Madeleine Peyroux returns to Greece

Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux is set to perform at the open-air Gis Theater in Thessaloniki tonight and the capital’s Lycabettus Theater tomorrow in her second appearance in Greece. Her 1996 debut album «Dreamland» established Peyroux as an up-and-coming jazz artist, enthralling the public with her clean husky voice and smooth vocal style. Though she was just 22 years old at the time, the Athens, Georgia-born singer/guitarist displayed an elegance associated with classic jazz artists Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and Patsy Kline, with a continental feel that reflects the nine years she spent in Paris. In a nod to the country that first introduced her to jazz (Peyroux left home as a teenager and spent time busking on the streets of the French capital), the album also included a cover of Edith Piaf’s «La vie en rose.» Her early years in professional music saw Peyroux as a hat-passer for a community of musicians called the Riverboat Shufflers, before she joined the Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz Band, with which she toured the world and whom she credits with teaching her about the blues. In 2004, Peyroux released «Careless Love,» a blend of classic jazz, blues, country and even a brushstroke of bossa nova, to rave reviews and over a million sales internationally. The success of the album set the stage for her latest release, «Half the Perfect World,» in which she switches focus from the work of artists from the first half of the 20th century to more recent artists, such as Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Fred Neil and Joni Mitchell. Writing team Peyroux, producer Larry Klein and Steely Dan’s Walter Becker collaborated to write the album’s opening track, «I’m All Right,» while the album’s other original songs reunite the writing team of Peyroux, Jesse Harris and Klein (who penned the single «Don’t Wait Too Long» on «Careless Love»). Rounding out «Half the Perfect World» are the jazz artist’s interpretations of standards from Johnny Mercer, Charlie Chaplin and Serge Gainsbourg. «These love songs all come from an extremely personal place,» says Peyroux of the new album on her website, «and therefore allowed me a most intimate reading.» Tickets are available at Metropolis music stores and Ticket House (42 Panepistimiou). For online bookings, log on to Gis Theater, tel 2310.218.092; Lycabettus Theater, tel 210.722.7233/09/36.