I've always been attracted to, uhmm.....'non-standard' listening. This applies to ambient sounds, instruments, and voices too. Some of my female favorites coming from the latter category include Lene Lovich, Kate Bush, Yoko Ono, The Roches, Meredith Monk, and Bjork. This doesn't mean that I don't enjoy 'regular' singers. Far from it. In the jazz world, there's always room for a daily shot of Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn, Billie Holiday, Diana Krall, and Cassandra Wilson.
But for a higher resonance factor, my ears want to hear something different. This might include weird arrangements, oddly-bent notes, freakish harmonies, microtones, and non-linear melodies. The only problem here (aside from the increased probability of room-clearing) is that sometimes the humanity and emotion can get masked by the perceived strangeness of the presentation. I had this problem when I first heard Kate Bush (around the time of The Dreaming) but was won over after a single listen to "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" (from her first record).
With Lisa B (that would be Bernstein), there was never any doubt. I was hooked when I first heard what she did with What's New, Pussycat?. Yes, Bacharach and David wrote it, and Tom Jones took off with it, but Lisa B. put a very cool spin on it.
On The Poetry Of Groove, Lisa B takes her spoken word beautifully sung excursions and wraps them up in a bunch of snazzy grooves that vary from hip-hop to slinky jazzification. On the spiritually uplifting "Get The Signal," the grooves are built from a sparse outline (thanks to what sounds like a kalimba) into something more earthy and insistent. The title track's hopeful message ("...It's the things you crave that fill you with singing...") is set up with a slow burn that opens up with the addition of strings, backing vocals, and piano & funk guitar accents. On "Trane's Ride (Naima) (Remastered)," Bernstein delivers some very evocative poetry over a hip-hop mashup of the Coltrane classic.