Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Novi Singers – Five, Four, Three (2015)

Novi Singers

Ewa Wanat - vocals
Janusz Mych - vocals
Waldemar Parzyński - vocals
and others

Five, Four, Three

GAD 025



By Adam Baruch

This is the fifth album by the Polish Jazz vocal ensemble Novi Singers, recorded after the ensemble's founder/leader/primary composer/arranger Bernard Kawka left Poland for the greener pastures of the Big Apple, following a whole wave of his compatriots, like Michal Urbaniak, Urszula Dudziak, Adam Makowicz and others. Kawka's departure seemed to have little impact on the remaining three members of the ensemble: Ewa Wanat, Janusz Mych and Waldemar Parzyński. They immediately embarked upon the recording of this album, which as usual included original material, composed by Parzynski (seven of the nine compositions on this album) and Mych (the other two compositions). Three of the compositions included also lyrics (in English).

The ensemble was accompanied by an instrumental combo, which featured top Polish Jazz musicians: keyboardist Wojciech Karolak, guitarist Marek Bliziński, bassist Paweł Jarzębski and drummer Czesław Bartkowski, and the Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra conducted by Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski. In addition to the original album, this remastered edition includes four bonus tracks, two of which feature the vocalist Tomasz Ochalski, who expanded the ensemble to the original quartet lineup for a brief period. The original album was released only three years after it was recorded, which was an example of how political bureaucracy dictated the fate of musicians behind the Iron Curtain.

Musically this album was a continuation of the fantastic work they did on the previous releases, but the stress of loosing their leader and the confusion that followed is pretty obvious. The selection of material and inclusion of songs is obviously a step towards commercialism, but the album still presents several top-notch numbers, beautifully and skillfully executed, which stand up to par with their earlier work. But overall the glory days of Novi Singers were over and although they would record a couple of additional albums, they were moving further away from the revolutionary and innovative vocal achievements of their early days.

Considering the fact that this music has been unavailable for such a long time this is definitely another project by GAD Records, which deserves to be praised. Novi Singers fans will find this an indispensable part of their collection and hopefully we will get a complete set of Novi Singers reissues sometime in the future.

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