Rigmor Gustaffson ‘Come Home’ CD (ACT Music) 3/5

Swedish singer Rigmor Gustaffson is something of a halfway house between a singer-songwriter of folk and pop material and a jazz-tinged interpreter. Seven of the songs have been co-written by her with some of the lyrics composed by Andreas Mattsson. Backed by an organic sounding piano trio, the instrumentation has a strong jazz input, but the voice surely has a more global audience in mind. That is emphasized for example on Gustaffson’s take on the Kate Bush song, ‘Wuthering Heights’, which features the famous piano intro and even the high-pitched vocal delivery. Indeed, for these ears it is a bit too similar. Contrast that performance with the earthier jazz-blues immediacy of Joni Mitchell’s, ‘Big yellow taxi’, and one finally hears what the singer is truly capable of, with fine minor piano soloing throughout from Jonas Östholm. Another nod to the blues is where the bass line of Martin Höper combines with the piano for a groove-laden effort is, ‘Enjoy the day’, and here the high-pitched vocals recall Blossom Dearie. In a jazzier vein, ‘Lovely’, is notable for some delicate percussion work from drummer Chris Montgomery, and this is arguably the strongest performance on the entire album. Accordionist Lisa Långbacka guests on a cover of a Tanita Tikaram song, ‘Twist in my sobriety’. Unquestionably there are different sides to Rigmor Gustaffson and that versatility will itself serve her well, but the question nonetheless needs to be posed: What kind of singer does she want to be? Jazz vocalist, folk or pop singer, or all three?

Tim Stenhouse