Norwegian vocalist Sidsel Endresen (who sings in English) is one of those 1990s artists who demonstrates the increasing difficulty in applying traditional 20th-century categorizations to many contemporary music albums. Although the singer/songwriter works with some notable jazz musicians, her records aren't really jazz; although they have plenty of experimental elements, they are firmly grounded in songs, and are more accessible than much "new music." Her pieces also betray the influence of some rock and folk (her voice is very reminiscent of Sandy Denny's), but bear even less concrete relationships to those forms.
Endresen has recorded a couple albums for ECM that bear some hallmarks of the label's trademark spacious production values, but avoid sterility. Her abstract lyrics are backed by jazzy minimalist strokes that occasionally skate into dissonance. Drummer Jon Christensen and cellist David Darling are the most recognizable of the musicians on these discs, which have a broader appeal than the traditional ECM listening base. ~ Richie Unterberger