This is gorgeous and gruff, bittersweet. The vocal of Lucia Cadotsch is pure and precise and she sings standards like Moon River and classics like Strange Fruit with that purity of voice, and this is then accompanied by the tenor saxophone of Otis Sansjo, which can be soft and melodic, like the beginning of Ain’t Got No, I Got Life, or a series of pulsed screeches/breaths/belches/growls, or the two poles mixed, and the bass of Petter Eldh which adds layer and layer of rhythm and percussion, so the voice is constantly reframed by these sidekicking adornments.
When a familiar melody is begun it seems to be hung in our aural suspense, like already mentioned Moon River that closes the album, where it is immediately recognisable, but the sax is bristling in the background like a lit fuse – the spittle resonating in the pipes ready to burst forth – and the bass is plucking out the tune in singular notes; but it doesn’t explode. Such a tease.
It is because we began with Slow Hot Wind and this is a dynamic start, the voice again beginning simply and sweetly, but there is a building beat in the rolling sax and tapping bass, and the roll builds to squeal and just about tear before the vocal is overdubbed to a sweeter harmony; and then in next Speak Low the saxophone is wailing and the bass is a snare drum. For a moment.
A distinctive and absorbing listen.