Reviews

CHARLESTON FOR YOU
(Verdant World Records 2012)
Top Ten on CHMR, WERU, WRBC, WSCA, WDPS, WERU, WHLI Artist of the Week

Style, elegance, impeccable musicality, chanteuse extraordinaire – they all apply to the amazing Lisa Kirchner. For this listener this is her strongest album to date – more variation, more variety of accompaniment, more pizzazz, more tenderness. Take an hour out the day to be transformed by this musical stylist!

Not only does Lisa Kirchner have a voice of great beauty and a sense of poetry in the way she delivers lyrics, but she also happens to be a rather fine composer – a trait she shares with five of the twelve songs she sings here. Probably a bit of her artistry in performing and composing is in her genetic nature; her father was the late brilliant classical composer Leon Kirchner.

This combination of musical styles and sung in English, French and Portuguese is as exciting as any new recording by a female vocalist to be release this year. Lisa Kirchner is on top of her form and this Album simply has it all.

-Grady Harp/amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Charleston-For-You-Lisa-Kirchner/dp/B008GRHZ48

While the title suggests a nostalgic musical voyage, and vocalist Lisa Kirchner’s smoky, tremulous style seems distinctly retro, these dozen tracks are assembled from seven different sessions from the late ’90s. Together they shape an intriguing potpourri, featuring a dozen musicians Kirchner frequently collaborated with over the years—bassist Lonnie Plaxico, pianist James Weidman, drummer Adam Cruz and guitarist Ron Jackson among them—in various configurations. The playlist meanders all over the map, with four Kirchner originals, a trio of pieces co-written by Kirchner with pianist Galt MacDermot, and covers of tunes from such disparate sources as the Gershwins, Janis Ian, Dr. John and French composer Michel Emer.

Charleston for You also covers a lot of physical miles. Pre-Katrina New Orleans is visited twice, with Dr. John’s spooky tale of voodoo queen “Marie Laveau” and Kirchner and MacDermot’s easy-flowing “Blue By the River (Port of New Orleans).” Kirchner’s lovely, introspective “Riverside” wistfully travels between Manhattan and San Francisco, while the edgy “Lights of L.A.” paints an urgently sinister portrait of Tinseltown. Emer’s “L’accordéoniste,” performed in French, recalls Piaf-era Paris, and the closing blend of Caetano Veloso’s velvety “Coracão Vagabundo” and Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes’ vibrant “Berimbau,” both presented in Portuguese, conjures a quiet Rio evening suddenly enlivened by Carnaval. It’s an awful lot to absorb in one sitting, but well worth the far-flung trip.

-Chris Loudon/Jazz Times
http://jazztimes.com/articles/58998-charleston-for-you-lisa-kirchner

I have to admit as I have stated before, the female jazz vocal pack is a tightly knit group of talent with about the artistic differences between each as thin as a sheet of paper. Till now…

Take old school vocal jazz, a touch of caberet and a dash of Broadway and you have a nice receipe for a very entertaining release from Lisa Kirchner entitled Charleston For You. I was immediately taken by some of the talent listed on the release as well including straight ahead drumming phenom Adam Cruz and guitar virutuoso Ron Jackson so for the purist that wants to argue “credibility” then game over.

Kirchner’s style may be part of the reason she has quietly slipped past a few critics and undeservingly so. A nice voice i.e. great chops, spot on phrasing and a nice somewhat eclectic set list here make Charleston For You an incredibly entertaining tour de force of how much room a vocal jazz artist has to work and still remain true to their own integrity. There are several Kirchner originals here that are as solid as they come including “Red Wine and White Lies” along with “Lights of L.A.” Some of the more eclectic tunes that help bind this wonderful release together include a nice riff on a Janis Ian tune “Jesse” and of course a standard from George Gershwin “The Man I Love.”

Kirchner really does not have a prime vocal wheelhouse from which she holds court. Instead, Kirchner has the talent and ability to work folk, jazz, and even French and Brazilian songs. An elegant vocal talent that could as a former co-worker from American Idol would say about certain talent - “She could sing the phone book.”

The bottom line for Kirchner is simply this…she entertains! There is a certain old school charm about a talent that cares about making that connectivity while striving to push their talent to a variety of different levels. An absolutely delightful release and arguably her finest release to date.

Tracks: Dying To Confess; The Man I Love; Riverside; Marie Laveau; Blue By The River; Jesse; L’accordeoniste; Charleston For You; Lights of L.A.; Red Wine and White Lies; Phat Hat; Coracao Vagabundo/Berimbau.

Personnel: Galt McDermot: keyboards (1,5,11); James Weidman: piano (2); Phillip Namanworth: piano, John Miller: bass, Sue Evans: percussion (3); Tommy Mandel: piano (4); Lisa Kirchner: guitar (6); Ron Jackson: guitar, Lonnie Plaxico: bass, Adam Cruz: drums, Walter Kuehr: accordian (7); Mark Berman: keyboards (8,10); Phillip Namanworth: piano, John Miller: bass, Sue Evans: drums, Paul Ostermayer: saxophone; Ron Jackson: guitar, Lonnie Plaxico: bass, Adam Cruz: drums.

- Brent Black/Critical Jazz
http://www.criticaljazz.com/2012/06/lisa-kirchner-charleston-for-you.html

I was not sure how I would react to most of the tracks on Charleston for You; but Iknew I wanted to hear her treatment of “The Man I Love.” I was not disappointed. Her only accompaniment came from pianist James Weidman; and, since this was the only track that included applause, I would be willing to place a small bet that it was the only recording made in performance, rather than in studio….she finds her own phrasing to shape the words, occasionally enhanced by slight portamento pulls on the pitch….The same can be said of her take on Caetano Veloso’s “Coração Vagabundo.” She performs with that same low-key Brazilian style that many associate with Astrud Gilberto; but she then segues into the more upbeat “Berimbau” by Baden Powell….There is a precision in her sense of rhythm that plays nicely against the solo riffs of drummer Adam Cruz, with guitarist Ron Jackson and bassist Lonnie Plaxico providing a solid rhythmic foundation…I was impressed by the extent to which her own pieces constitute a “geographical tour,” which I would take to be basically autobiographical. That being the case, then the part of the tour that most appealed to me was “Blue By The River,” which is Kirchner’s words set to the music of Galt Macdermot (as in Hair). This has a mildly funky quality that never compromises her sure sense of pitch but gives the song an edge…”

-Stephen Smoliar/San Francisco Examiner
http://www.examiner.com/article/lisa-kirchner-jazz-song-stylist

LISA KIRCHNER/Charleston for You: The rising queen of nu cabaret makes yet another bag breaking set that is clearly cutting edge eclectic in it’s approach and delivery. A favored singer at political functions on a local New York and national level, Kirchner grabs the urbane ear and doesn’t let go. Whether writing new stuff with the guy from “Hair” or breathing new life into the classics, she knows her way around a song with her chops wrapping it in good hands. Vocal fans will know what’s going on here right away.

-Chris Spector/Midwest Record
www.midwestrecord.com

We LOVE 3 tracks. “L’accordeoniste” is downright irresistible & “Lights of L.A.” and “Phat Hat” are pretty darn good as well.

-WHLI
http://www.whli.com/artist-of-the-week.aspx