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KAROLINA SMIETANA ~ ILLUSION
RECART 0021 (Barcode: 5908285287206) ~ POLAND ~ Jazz

Recorded: 2015 - 2016 Released: 2017

This is the debut album by the Polish (resident in Denmark) singer / songwriter Karolina SmietanaFind albums by this artist recorded with an excellent Polish / Danish quartet comprising of Polish guitarist Rafal SarneckiFind albums by this artist and drummer Radek WoskoFind albums by this artist and Danish pianist Soren GemmerFind albums by this artist and bassist Anders FjeldstedFind albums by this artist. The album presents nine tracks, six of which are original compositions by Smietana, one is co-composed by her and Wosko and the remaining two are standards. Smietana also wrote the English lyrics to five of the songs, one is a poem by the Polish poetess Wislawa SzymborskaFind albums by this artist (and is the only case of Polish lyrics on the album) and the remaining three texts originate from other sources. The album was recorded (mostly) at the excellent RecPublica Studios and engineered by Lukasz OlejarczykFind albums by this artist with great sonic results, as expected.

Smetana´s music is quite typical of the Polish Jazz vocal idiom, with solid melodies and coherent structures, which are pleasant and easy on the ear, without being trivial or boring. The songs are diverse enough to show her compositional palette and the lyrics are not an insult to the intelligence, which in today´s musical world is a success by itself. On the other hand, however, not everything is perfect; Smietana has a nice mellow voice, which she uses wisely, but her vocal range is limited and there are no virtuosic vocal performances herein. The usual problem with singing in English, when it is not the singer´s native tongue, produces the common pronunciation and accent problems.

What gives the album a great boost are the great instrumental performances by the quartet, which does a superb job accompanying her. Sarnecki plays superbly and manages to create a few brilliant solos. Gemmer also proves to be a great accompanist, with a great feel for melody and excellent technique. The rhythm section does an amicable job all along and plays along with the vocals and the lead instruments with elegance and flair. In short the instrumental parts are top notch.

Overall this is a nice vocal Jazz album, which exposes Smietana as an able vocalist and solid composer, marking a positive kickstart of her career. I am already looking forward to her next project!
Updated: 05/05/2017Posted: 05/05/2017CD 1 Digipak Recommend To A Friend

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