Sometimes the measure of a performing artist can be taken under adversity. That moment came for Madeleine Peyroux Sunday as she performed live at the annual loft party for the Jazz Foundation of America. Not only did Peyroux sing before a noisy audience at Hudson Studios, but it was broadcast over New York City’s jazz station, WBGO Radio.
For a performer as sensitive as Peyroux—a woman who has been compared to the great Billie Holiday—she politely asked the loudly talking crowd to listen to her songs, but they mostly ignored her, preferring to talk among themselves. Peyroux plowed on, maintaining the grace and poise of a real pro. It was fascinating to watch, and made me appreciate her amazing level of professionalism.
---In addition to Holiday, Peyroux has cited Bessie Smith, Patsy Cline, Édith Piaf, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Mercer, Charlie Chaplin, Serge Gainsbourg and Bob Dylan as influences on her work. This eclectic blend has always attracted me to her music. I especially enjoyed her performance of Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love, from her Careless Love album.
I’ve never been to one of Peyroux’s concerts, but now I want to go more than ever. She’s a real trouper, surprising me with her fine artistry under the most trying conditions.