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Saturday, October 10, 2015

CD Review: Lisa Bassenge - Canyon Songs

Lisa Bassenge (vcl); Till Brönner (tpt); Pete Kuzma (B3/el.pno); Steve Tavaglione (ewi/keys); Vinnie Colaiuta (dms); Dan Lutz (bs); Freddy Koella (gtr/vln); Larry Klein (el perc/vbs).
(Review by Lance).
A strange, yet compelling, album by Berlin based Bassenge. A program of jazz covers selected from tunes by The Doors; The Beach Boys; James Taylor; Buffalo Springfield; Tom Waits; Shuggie Otis; Stephen Stills; Rickie Lee Jones; Joni Mitchell and others. Although Bassenge is based in Berlin, Blue Skies has nothing to do with Irving Berlin! This is one of two Tom Waits numbers - All Stripped Down is the other.
The basis of the album is a selection of songs inspired by the landscape and atmosphere of Los Angeles and Southern California.
At first I found it difficult to describe it as a jazz album but, after listening a couple of times I found it even more difficult not to describe it as a jazz album! Certainly Till Brönner's Milesian trumpet playing is as plaintive and as emotional a tug at the heart strings as I've heard from any contemporary jazz trumpet player and Bassenge has that smoky quality to her voice that so many of the greats have be it Peggy Lee or Melody Gardot or, indeed, wor (local dialect) own  Lindsay Hannon and Zoë Gilby. 
Bassenge is working the same side of der straße as  Lindsay and Zoë  and I'm sure our girls will like this disc. Conversely, I think Bassenge would recognise their status too!
Now available on MPS - Germany's major jazz label. I'm in the dilemma of not being sure if I want to take a holiday in Berlin or Southern California!
Tracks: Riders on the Storm; Angeles; Aht Uh Mi Hef; All Stripped Down; For What It's Worth; The Last Chance Texaco; The Same Situation; Searching for a Heart; Her Town Too; I Just Wasn't Made For These Times; Blue Skies.
Lance.
NB: Our regular vocal reviewer, Ann Alex, passed this one by, unheard - nah-nah-nah-nah-nah!

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