emarcy)Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Dim the lights, open that bottle of wine you saved for a special evening and when the moment is ripe, push play on The Blue Room to ramp up the romantic flames. Velvet voiced jazz chanteuse Madeleine Peyroux and producer Larry Klein started a reimagining of Ray Charles’ 1962 classic Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, then added some slightly newer material from Randy Newman, Warren Zevon and John Hartford to refine the concept with a more personal twist. But where Charles threw back whisky shots of C&W with his uniquely soul/gospel phrasing, Peyroux’s more refined and sedate jazz/blues interpretations politely sips aged brandy.