Rigmor Gustafsson

Rigmor Gustafsson - Photo: Magnus Seelander

Rigmor Gustafsson – Photo: Magnus Seelander

Sweden’s jazz voice

It is not presumptuous to call Rigmor Gustafsson THE jazz voice of Sweden. After her profound education at the Royal Academy in Stockholm and music schools in New York, she became one of Scandinavia’s showcase singers with the most diverse projects and bands. With her debut album on ACT, she even displaced Norah Jones from the No. 1 spot in the Swedish charts. Critic Werner Burkhardt named her “Best Female Performer of the Year” in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Since then, many releases have appeared on the German jazz label, and Rigmor Gustafsson has not only been able to establish herself as a fabulous singer and interpreter and reap the highest honors for it, she has also received the Jazz Award in Sweden and in Germany, among other things, and in the meantime has also been able to make a name for herself as a writer and composer of her own pieces.

Already years ago, her homages on the one hand to the film music star composer Michel Legrand and on the other hand to the pop diva Dionne Warwick made it clear that Rigmor Gustafsson is capable of breathing a new soul, an expanded dimension into familiar material. And one never has the impression that a tired copy is presented here, but Rigmor fits the pieces like a glove.

In her concerts, typical jazz numbers are lined up with pop, blues and soul, always sung with captivating precision and power. The originals by pop greats like Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush or Paul Simon seem to be written for Rigmor Gustafsson’s voice. An extremely demanding “Wuthering Heights” succeeds just as touchingly intense as Swedish folk songs.

Her elegant timbre blends calmly and confidently into the nuanced sound world of her wonderfully playing band. Sometimes her vocal lines replace a guitar, sometimes she glides through the sounds of the piano in a dreamlike manner, or competes with the drums in fast runs. Gustafsson and her accompanists savor all the possibilities and span the generous arc from uptempo numbers, to classic swing, light bossa nova and gritty soul numbers to quirky neo-blues and melancholy ballads.

Line Up

Rigmor Gustafsson – vocals
Jonas Östholm – piano
Martin Höper – bass
Chris Montgomery – drums

Downbeat about the record “Come Home”

“Working with a cadre of longtime lyricists, she funnels a deluge of new songs into a creative reservoir edged by the fabulous trio of Jonas Östholm on piano, Martin Höper on bass, and Chris Montgomery on drums. Behind Gustafsson’s technical prowess beats a troubadour’s heart.”

The complete review at the Downbeat website

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