I found this facile on its surface at first—before realizing that seeking only surface, on a few spins at that, made me facile. That left smooth, but headphones helped. Gardot’s still got producer Larry Klein on her side, the man who’s been beguiling audiophiles with richness and focus since, well, before Gardot was born. “From Paris With Love,” bolstered by a large string section, begins in anxious sawing before Chuck Staab comes in brushing behind the beat, and Gardot, a delicate hiccup behind it herself, soothes in sweetness. (Gardot promoted the cut with a video featuring folks all over the world, checking in to be counted amid the corona plague. She had also invited musicians to contribute remotely to the track, and, unlike some I could name, stood ready to pay those she chose.)
“Moon River,” a sweet aspirational bonbon weighed down by warhorse status, gets its new wings here from simplicity, Gardot’s conversational phrasing, an Anthony Wilson guitar part with a few tart interjections, and strings you can follow seemingly down to fractal infinity. You, my friend, need a break from the insanity (about which I need not speak more) as much as I do, as much as your neighbor does, as much as the strangers on the bus or train. You need, in the blunt words of Richard Hell, something you can affirm. Seek ye no further.