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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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JOHANNA GRUSSNER

Come Rain or Come Shine

Prophone PCD 102

 

 


1. Caravan
2. Come Rain or Come Shine
3. Save Your Love For Me
4. A Felicidade (Happiness)
5. Honeysuckle Rose
6. Moon and Sand
7. How Long Has This Been Going On?
8. Norwegian Wood
9. Samba de Um Nota So (One Note Samba)
10. Chiquilin de Bachin (Little Guy at Bachin's)

Johanna Grssner - Voice
Ulf Karlsson - Guitar (tracks 6, 12)
Ulf Johansson Werre - Piano, vocals
Fredrik Jonsson - Acoustic bass, electric bass
Andr‚ Ferrari - Drums
Fredrik Gille - Percussion
Klas Lindqvist - Alto sax, clarinet
Tore Berglund - Tenor sax (track 6)
Hector Bingert - Quena (track 10)

 


The list of Finnish-born jazz singers is not very long. One name on that list is Johanna Grüssner. After spending her early years in her native country, she eventually went to the United States to study, first at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and then the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Now living in Stockholm, Grüssner took on this project with the production and musical collaboration of guitarist Ulf Karlsson and is accompanied by some of Sweden’s leading musicians. Possessed with a clear and lyrical voice, Grüssner delivers a disc of jazz standards, pop tunes and bossa nova hits, all done with naturalness and style. The disc leads off with two chestnuts, starting with Juan Tizol’s Caravan and the title composition Come Rain or Come Shine by Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer. Both are done in satisfactory fashion but nothing out of the ordinary.

On Buddy Johnson’s Save Your Love For Me, Grüssner seems to find her groove, and captures the meaning and texture of the tune. From this point on, the disc reaches a different level with Grüssner’s vocals more assured. She demonstrates her affection for bossa nova with two Antonio Carlos Jobim favourites, A Felicidade and Samba De Um Nota So. Throughout the disc, pianist Ulf Johansson Werre offers sympathetic accompaniment, and on How Long Has This Been Going On? delivers a vocal duet with Grüssner to impressive effect. The disc closes with Astor Piazzolla’s Chiquilin De Bachin on which Hector Bingert adds a notable introduction on quena (an Andean flute) which complements the arresting interpretation that Grüssner provides for this tango.

Johanna Grüssner is an appealing young singer with a confident style, who seems to be at home in a variety of vocal idioms. We can expect to hear more from her in the time ahead.

Pierre Giroux



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