Reviews

Lisa Kirchner’s UMBRELLAS IN MINT

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Lisa Kirchner’s UMBRELLAS IN MINT Verdant World Records 2013

“Every song in Lisa Kirchner’s album, Umbrellas in Mint, is worth your attention and time. Ms. Kirchner not only has a beautiful voice, but she is a master poet with a musical gift. I thank her for including in her liner notes all the words to all the songs, and I recommend that you listen and follow along as I did.”

-Carl Reiner

“Lisa Kirchner is her great father’s daughter in talent and originality.  She never takes the expected or easy way, and her songs reflect the joys and agonies of her life’s experiences.  Listen, and you will be won over. You may even hear a hint of Leon– a truly haunting shadow of his smile!”

Paul Chihara

“Umbrellas in Mint,” Lisa Kirchner’s new CD, is the most exciting album Ms. Kirchner has yet to produce. She is in beautiful voice, the shimmering, delicious lines of her vocals are here in abundance, giving the listener shivers of pure pleasure; and the songs! Her writing continues to flourish, as a garden of lyric beauty. What a singer! and what a CD! I am impressed, as I always have been, by Lisa Kirchner’s talent and her continuing success as a singer, writer and performer”

– Judy Collins

“Lisa Kirchner’s songs in Umbrellas In Mint are pure poetry…There are singer-songwriters aplenty, good ones and some not so good. Lisa Kirchner isn’t good. Lisa Kirchner is great. The woman is a poet. Her lyrics demand attention, and the fact that she sets them in a variety of elegant melodies puts her in the same class with the best of the singer/poets. And besides that, she can sing. Her voice has the kind of classic purity that does full justice to her remarkable lyrics.

When you get a couple of lines like “It’s only a dish of a bird in a stew/A fish of a feather that’s salty and blue,” you know you’re not dealing with an ordinary songwriter. This is a unique voice…. In “Tim,” a song about a “brilliant actor and dancer who taught a transcendent dance class,” Kirchner says the hour with him was “the measure of heaven.” “The measure of heaven” is not a bad description of the hour you spend with Umbrellas in Mint.

Jack Goodstein/BCMusic Premium
http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-lisa-kirchner-umbrellas-in/

http://www.seattlepi.com/lifestyle/blogcritics/article/Music-Review-Lisa-Kirchner-Umbrellas-In-Mint-4341926.php

…Every song here was in fact written by the wild-maned Kirchner and, for me, brings back tangs of the underlauded Robert Kraft, among others, as the Carmichaelish What About You? (LOVE that “A ceiling at midnight, where stars shine on cue” line!) demonstrates. A wide palette of world influences invade the entire cycle here, subordinated beautifully to the dominantly Broadway ambiance…

Expect generous doses of Rogers & Hart, Brel, Hammerstein, and a bunch of others in the Songbook milieu, but there are also a number of surprisingly Brechtian tinges, as Kirchner’s unafraid of the shadows populating boulevards and hearts. She knows those darksome dimensions are just wellsprings… Umbrellas is an exhilarating escapade, a collection of songs wrought for a stage musical yet to be put beneath the lights…”

Mark S. Tucker/Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/p08593.htm

Drawing from jazz, Broadway, cabaret and Great American Songbook influences, Kirchner presents a dozen outstanding originals. They’re rich in diversity, imagery and emotion. “Under The Paris Moon” and ‘”Southern Starlight” are especially enchanting. “A Billion Stars Ago (In The Shadow of a Crow)” is intricately designed and intriguingly performed. Kirchner’s elegantly expressive voice caresses her well-crafted lyrics and delicately woven melodies.

Paul Freeman/PopCultureClassics.Com
http://popcultureclassics.com/deja.html

If it can be said that anyone has music in her D.N.A., that person would be Lisa Kirchner…With the release of Umbrellas in Mint, she also puts her songwriting skills to the forefront. An album of all original material, Umbrellas in Mint is full of story-songs that might be taken from a progressive Broadway show, the melodies strong and the lyrics full of emotion. Ms. Kirchner sings in a way that draws the listener in, making us hang on her phrasing to see where the story – or the musical composition – will go next. While so many jazz singers are content to recycle the Great American Song Book, she is staking out new ground.

-Jeffrey Siegel/Straight No Chaser
http://straightnochaserjazz.libsyn.com/podcast-3-a-conversation-with-lisa-kirchner

 Lisa Kirchner Umbrellas in Mint Jazz Times- Scan the covers of Lisa Kirchner’s six albums to date and the first thing you’ll note is that her flame-colored hair grows increasingly untamed. So, too, has her musicality grown steadily bolder and wilder. Serving up her first platter of all-original material, the dusky-voiced Kirchner reaches a new apex, pairing poetry as densely atmospheric as Mitchell’s or Waits’ with melodies that reflect her longstanding cosmopolitan flair, and melding influences as varied as Brel, Brecht, Weill, Gershwin, Becker and Fagen.

Kirchner opens with “Salty and Blue (I Don’t Believe in Romance),” a sassy dismissal of moon-June songwriting tropes that sets the stage for the wide-ranging imaginativeness to follow. The dark, stormy percolation of “A Billion Stars Ago (In the Shadow of a Crow)” makes way for the chanson delicacy of “What About You?,” a misty-eyed paean to Paris which sighs and steps aside for the globetrotting “The Hudson Bay Inn,” a jaunty jumble of images worthy of Lorraine Feather.

The spirited title track sketches Kirchner’s quest for an equally madcap paramour, while the twirling “Tim” recalls a vividly mottled past relationship. Her border-blurring travels continue through “Under the Paris Moon,” while the closing “Quarters and Dimes” provides a sprightly summation of her narrative panache. All in all, Umbrellasis an exhilarating crazy quilt.

Chris Loudon/Jazz Times
http://jazztimes.com/articles/107983-umbrellas-in-mint-lisa-kirchner

Singer, Stylist, Composer, Storyteller: Lisa Kirchner at her very best UMBRELLAS IN MINT In this her sixth album, jazz stylistLisa Kirchner pushes the boundaries of her inestimable talents as a singer and arranger… She has written both the music and the lyrics for this highly imaginative exploration into poetry and stage plays and invites us on a journey called UMBRELLAS IN MINT – a story like no other and one that likely other singers will add to their repertoire… Kirchner is such a brilliant stylist that she is able to take us on a surreal flight of fancy about love and life in Manhattan….This is excellent music, each song different enough to maintain forward momentum, but each is equally fine.

-Grady Harp/Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/review/R2FY084Z1662QV

Lisa Kirchner brings off-beat lyrics to her jazz singing

Lisa Kirchner’s latest album of her jazz singing,Umbrellas In Mint, has her performing twelve pieces, all of which bring her own words to her own music. There is something comfortingly off-beat about the way she can conceive a tune and then spin it out with a gentle vocalization that creates a reassuring illusion of normality. I say “illusion” because her way with words shows a decided preference for the surreal, drawing upon metaphors that are just as off-beat as her jazz style, blended with free association and any number of appropriations from left of left field.

Like her previous album, Charleston for You, the twelve tracks on Umbrellas In Mint are again structured as a “geographical tour.” This time, however, the words are the main attraction. Instrumental solos from Sherman Irby (saxophone), Ron Jackson (guitar), and Bill Schimmel (accordion) are there for relatively brief commentary on Kirchner’s vocal delivery. The rhythm section, consisting of pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Vicente Archer, and drummer Willie Jones III provides support that seems rooted in continuo practices. If, as was the case in Charleston for You, the geographical references have an autobiographical foundation, in Umbrellas In Mint they are refracted by a subconscious that probably warps meaning the same way that Kirchner’s jazzy style warps conventional melody.

If the words tend to dominate the tunes, Umbrellas In Mint still makes for compelling listening for its capacity to bring the “art” in “art song” solidly into the jazz repertoire.

Stephen Smoliar/examiner.com
http://www.examiner.com/article/lisa-kirchner-brings-off-beat-lyrics-to-her-jazz-singing

Kirchner’s latest finds her really comfortable in her own skin and really hitting it out of the park.  A jazz vocal set of all originals with some first call cats backing her up, Kirchner’s originals sound familiar providing a great hook to draw you in as you try to figure out where you’ve heard them before—-and you haven’t! Killer stuff.

Chris Spector/Editor Publisher
midwestrecord.com/MWR606.html

Lisa has some (very) high-energy jazz vocals going on with this CD release… that can’t be surpassed by most in the jazz arena today!

-Rotcod Zzaj - Improvijazzation Nation
http://rotcodzzaj.com/wordpress/?page_id=3794

Kirchner composed the lyrics and music to each of the 12 songs featured, and she gives it her all throughout the album, including a song like “A Billion Stars Ago (In The Shadow Of A Crow)” which changes tempo and style a few times throughout its duration. I feel each of these songs has a life that I hope will continue to be vibrant as they are covered by other singers and musicians.

-John Book/This Book’s Music
http://www.thisisbooksmusic.com/2013/02/16/review-lisa-kirchner-umbrellas-in-mint/