Madeleine Peyroux was performing at a jazz festival in France about three years ago when she had a visitor backstage.

It was Bill Wyman, the longtime bass player for The Rolling Stones, talking about his own love of jazz. And the fact that he’d like to work with her someday.

“He was with his wife and his daughter, and he just wanted to say hello, and he talked about how he has a band that does jazz-influenced music,” said Peyroux, 38. “It was sort of shocking. When I got home from the tour, he called me and told me had written a song for me.”

Peyroux and Wyman decided to put some time aside to work on songs together in London. One of them, “The Kind You Can’t Afford,” appears on Peyroux’s latest album, “Standing on the Rooftop,” released in June.

Those who go to Peyroux’s show tonight at the State Theatre can expect to hear cuts from the CD, which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart. The show is a fundraiser for York County Shelter Programs. Singer-songwriter Nellie McKay will open.

“Standing on the Rooftop” ended up including an eclectic mix of well-known musicians playing on various tracks. New Orleans pianist Allen Toussaint performed on it, as did bass player and singer Meshell Ndegeocello.

Other well-traveled session musicians on the album, and some of the artists they’ve played with, include: guitarist Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello); drummer Charley Drayton (Neil Young, Johnny Cash); and guitarist Chris Bruce (Seal, John Legend).

The album was produced by Craig Street, who has worked with k.d. lang and Norah Jones, among others. On Peyroux’s website, the CD was touted as approaching “rootsier territory” after some 15 years of Peyroux being known as a fairly traditional jazz performer.

“Everything about this album just sort of fell into place,” said Peyroux.

Peyroux has French heritage and has performed in French, but she’s an American raised in New York and California. She heard a lot of jazz and blues growing up because her father was from New Orleans, and he brought that music into the house. Her mother prompted Peyroux’s interest in the French language and the legendary French singer Edith Piaf. She also passed on her love of the ukulele to her daughter.

Peyroux gained mainstream success with her 1996 album “Dreamland” on Atlantic Records, which included a cover of Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” and Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose.” It established her style and her voice, drawing comparisons to Billie Holiday.

Peyroux feels lucky to have come along when she did, and isn’t sure that a young, unknown jazz singer would get the same major-label attention today.

“The truth of the matter is that (Atlantic executives) saw potential in me beyond what I had done performing in the streets, and they wanted to make a record with me,” she said. “Record companies were making huge profits then, and could afford to do things like that. But that’s not the case now.”

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]


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