Melody Gardot plays a moving homecoming show at the Merriam Theater

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Melody Gardot | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Melody Gardot | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Philly jazz singer Melody Gardot emotionally told the crowd “I missed you, Philly” in her headlining show at the Merriam Theater last night. Gardot has been touring the world in support of her latest album, this year’s Currency of Man, and last night she dedicated the song “Our Love is Easy” to the audience. Throughout the night, Gardot and her band encouraged the crowd to clap along and sing along, while the horn players incorporated coordinated movements for visual effect.

Gardot’s performance was impeccable. Her vocal range varied from delicate and soft to a fast-paced soulful, retro sound. A seven-piece backing band provided a rich soundscape for her vocals, and the instrumental solos provided a nice interplay between Gardot and her fellow musicians. A notable solo from her band came when two saxophones were played simultaneously, one sax in the right hand and the other in the left.

Closing out the set, Gardot introduced her song “Preacherman” and the story of Emmett Till, which served as the inspiration behind this song. Through “Preacherman,” she was able to convey the message that we are all one race – the human race – and there is no need for the senseless crimes based on the color of one’s skin. It was a timely message, and As Gardot and the band performed, she engaged in call-and-response vocals with the crowd. The horn players continued to conduct the audience as Gardot wrapped up the song using the crowd’s vocals as her chorus.

As Gardot and the band left the stage, the audience gave a standing ovation, bring the band back to up the night with an extended encore performance of “Same to You,” encouraging the crowd to stand, clap along, and groove to the music.

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