8 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Leni Stern's fusion of jazz and rock with African traditions reveals deep knowledge and commitment. Sabani finds her moving away from larger ensemble arrangements in favor of a more intimate trio setting, with the help of Mali-based players Haruna Samake and Mamadou Kone dit Prince. In these tracks, Stern achieves an effortless blend of subtly intoxicating rhythms and virtuosic instrumental work, unreeling elegant yet forceful lines on electric and acoustic guitar and n’goni ba (African lute). Her lyrics reveal a strong strain of mysticism that touches on tribal folklore (“Sorcerer”) and a universal desire for freedom (“Papillon”). “Like a Thief” is a particularly haunting invocation of love’s mysteries that adds a Celtic melodic element to the mix. Stern’s voice (hushed, husky, and oddly seductive) draws out the buried hurt within “Still Bleeding” and catches the cry of longing in “I Was Born (Ibe Keneya).” Soukou player Zoumana Tareta’s smoldering vocals add resonance to “Djanfa,” the ritual-like piece closing the album.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Leni Stern's fusion of jazz and rock with African traditions reveals deep knowledge and commitment. Sabani finds her moving away from larger ensemble arrangements in favor of a more intimate trio setting, with the help of Mali-based players Haruna Samake and Mamadou Kone dit Prince. In these tracks, Stern achieves an effortless blend of subtly intoxicating rhythms and virtuosic instrumental work, unreeling elegant yet forceful lines on electric and acoustic guitar and n’goni ba (African lute). Her lyrics reveal a strong strain of mysticism that touches on tribal folklore (“Sorcerer”) and a universal desire for freedom (“Papillon”). “Like a Thief” is a particularly haunting invocation of love’s mysteries that adds a Celtic melodic element to the mix. Stern’s voice (hushed, husky, and oddly seductive) draws out the buried hurt within “Still Bleeding” and catches the cry of longing in “I Was Born (Ibe Keneya).” Soukou player Zoumana Tareta’s smoldering vocals add resonance to “Djanfa,” the ritual-like piece closing the album.

TITLE TIME
3:43
5:16
2:16
4:44
3:34
5:38
4:37
4:19

About Leni Stern

Leni Stern, who has received more recognition for her composing than her guitar playing, has managed to carve out her own musical personality despite being married to fellow guitarist Mike Stern (a potentially dominant influence). She began classical piano lessons when she was six, but was much more inspired a few years later when she discovered a guitar in the attic and taught herself to play jazz. Stern's early years were actually spent as an actress in her native Germany, featured on a national television show. However, she took a summer off in 1977 to enroll at Berklee, and she never returned to acting. Stern lived in Boston until 1980, moved to New York, and has worked steadily in clubs ever since, recording for Passport (now defunct), Enja, and Lipstick. Primarily an instrumentalist in the past, with 1997's Black Guitar she revealed her prowess as a vocalist, and began releasing a series of albums that mixed jazz, pop, and rock on her own LSR imprint, including Kindness of Strangers (2000), Finally the Rain Has Come (2002), When Evening Falls (2004), and Love Comes Quietly (2006). ~ Scott Yanow

  • ORIGIN
    Germany
  • GENRE
    Jazz
  • BORN
    Apr 28, 1952

Top Songs by Leni Stern

Top Albums by Leni Stern