The Swiss singer Lucia Cadotsch is known to fans of jazz and independent music for her performances in such groups as Yellow Bird, Schneeweiss und Rosenrot or Hayden Chisholm and Lucerne Jazz Orchestra. She has proved to be a subtle artist, gifted with a pure, melancholic and hypnotic voice. The feeling of unreality, the oneiric atmosphere that Cadotsch creates in her music accompanies the compositions that made up her debut album, released in 2016 under the title Speak Low.
This album is unputdownable. Its atmosphere is so captivating, intimate, quiet and saturated with a sense of sadness and tension. This is due to the musicians whom the singer invited to record: the tenor saxophonist Otis Sandsjö and the double bass player Petter Eldh (both will also perform in the Koma Saxo project during this year’s Jazztopad). The music accompanying the singing, although devoid of percussion instruments, gives the compositions a pulse – sometimes calm, sometimes nervous and violent – showing a new depth of well-known, canonical pieces.
Cadotsch explains that Speak Low is a kind of tribute, an expression of gratitude to her musical soul mates from the past. “It's kind of a thank you letter to Billie Holiday and Nina Simone,” she added. We hear new interpretations of such famous compositions as Black Is the Color of My True Loves Hair, Wild Is the Wind, Gloomy Sunday or the moving protest-song Strange Fruit. The Swiss singer and Swedish musicians shed new light on the songs, saving the exhibits in the jazz history museum from darkness. It may be trivial to talk about beauty, but the Speak Low album is indeed full of sad beauty. If this description is clichéd, let it be so.