Susanne Abbuehl: April

Susanne Abbuehl is an acquired taste. On April (ECM 1766; 58:24), her second album and first for a major label, the Swiss songstress gives both her spring-water-pure voice and her expansive imagination vigorous workouts. A mixed bag of surprises, April focuses primarily on the clever interplay of Carla Bley’s music and e.e. cummings’ poetry. As if that weren’t avant-garde enough, there’s also an album-closing raga that reflects her tremendous interest in Indian music. Adding to the eclecticism, she’s crafted suitably noirish lyrics for Bley’s “Ida Lupino” and included a cool, cosmic “‘Round Midnight.” Abbuehl’s not for everyone, but those willing to invest in something different and daring won’t be disappointed.