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Lill Lindfors: Lill

Chris Mosey By

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Alas, Lill Lindfors remains best known outside Sweden for her "wardrobe malfunction" in the 1985 Eurovision song contest, actually a well-handled publicity stunt. She's actually a remarkably good vocalist and a dynamic performer, worth far more than that annual dose of television schlock. Lindfors is not known for singing jazz but does it extremely well.

It would be ungallant to reveal the lady's age. Suffice to say that a great many female vocalists half her age would struggle to inject half the energy and enthusiasm Lindfors puts into this performance, recorded live at the 2008 Musik Vid Siljan (Music At Lake Siljan) festival. Her palette is a broad one but she melds the numbers into a coherent whole. The concert's themes are summer and nostalgia.

There's a heartfelt, if rather naff, tribute to Duke Ellington. Lars Wittermark's Swedish verses to "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" might not scan properly but he can be forgiven for the memories they evoke of the Ellington band playing a summer concert in a Folkets Park(People's Park) in Sweden, way back when. Lindfors' tribute to Anita O'Day, which follows, is a triumph. She has the phrasing of "The Jezebel of Jazz" down pat on "Honeysuckle Rose," conjuring up oh-so-cool scenes from the 1959 Newport Festival.

And if her impromptu monologue on "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter" is a bit of a letdown, she makes up for it with a genuinely funny story of how she once brushed her teeth in champagne after reading that Françoise Sagan had done likewise.

There are three songs by Swedish bard Evert Taube and one by Cornelius Vreeswijk—a latter day troubadour, born in Holland, who moved to the Land of the Midnight Sun at the age of 12. Such fare is de rigueur at a Swedish festival and it's to her credit that Lindfors manages to instill new life into Taube's "Invitation till Guatemala" and Vreeswijk's "Felicia adjö."

She graciously allows reedman Hector Bingert to steal the show with a great performance on a primitive Inca flute that he brought with him from Latin America when he emigrated to Sweden as a boy. Still, she takes care to remind the audience who's really in charge, with a robust performance of one of her greatest hits, the samba "Jag vill nå dig."

Backing by Bingert, Mats Norrefalk (guitar) and the Claes Crona Trio, featuring the great Hans Backenroth on bass, is little short of immaculate. Proceedings come to a fitting close with John Lewis' "Django," transformed by Mats Hallgren's Swedish lyrics into the story of how trolls may appear on summer nights such as this.

A concert to remember. Perhaps one of the best Lindfors has ever done, with Eurovision glitz and wardrobe malfunctions—mercifully—a thing of the past.

Track Listing: Här är den sköna sommar; Medley--Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Honeysuckle Rose, Teach Me Tonight; I've Got You Under My Skin; I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter; Att leva i längtan; Jag vill nå dig; Francoise Sagan; Kom Se Mig; Felicia adjö; Medley--Jag vill tacka livet, Resalsa; Så skimrande var aldrig havet; Invitation till Guatemala; La Partida; Django.

Personnel: Lill Lindfors: vocals; Hector Bingert: tenor sax, flute; Mats Norrefalk: guitar; Claes Crona: piano; Hans Backenroth: bass; Mats Engström: drums.

Title: Lill | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Crown Jewels

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CD/LP/Track Review
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Lill

Lill

Crown Jewels
2010

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