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by John Kelman
There was a time when artists were expected to release a record every year--sometimes a very good thing, as there was so much development going on that there was plenty to document; other times a less-than-ideal situation, as some artists simply didn't have that much music in them, so releasing albums too frequently often worked against--rather than for--them. Swiss-born/Netherlands-resident singer Susanne Abbuehl may, with The Gift, only have four albums to her name since her 1997 debut, the long out-of-print ...read more
by Budd Kopman
Compass is vocalist Susanne Abbuehl's second recording for ECM, after 2001's April. Five years is a long time between albums, but the wait was well worth it. Her band has not changed, except that Lucas Niggli has replaced Samuel Rohrer on drums and percussion, and Michel Portal has been added as a second clarinet on two tracks. The clarinet, particularly in its lower range, can have a vocal quality, and Christof May's lines go beyond mere accompaniment ...read more
by John Kelman
Anyone fortunate enough to have heard Susanne Abbuehl's out-of-print first record, I Am Rose (Evoke, 1997), knows that while the singer's musical direction was already developing, it was not until her 2001 ECM debut, April, that it became fully realized. Compass is a logical evolution, but it manages a few surprises, finding Abbuehl and her unorthodox trio becoming even more integrated, intuitive and introspective.
Abbuehl continues to defy convention. In contrast to jazz singers who search for new ways to ...read more
by Nic Jones
In the midst of a saturated field of female singers, Susanne Abbuehl stands out like a beacon. She does not choose the path of least resistance, always making sure she's pictured with her mouth open warbling her way through a cross-section of the tried-and-trusted. Instead she employs the timbre of her voice as an end in itself, never overstating her case. Such qualities, when tied with the fact that she goes in a whole lot more for musical settings of ...read more
by Craig W. Hurst
The music on Susanne Abbuehl's recent ECM release April draws on diverse musical sources that result in a product that extends beyond that which is usually expected from a recording labeled as jazz. The music of Abbuehl and her fellow musicians at times resembles music more closely akin to an impression of the spare and angular sounds of early 20th century German Expressionism, or modern avant-garde music. Overall, there is a delightfully haunting cool edge to the music on April ...read more