Sardinia-born Lucia Fodde offers fresh new takes on jazz standards – a bit like fellow Berlin singer and namesake Lucia Cadotsch, but with a more traditional approach. Fodde’s vocals are firmly in the mainstream tradition, with hints of Abbey Lincoln and Anita O’Day. Her taut band and crisp production ensure that this set never fades into a tired retro exercise, though.
Since launching her career with a Cole Porter tribute a decade ago, Fodde has also become an able songwriter. On her third album, she mixes in five appealing originals (some with charmingly quirky English lyrics), with the classic-sounding No One Knows Me But You a standout.
The old chestnuts include Yesterdays, which starts the set. Jerome Kern’s 90-year-old workhorse is usually sung with world-weariness. Starting with a warm rich contralto sound, Fodde’s version offers worldly wisdom but also supple energy, propelled by Californian drummer Jesus Vega, who’s played with the likes of Joe Lovano and Logan Richardson.
Like Yesterdays, many of these songs touch on long-lost loves and memories, but the set doesn’t wallow in nostalgia or self-pity. Clearly our narrator has been through some changes over the years but emerged strong and forward-looking. She rekindles That Old Feeling more expressively than Chet Baker for instance, though as the album’s longest track this goes on a bit too long. Day By Day offers a fresh romance, with Milanese pianist Davide Incorvaia’s solo hitting the sweet spot between ornamentation and boldness.
Naturally, Fodde sounds most fluid in her native Italian on the dramatic, smoky original Dentro Questo Vento. She also sounds enchanting in Portuguese on the dark-edged Chico Buarque/Elis Regina nocturne Atrás Da Porta – so here’s hoping she delves deeper into the Brazilian songbook.
Yesterdays; I Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye; That Old Feeling; Wild Land; Maybe; Day By Day; No One Knows Me But You; Atrás Da Porta; Never Will I Marry; Dentro Questo Vento (42.45)
Fodde (v); Davide Incorvaia (p); Carmelo Leotta (b); Jesus Vega (d). Berlin, February 2022.