“When melancholy sounds as seductive as it does with Lisa Bassenge, then the theme ‘lost love’ can sustain a complete album.” So wrote the Rolling Stone. The Berlin daily newspaper, Taz heard a “voice that cradles the most beautiful dreams”, whereas the Musikexpress recognized her to be “at times a Diva, at times a blues singer, at times a vamp, at times Mary Poppins.” Commentators are seldom so euphorically in agreement. For some 20 years the Berliner has thrilled her audiences with her bands Micatone, Nylon, the Lisa Bassenge Trio, as well as in solo. Bassenge has 14 albums to her name, and with her urbane mixture of jazz, blues, and chanson, she ranks as one of the top German singers.read more
Canyon Songs, the new album, is also a new step for the Artist. It is not only her first release on Edel/MPS – it is also the first time she has ventured away from the musical context with which she has for so long been familiar. Lisa Bassenge recorded the 11 songs in Los Angeles; Grammy winner Larry Klein sat behind the mixing console. After all the albums that had originated in her home-town Berlin, albums she had as a rule co-produced, here was a new way of working.
“I was sailing in uncharted waters with this album,” says Lisa Bassenge. “My strategy was to simply go ahead and see what happens!” There is another reason why this is a special album: with Canyon Songs Lisa takes a bow towards the Los Angeles singer-songwriter scene. She interprets such rock/pop classics as the Doors’ Riders on the Storm, Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth, the Beach Boys’ I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times, Joni Mitchell’s The Same Situation, and Tom Waits’ Blue Skies. Alongside the pieces from the 60’s and 70’s, the golden era of the Laurel Canyon artists, Lisa Bassenge has included a song from 1997 in the repertoire, Elliott Smith’s Angeles. On hearing Lisa’s version, one isn’t reminded of the original: this singer has the artistry to gather up every song and set it in the here and now.
The Canyon Songs sessions took place in April 2015 at the East West Studios on Sunset Boulevard. Alongside Larry Klein – a man who has arranged for and produced albums for the likes of Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Madeleine Peyroux, Tracy Chapman and Melody Gardot – stood Lisa Bassenge beside a band of crack virtuoso LA studio musicians. They included Keyboarder Pete Kuzma, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Dan Lutz and saxofonist Steve Tavaglione. On particular pieces, trumpeter Till Brönner and Norwegian singer and guitarist Thomas Dybdahl join in.
Canyon Songs – this wonderfully consequent jazz-pop album bridges the gap between Hollywood and Berlin; it also begs the question: is this a new beginning of a career? “I would see it more as an excursion,” is Lisa Bassenge’s reaction. But excursions can also make history.