Monday, October 3, 2011

Grzegorz Karnas - Karnas (Hevhethia, 2011)

Grzegorz Karnas - vocal, voices
Michał Tokaj - piano
Adam Oleś - cello
Michał Jaros - bass
Sebastian Frankiewicz – drums

Edi Sanchez – bass (19)
Piotr Wyleżoł – piano (19)
Marek Podkowa – tenor sax (19)
Jean Paul Garces – percussion (19)
  • Karnas (Hevhethia, 2011)
After years of hearing close to nothing interesting from Polish male jazz singers I must admit that recently I am discovering some interesting projects from them at last! One of the albums I am waiting most impatiently for in Polish jazz is one planned by Oleś Brothers and vocalist Jorgos Skolias (check this link for more info) for Tzadik Records. But this one, released just couple of days ago by Hevhetia, Slovak record label, though unexpected brings pleasant surprise indeed. All due to vocalist Grzegorz Karnas who managed to record album intriguing, forward-thinking and challenging.
Grzegorz Karnas, born in 1972, graduated from well-known Jazz Faculty at Katowice Music Academy and has already recorded three albums starting in 2000 with "Reinkarnasja" for Not Two followed by "Dreams" in 2004 and "Ballads For The End Of The World" in 2006 issued by his own Ninth Floor Production. Honestly I cannot say much about his previous CDs since I simply got no opportunity to listen to them. But basing on this album I find his voice mature, his conceptions daring, his taste refined. He strives to imitate nobody, he is searching for his own sound and he succeeds in this not least through excellent choice of his fellow-workers. Mikołaj Tokaj is one of best pianist in Poland and permanent partner of allegedly the best Polish female jazz singer Aga Zaryan (check her "Looking Walking Being" and "A Book Of Luminous Things"). But Adam Oleś on cello, Michał Jaros on bass (very good on recent debut disc "I Remember" by pianist Michał Wróblewski) or Sebastian Frankiewicz (very active and present on recent albums by Przemek Strączek, Dominik Bukowski, Joanna Gajda or very interesting "Hendrix Piano" by Artur Dutkiewicz) are equally good support. 
Going back to music, this is nothing close to typical jazz singing, though we find here marvelous version of Sting immortal cover "Roxanne" but otherwise it is laborious search for what is "new land" in jazz singing. Although sometimes irritant (as any avantarde effort usually are), I do not want to hide it, sometimes it is simply breathtakingly beautiful like on "Fin d'ete" but always free in spirit and thus earning my respect. Worth-checking!

Check tune "Spytaj milicjanta" (tranls. Ask a policeman) from this album: 

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

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