Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

That’s A Wrap! What’s Up? Re-Cap: Melody Gardot Presented by Rams Head Group

Oct 08, 2015 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds

Melody Gardot Serves Up A Sonic Blend of Real Music

Melody Gardot received a standing ovation at the close of her performance on Monday, October 5th at Maryland Hall. Gardot is a platinum selling Grammy-nominated artist. Her latest work, Currency of Man topped the iTunes Jazz Charts and Billboard Charts. She was a fashion student at age 19 when she was injured riding her bicycle with a long recovery in the hospital. That experience made her stronger as a person and a musician. She reconnected with music during her recovery using music therapy to process the experience and set out to fulfill her dream of being an accomplished musician. Melody Gardot’s music informs the listener with sophisticated musical jazz devices and philosophical themes on overcoming hardship and challenges in life and love.

Melody Gardot’s 2009 release, My One and Only Thrill came out to rave reviews. With Currency of Man, Gardot wanted to create an album that “flows from beginning to end like a dream”. Each song is woven with dense textures yet blended in such a way that particular notes still penetrate through the arrangements. Gardot plays guitar and piano and knows how to lead a band. Moreover, she is a vocal jazz master and when we look back, she’ll be known as one of the greats. She is accompanied by a band that matches her level of musical expertise. At one point during the concert, the saxophone player played not one but two saxophones at the same time that harmonized with each other!

Gardot has the speaking voice of a femme fatale film siren from the thirties. But it’s not affected. Her voice rings true when she introduces her song inspired by and dedicated to Emmett Till for her song Preacherman. Till was murdered during the 1950s for speaking to a White woman. She invites the crowd to sing aloud in unison and the notes we sing together seem to encapsulate a haunting cautionary tale. "The profound nature of our existence is that we are able at any moment to connect to anyone, anywhere. History is there to remind us of how far we've come, and every day our journey is to continue with that progress of becoming more wise, more compassionate, and more considerate human beings. Remembering Emmett though song is way to remind people that there is no need to continue with senseless crimes. Race and racism do no go hand in hand. We are only one race: human." - Melody Gardot

Following below is the behind the scenes video, which discusses the legacy of Emmett Till and the making of the video for Preacherman

Preacherman can be found on her latest album, Currency of Man, which was recorded using all analog technology and produced by Larry Klein, known for his work with Joni Mitchell. This latest work contains socially conscious music strongly influenced by R&B, blues, and jazz. Melody Gardot served up a sonic blend of modern musical experiments that panned out and left her audience in a dreamlike state after we listened carefully to her noteworthy creations illustrating devastating realities.

Melissa Lauren, Community Events Editor and former WRNR and WTMD DJ, writes the weekly What’s Up? Events Blog and E-Newsletter every Thursday. To subscribe visit