About ten years ago, I was assigned to a two-week project in Berlin, and got a chance to do some diving into CD bins during the downtime. That’s where I discovered Lisa Bassenge. With nothing but a hunch based on the slick cover art (it *does* count), I bought the entire catalog up to that time.
It’s not for everyone. I clearly don’t have all of the sensibilities for German jazz, but when the Ms. Bassenge’s tunes hit me the right way, I’ll play them until the grooves wear out. (As if there were still grooves.)
And so that’s the way it is with “Canyon Songs.” It’s an eclectic mix of sixties classics: The Doors’ “Riders On The Storm” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” Joni Mitchell’s “The Same Situation,” and the Beach Boys’ “I Just Wasn’t Made for these Times.”
The sound is a little jazz, a little blues, and just a little country, as on Rickie Lee Jones’ “Last Chance Texaco.” It’s a winner, and so is a laid back and swingy version of Tom Waits’ “Blue Skies.”
Recorded in Los Angeles, produced by Larry Klein, who’s worked with Melody Gardot and Madeleine Peyroux, Ms. Bassenge’s new record company is clearly putting some money into the production, hoping for a breakout beyond Germany. German trumpeter Till Bonner joins on three of the tunes.
You’ll want to check to make sure it all resonates with you, but the whole album is priced right digitally, and if you’re like me, some of these tracks only get better with repeat listening.
I’ve been a fan for years. It’s about time Ms. Bassenge’s work is properly recognized in the US.
Very highly recommended.
Tracks in Bold added at 62ndStreet.com Radio.