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From Jeanette Lindstrom to Lina Nyberg, Sweden has its share of noteworthy jazz singers. But there’s nothing noteworthy about When Did You Leave Heaven, which finds Swedish pop star Lisa Ekdahl exploring straight-ahead jazz with sad results. If you can imagine Paula Abdul with a Scandinavian accent attempting to sing jazz, that’s how embarrassing things get on this dismal CDEkdahl’s first release in the U.S. and her first English-language recording. The 26-year-old singer has a mousy, girlish, wafer-thin voice that might work on bubble-gum pop, but it’s hardly appropriate for time-honored standards like “I’m A Fool To Want You,” “Cry Me A River” and “Love For Sale.” These songs require someone who’s capable of genuine depth, and Ekdahl gives no indication that she is. Ekdahl isn’t even remotely convincing on Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life,” a song that no singer should attempt without doing a great deal of living first.
Why would RCA Victor even release something this pathetic? Most likely, the label assumed that in the age of MTV, Ekdahl’s good looks would be enougha very wrong assumption when it comes to jazz. When Did You Leave Heaven may very well be the worst jazz vocal CD of 1997.
Reprinted with the permission of Myrna Daniels and L.A. Jazz Scene , the largest jazz publication in Southern California.