3

Lisa Engelken: Lisa Engelken - Little Warrior

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Polymathic in her talent and approach, vocalist Lisa Engelken further cements her status as a far-reaching artist, established on the previous Caravan (Self Produced, 2010), with the present Little Warrior. Described as, "part freight train, part junkyard trombone," Engelken is 100% an American, hailing from the Kansas heartland where she obviously picked up fluency in Portuguese, French, Spanish and Italian, all of which she shares with us. What of the music? The music is pleasantly all over the place.

Engelken employs a traditional jazz piano trio, supplemented by additional voices both instrumental and human. With this, she makes music that sounds like fusion cuisine tastes. It is easy to identify the elements that make up the sum individually, but that sum is something quite new and refreshing. For example, Engelken's original "Housemate From Hell" is indeed a "serpentine ensemble a la Kurt Weill and Tom Waits," were those two to meet at the crossroads at midnight, sharing a snifter of brandy. Pure Broadway by way of the Bowery (or Skid Row out West). Bob Reich's accordion adds that perfect connection between Weill and Waits while powerfully melded with Engelken's power and precise vocals.

Jazz standards? If you call "Undertow" (the vocal arrangement of Wayne Shorter's "Nefertiti") and Chick Corea's "Sea Journey" standards. Gratefully, there is no "My Funny Valentine." Instead, Engelken covers the aforementioned Tom Waits' "Blue Valentines" as an off- kilter ballad (what else?) that was made for an off-Broadway production of Moon for the Misbegotten. Performed with only piano and bass, "Valentines" has the smell of soft leather soiled with single-malt whiskey. This is pan- sensual music: tactile, fragrant, loud and bright. Think a very hip Barbra Streisand sans the cult of personality. It is a good direction in which to be going.

Track Listing: Foggy Bottom; Viva La Felicita; You Where Those Eyes; Throw It Away; Housemate From Hell; Little Warrior; Undertow; Sea Journey; Cold Blue Steel & Sweet Fire; Blue Valentines; All I Do Is Dream Of You.

Personnel: Lisa Engelken: vocals; Bill Cantos: piano and Hammond B3; Sam Bevan: bass; Matthew Swindells: drums; Joel Behrman: trumpet, trombone (2-4, 6-9); Erik Jekabson: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 4-7, 9); Mike Olmos: trumpet (3); Evan Francis: flute (2, 3, 6, 9); Robert Roth: tenor saxophone (1, 6, 7, 9); Matt Heulitt: guitar (1, 3); Carlos Oliviera: guitar (2); Rob Reich: accordion (5); Brian Rice: percussion (2, 3, 6); Dan Feizil: tambourine; Christie Winn: background vocals (2, 3); Jennifer Lee: background vocals (2); Carey Williams: background vocals (2).

Title: Lisa Engelken - Little Warrior | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Little Angel Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Mannequins" CD/LP/Track Review Mannequins
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "3rio" CD/LP/Track Review 3rio
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "Domains" CD/LP/Track Review Domains
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 3, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.