Melody Gardot My One and Only Thrill

Melody Gardot My One and Only Thrill
Philadelphian singer-songwriter Melody Gardot places herself in lofty company on her second full-length outing, My One and Only Thrill, produced by Larry Klein, with the fantastic Vince Mendoza contributing lush orchestral arrangements. The same pairing are behind Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now and Travelogue, but Gardot's songs and hushed delivery lack Mitchell's sense of compelling mystery even in understated settings. There are moments of promise here, as when Gardot inhabits her songs, like "Lover Undercover" and "Les Etoiles," but they're all too rare. The swampy blues of "Who Will Comfort Me?," marked by Larry Goldings' subtly effective Hammond organ, is undermined by a schoolgirl giggle at the end. Trumpeter Patrick Hughes gets torch song "Your Heart is as Black as Night" to smoulder like it should. Gardot may yet prove to be a commanding chanteuse, in the vein of Cassandra Wilson, and the elements of something magical are lurking underneath like diamonds in the rough. (Verve)