Saturday, February 4, 2017

NOVI Singers – Chopin (2010)

NOVI Singers

Ewa Wanat - vocals
Bernard Kawka - vocals
Janusz Mych - vocals
Waldemar Parzyński - voclas

Chopin

MUZA 1295



By Adam Baruch

This is a reissue of the third album by Polish Jazz vocal quartet NOVI Singers, led by vocalist/composer Bernard Kawka and including vocalist Ewa Wanat, Janusz Mych and Waldemar Parzyński. The album, originally entitled "NOVI Sing Chopin", presents eleven compositions by the Polish National composer Frederic Chopin, arranged for the vocal quartet singing a cappella.

Obviously following in the footsteps of The Swingle Singers, who recorded arrangements of music by Johann Sebastian Bach and other Classical composers, NOVI undertook this difficult and very ambitious project to sing Chopin's music in a similar Swing fashion and against all odds succeeded beyond all expectations. This recording immediately achieved a status of a cult album, and although not really a Jazz album per se, was warmly embraced by the Jazz community as part of its milieu.

In many aspects the album symbolizes the Polish Culture, as it embodies the idea of Polish Music, which became a part of Polish Cultural Heritage, transforming in time and staying contemporary regardless the changing frame of reference, in this case the Jazz idiom. The vocal performances on this album are absolutely brilliant and remain unmatched by any other vocal group since attempting to tackle Chopin's compositions, not only on the Polish scene, but globally.

This reissue is well remastered from the original studio tapes and presents a wonderful sonic quality, especially in view of the challenging task of recording human voices. It does not correct, unfortunately, the lack of information that has been associated with this album since day one as to the arrangement credits and the name of the bass player who accompanies the vocal quartet (i.e. the album is not strictly an a cappella recording as the vocals are accompanied by a bass player). This is a timeless classic of course and an absolute must have for any Polish music fan, Jazz or otherwise!

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