Lis Wessberg’s TWAIN WALKING is truly something special

April Records Lis Wessberg – Trombone; Steen Rasmussen – Fender Rhodes, Moog, Synths, Piano; Lennart Ginman – Double Bass, Electronics; Jeppe Gram – Drums; Karmen Roivassepp – Vocals (Behind the Walls, Like A Sparrow)

Trombonist Lis Wessberg has played on more than fifty albums. She’s the leader on TWAIN WALKING, her second album, and it’s a beaut.

There was phenomenal trombone on YELLOW MAP, her first album, and, it was a great jazz album. Wessberg said that sixties jazz was the inspiration. She also listens to Portishead, Massive Attack, and Talk, Talk. You hear some of that influence, plus her phenomenal trombone, on TWAIN WALKING.

Wessberg picked the title, TWAIN WALKING after reading Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” a poem about standing at a fork in the road of life and not knowing which path to take. After listening to YELLOW MAP and TWAIN WALKING it sounds to me, like Lis Wessberg has no problem picking the right path.

Wessberg composed all of TWAIN WALKING. In an interview with Jazz Views she was humble about being new at writing songs and lyrics. The two vocals on the album are terrific. ‘Behind the Walls’ reminded me of some of those great James Bond movie intros with a mix of jazz, brass, and the electronics sounding like classical orchestration.

Estonian singer, Karmen Roivassepp, is new to me. The beautiful timbre of her voice is similar to that of Wessberg’s trombone. They’re a gorgeous match. Roivassepp and Wessberg trade choruses on the lovely ballad, ‘Like A Sparrow.’ Steen Rasmussen’s acoustic piano is perfectly delicate. Bassist Lennart Ginman and drummer Jeppe Gram melodically play off each other.

My favorite tune? ‘Clouds.’ Wessberg’s playing is achingly beautiful, bluesy, and so full of emotion. It’s as if she’s crying through her horn. She is not afraid to adjust her embouchure to make her tone sound “breathy.” She doesn’t want to blow too hard, or her heart might break. If Billie Holliday was a trombone player? This is what she would have sounded like. Steen Rasmussen’s laconic, behind the beat acoustic piano isn’t on every cut, but I love it when it is. The bass and drums are there, and they’re perfect. ‘Clouds’ is one of the prettiest things I have ever heard.

On ‘Twain Walking,’ the title track, Wessberg glides effortlessly into the upper register of her horn after playing so quietly. The drums have a laid-back, downtempo groove. There’s a syncopated bass and more lovely piano.

Lis Wessberg’s TWAIN WALKING is truly something special. She’s looking forward to touring with the music from the album and she is planning on releasing a third album in 2026, also on April Records.