Berlin-born jazz singer Lisa Bassenge is back with a wonderful trio album called “Wildflowers”. Her choice of material is superb as the repertoire includes music from Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Depeche Mode, or Death Cab For Cutie. She opens the set with an intensely intimate and vulnerable “Till I Get It Right”, the Tammy Wynette classic with its melancholic theme. It’s a great coup to follow the line “So I’ll just keep on fallin’ in love ’til I get it right” with the Bob Dylan anthem “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”. Lisa’s crystal-clear voice and her no-frills intonation just fit perfectly. Her ability to actually tell a story convincingly and with heart and soul, in tandem with her jazz roots, is a joy to witness.
Nick Drake’s “Parasite” is another outstanding choice for this album, even though the piano solo by Jakob Karlzon doesn’t really convince me here. Bassist Andreas Lang is a solid and strong foundation throughout the set. The track which gave the album its title, the Dolly Parton-penned “Wildflowers”, should actually stay with Dolly I think. Lisa comes up with a delicate version of the Bacharach/David anthem “The Look Of Love”. And she really puts a new spin on the piece here. When she sings “don’t ever go”, there is both nostalgia and persuasion in her plea. There is more saudade in Tim Finn’s “Four Seasons In One Day” where Jakob adds some suave touches. The lone standard from the Great American Songbook, “Skylark”, is done in straight and effortless fashion with a nice little vibrato here and there which really suits her voice pretty well.
I actually prefer Madeleine Peyroux’s version of Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”, but it makes sense to include it here of course. We also get the Depeche Mode piece “Precious” with another lucid arrangement, and Lisa’s own “Morning Sounds Of Spring”, a great original with some bluesy touches thrown in, reassuring that she’s also able to write strong, enigmatic and subtle songs. The album is out on vinyl too!