This in Melody Gardot's third album since her music career was launched as a result of therapy following an accident in 2003, in which she suffered serious injuries after being knocked off her bike.
Worrisome Heart was released in 2008, and the lush-sounding My One and Only Thrill the following year.
If you were lucky enough to catch Gardot on tour here with Diana Kraal and Madeleine Peyroux, you will, like me, think she stole the show from the two better-known artists. The Absence is a move in a more South American direction, although still strongly jazz-driven. We're talking about style with a capital S here, as Gardot wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs.
Think the tango bars of Buenos Aires, the music of Moroccan deserts or the stunning beaches of Brazil for the inspiration. And then there's the influence of Brazilian-born producer Heitor Pereira. His experience as a guitarist with the likes of Sting and Simply Red is also evident alongside Gardot's piano. Definitely a match made in musical heaven.
The music is mostly soft and beguiling, less in-your-face than her last album. The feel and overall direction of The Absence is easy to listen to without being bland.
Another standout album from a lady whose fresh approach seems to know no bounds. She may still show the physical effects of the accident (she has to wear dark glasses and walk with a cane) but musically Gardot is once again on song.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars