For “Standing on the Rooftop,’’ a graceful new album that nudges her aesthetic into a more organic territory, Madeleine Peyroux enlisted a cast of characters. How else to describe working with guitarist Marc Ribot, bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, violinist Jenny Scheinman, drummer Charley Drayton, and New Orleans icon Allen Toussaint?
“All of these musicians are definitely more than musicians, more than session players. They’re individuals in their own rights in so many ways,’’ says Peyroux. “And no record is really anything less than a collaborative effort.’’
With that in mind, we recently asked Peyroux, who performs at Berklee Performance Center tonight with a different touring band, why she chose to work with these five particular musicians.
1. Ribot: “Marc and I had worked together before, on my very first record in 1996. He really is a force to be reckoned with in the studio. He’s kind of a Hemingway - a little bit gruff, but very clear and to the point. He’ll fight you for it if he thinks it’s worth it. I adore that.’’
2. Ndegeocello: “There aren’t many bass players that I can think of who have a handle on singing firsthand. I think the bass and the voice are intimately linked. She’s an incredibly thoughtful person, and I think her input was precious to me on several levels.’’
3. Scheinman: “She co-wrote with me on a couple of songs on this record, and I had also heard her arrangements for a small orchestra on her own record. Some of them really grabbed me because I felt like her melodic approach to songwriting was very vocal in the way it follows the breath of the human body.’’
4. Drayton: “He’s a prodigy from the heart. Very intuitive but also really interesting when it comes to his ideas and how he hears things.’’
5. Toussaint: “As a writer, I really wanted to spend some time with him and get his feedback on the material. I was hoping to co-write with him, but as it turned out he didn’t think there was anything that needed to be redone or rewritten.’’
Madeleine Peyroux performs at Berklee Performance Center tonight at 7:30. Tickets: $33.50-$39.50. www.berkleebpc.com