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Lisa Ekdahl- Back to Earth
Original Release Date: April 13, 1999

Lisa Ekdahl/Vocals, Peter Nordahl/Piano, Patrick Boman/Bass, Ronnie Gardiner/drums

1. Now or Never 3:35
2. Nature Boy 4:48
3. Stranger on Earth 3:41
4. Laziest Girl in Town - 6:12
5. It Had to Be You 3:09
6. Down With Love 1:37
7. What Is This Thing Called Love? 5:04
8. Tea for Two 5:29
9. The Lonely One 3:20
10. I Get a Kick Out of You 3:20
11. Just for a Thrill 3:25
12. Night and Day 4:32
13. Plaintive Rumba 6:22

Lisa Ekdahl is one of Sweden's finest vocalist, first started in pop and later developed a jazz interest. Some critics compare her with the girlish voices of Bjork's and Rickie Lee Jones'. I think that's doubtful. She has her own unique voice, whatever that is. But it's fresh, soothing, and never too intense. Her territory is Astrud Gilberto meets Chet Baker. Backing her is a superb band called Peter Nordahl Trio featuring Nordahl on piano, featuring drummer Ronnie Gardiner and bassist Patrick Boman. The sound of the trio is a a restrained Scandavian one, reminding me of Bill Evans trio with Scott LaFaro or Gary Peacock.

The treasure of this album is the song choices. Carefully picked by Ekdahl and Nordahl, the delights including a bluesy "Now or Never," a playful "Laziest Girl in Town," and a delicate "Tea For Two" with the inclusion of the beginning verse (which only Ekdhal and Jane Monheit would put in). The usual suspect ballads including "Night and Day," "It Had To Be You," "What is This Thing Called Love," while soothing, do not accurately demonstrate the extent of Ekdahl's vocal skills. My favotie song is "Stranger on Earth," echoing the alienesque album title. The ending song "Plaintive Rumba," written by pianist Nordahl himself, demonstrates what the trio is capable of doing musically and is a stylish finish to an above par album.

It's often easy to fall into cliches of jazz vocal album (See Jane Monheit and Diana Krall for effective cross references). You need to balancing picking the material, making the right arrangements, and deomstrate your flair. Though not entirely perfect, Ekdahl has found the right pitch and must continue to work on her material, if it is merely a hunch.

Extended Listening

-Lisa Ekdahl- Sings Salvadore Poe
-Rickie Lee Jones- It's Like This

-Patricia Barber- Nightclub


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