Jazz singer Madeline Peyroux, who will make her UMS debut tonight at Hill Auditorium, has often been compared to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Patsy Cline. Her choice of material lends itself to such comparisons – Peyroux’s three albums largely cover the work of other artists.
But Peyroux is no mimic. Instead, she’s mastered the tremendous challenge of artistic reinterpretation. Her sultry, elegant alto coupled with low-key delivery enlivens every well-worn song. Audiences shouldn’t expect a night of impersonation, but a stimulating reexamination of their favorite melodies.
A cover of Mitchell’s classic “River” is almost unrecognizable with Peyroux at the helm. The bittersweet rendition differs from the original in its timing, chord choice and reserved tone. The result is something entirely new.
Peyroux’s fusion of Southern blues and French jazz launched her 1996 album “Dreamland” to critical success. Her latest album, “Half the Perfect World,” was also met with glowing reviews – and sold a million copies worldwide.