Occasionally bringing poetry and light rapping to a quiet storm/NAC foundation, Lisa Bernstein, aka Lisa B, showed some promise on her first full-length album, Free Me for the Joy. (Previously, the singer/songwriter had recorded an EP titled Be the Word). Make no mistake: this introspective effort is pop/R&B first and foremost, and calling it hardcore jazz would be like calling Anita Baker or Angela Bofill hardcore jazz singers. But parts of this CD are jazz-influenced, and its most memorable cut, "Trane's Ride," is also its most jazz-minded. Rapping to John Coltrane's "Naima," this song finds Lisa providing a very dreamy ode to the saxophone master. Other noteworthy songs on the album range from the lush "I Remember Paradise" and the haunting "Turning It Around" to the Joni Mitchell-ish "You're Not a Girl Anymore," which laughs at the ridiculous images of women on prime-time TV. (Of course, thinking of those images as part of some patriarchal, misogynist conspiracy would be extreme because the images of men on prime-time TV are hardly ideal). On "God No. 2," Lisa's poetry becomes overly self-indulgent and even borders on silly. But for the most part, she has a pleasant, if uneven, debut in Free Me for the Joy.