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ANNA MARIA STURM ~ TALES OF WOE
WHYPLAYJAZZ 015 (Barcode: 4050486915066) ~ GERMANY ~ Jazz

Recorded: 2014 Released: 2014

This is the debut album by German actress Anna Maria SturmFind albums by this artist, recorded with her quintet which also includes German multi-reedman and arranger Wanja SlavinFind albums by this artist and drummer Peter GallFind albums by this artist, Israeli pianist Uri GincelFind albums by this artist and Danish bassist Andreas LangFind albums by this artist. The album includes nine songs, which are a mixture of Jazz standards, French chansons (written by Serge GainsbourgFind albums by this artist) and other popular material, sung in German, French and English.

From the very first notes of this album it is obvious that Sturm is not a singer, but honestly neither was Marlene DietrichFind albums by this artist, Brigitte BardotFind albums by this artist or Marilyn MonroeFind albums by this artist for that matter. Therefore rather than dismissing this album outright one should not judge it by the same criteria as those applied to vocal Jazz albums, but rather consider it in a framework of a cabaret performance, which is more suitable here. It is obvious that Sturm loves these songs and interprets them in her own theatrical manner, which works fine despite of her vocal limitations.

The accompanying quartet is absolutely wonderful, as are the arrangements, which make this album a continuous pleasure to listen to. Slavin, who plays a myriad of instruments, is the main instrumental soloist, but Gincel´s piano work is the most important layer which stays with Sturm´s vocals. The rhythm section does everything that is expected of it, providing wonderful bass pulsation and steady beat, but stays unobtrusive and elegantly in the shadows.

Overall this is a "different" vocal album from most other similar efforts appearing on the scene and one that is a true fun to listen to. I suppose that this music works even better live. Definitely worth investigating!
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