Gustafsson is a very special vocalist to me, so I am always looking forward to her new albums with impatience. It took a whole four years now since latest „Calling You” to which I am still listening to a lot. That one, like the previous is also recorded with strings and seems to be the further step of that concept she started there.
Previous four, funny enough, were recorded always in more jazz idiom with an assist of the trio, in case of Rigmor always top class jazz musicians. Early once dedicated to great mentors, like Dianne Warwick or Michel Legrand. Later based on vocalist own authority and containing material which is her very own.
What makes her unique is her very personal style. She is in jazz and blues orbits of course but on the same time she is perfectly on her own planet. She is crossing over all the styles successfully moving from Blues to Folk ,flirting with jazz and blending all with a pop idiom which makes pop music one would enjoy to listen to.
Jump with your imagination back to ladies like Blossom Dearie, Lena Horne, Dianne Warwick . Think about current divas like Helen Merrill, Rickie Lee Jones or Joni Mitchell. They are all living there. You can trace their personalities easily. Clearly one can see that she is the singer who didn’t really come from the deep Black roots of Blues, Jazz or Gospel tradition. Instead she found the challenging way to discover their structures in the music environment she grown in and learn how to expose it.
It really makes her a unique voice on the European jazz scene. Settling up with European trio, again made this set even more pure in its approach. The level of the control over material is top here given the fact she even produced this album herself. It gives special, deeper view into Rigmor’s personality.
Lyrics are simple and touching. Ballads like Call me Lonely, If Dreams Are Made of Sand or Forget About the Moonlight are showing the pure joy of the emotions they describe in the honest way they are sung.
A Different Kind with its fantastic arrangement spins between organ’s chords and brass responses is exactly the song which made me thinking about Blossom with its elegant, Blues like, emotional message which comes so smooth here that it makes the title looks like the best description. It is simply stunning arrangement. It is hard to make it any better. One of my favourite here.
The second is Let it Go. The Hymn like duo sung together with … that was a great surprise to me: Eagle-Eye Cherry, the son of legendary trumpeter Don Cherry. The strings accompaniment is so brilliant here that it doesn’t leave single doubt about Rigmor’s composing skills maturity.
I love that record and I am sure to say that the audience will do so as well. It shows the gentle side of the singer in an honest and straight way. However to me “Calling You” with its claw and adventurous arrangements remains still the top of the Rigmor’s game.