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AGNIESZKA HEKIERT ~ STORIES
UNIVERSAL 028947651475 (Barcode: 028947651475) ~ POLAND ~ Jazz

Recorded: 2012 Released: 2012

Polish Jazz vocalist / composer Agnieszka HekiertFind albums by this artist, who combines the careers of a vocalist and a successful vocal coach for TV reality shows, released this album eight years after her last release called "Night And Day SwingFind albums with this title", which she recorded with the pianist / composer Krzysztof HerdzinFind albums by this artist and his trio. In the meantime she also recorded the "European ImpressionsFind albums with this title" album with my dear friend, the great Polish saxophonist / composer Leszek ZadloFind albums by this artist, which unfortunately remains unreleased so far. From that session she carried over the Bulgarian pianist / composer Konstantin KostovFind albums by this artist (who studied with another friend of mine, the Russian pianist / composer Leonid TschischikFind albums by this artist, now living and teaching in Germany), who is her closest collaborator on this album. The other musicians, who constitute the piano trio on this album, are bassist Robert KubiszynFind albums by this artist and drummer Cezary KonradFind albums by this artist. Guest appearances also include Herdzin on flute (yes I smiled too), vocalist Kuba BadachFind albums by this artist and the superb Atom String QuartetFind albums by this artist.

The album includes twelve songs, four of which are Kostov / Hekiert originals, another four are by Hekiert or feature her lyrics, one is a standard, one is a song by StingFind albums by this artist, another one by Polish vocalist KayahFind albums by this artist and the last of mysterious Far East source (sic!); overall quite a mishmash of styles and influences, which are unified by the arrangements (the arranger is not listed) and excellent performances by the piano trio. Kostov is a brilliant player, which is evident both on his solo spots and his skillful accompaniment, and so are of course veterans Kubiszyn and Konrad.

Hekiert is a talented vocalist, singing lyrics and vocalese with obvious ease and technical proficiency. Most of the vocals are in Polish, which of course is highly commendable, with few exceptions, which are unfortunately less impressive. Overall the vocal parts are kept within very safe limits of mainstream Jazz, which is somewhat lacking, as she obviously could have taken a few more risks and less obvious choices. Perhaps the fact that the album was released by Universal signifies an attempt to produce a much wider accessible music? In any case compared to some truly exciting vocal albums released in 2012 in Poland, this one sadly does not challenge any of them.

Connoisseurs of vocal Jazz will find this a pleasant listening experience, with excellent instrumental parts and professional vocal performances, no less and no more.
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