Label: Decca (UMO)
This young singer-songwriter seemed to arrive fully formed on her debut. But this follow-up shows that Melody Gardot's abilities have grown richer in an incredibly short amount of time. Where she once recalled early (booze-free) Tom Waits, Gardot puts her own spin on rain-streaked jazz torch songs, sensual sambas and uptown blues. This album is structured along the lines of the film noir masterworks of Shirley Horn and Frank Sinatra, but Gardot keeps focused on her own style and sound. She even adds an upbeat reading of "Over the Rainbow" to counterbalance her chiaroscuro, Vertigo vibe.