Soesja Citroen

Songs for Lovers & Losers

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It's safe to say that in 1996, the vast majority of American jazz fans had never heard of Soesja Citroen, although she was highly regarded in Europe. But Americans who did get a chance to hear Citroen were impressed by the Dutch singer's strong command of the English language and her very soulful phrasing. Citroen sings with a lot of blues feeling, something that is in abundant supply on Songs for Lovers & Losers. A torchy mood defines this album, and Citroen (whose intimate Dutch accompaniment includes pianist Louis Van Dijk and bassist Hein Van de Geyn) brings plenty of blues to her moving, personal interpretations of standards like "Angel Eyes," "Speak Low," and "Love for Sale." Because these songs have been done to death over the years, it's best to avoid them unless you have something personal to bring to them -- and, thankfully, Citroen does. One song that really speaks volumes about her ability is Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life," a world-weary classic that no singer should even think about attempting unless he/she has done a lot of living. But Citroen, who was 47 when Chris Ellis produced this CD for her, definitely rises to the occasion and proves herself worthy of the heartbreaking Strayhorn classic. Clearly, years of exposure to the likes of Abbey Lincoln and Ella Fitzgerald have taught Citroen well.

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