Saturday, December 21, 2013

Monika Borzym - My Place (2013) ****

Monika Borzym - vocal

My Place (2013)

By Maciej Nowotny

Two years ago Monika Borzym debuted with album "Girl Talk" (2011) which was unbelievably good for a girl just over her twenty. It announced arrival to our scene of a talent of caliber not seen in Poland for decades. Her second disc "My Place" (2013) confirms thoroughly how gifted she is as it sounds much better than first one marking important step in the development of this already fully accomplished singer.

"My Place" contains mostly original compositions written by Borzym in cooperation with pianist Mateusz Obijalski. These are mostlty simple songs which however are so unpretentious and pretty that it is impossible no to hum them to himself long after actual rehearsal of the album. As her first recording this one was produced by Matt Pierson who made a great job indeed as music sounds on par with the best albums released in the US or elsewhere. Additionally album features Borzym's interpretations of Rihanna's hit single "Only Girl (in the World)", "The Quiet Crowd" by Patrick Watson and Kenny Rankin's "In the Name of Love".

The names of musicians Borzym hired for this session do indeed make the heart of every true jazz lover beat harder. Drummer Kenny Wollesen and bassist Tony Scherr constitute regular rhythm section of legendary American guitarist Bill Frisell who did not took part in this recording but instead of him we can hear here the guitar of John Scofield and Larry Campbell. Saxophonist Chris Potter and trumpeter Randy Brecker, both coming from the first division of jazz musicians, complement this stellar supporting band. 

Although for me and many others in Poland Borzym's has been until recently completely unknown she is very well educated. She started learning piano in music school in Warsaw at the age of 8, the instrument which she eventuality changed for vocal studies. The turning point in her education was scholarship she was granted at University of Miami Frost School of Music "where she studied in classes of jazz musicians, such as Lisanne Lyons, Dante Luciani, Chuck Bergeron, Larry Lapin and Greg Gisbert" (source: wikipedia). She now resides in Los Angeles and although she frequently visits Poland she obviously hopes for making international career.

And basing on her outstanding musicality and incredible vocal talent her hopes are fully justified. Although rooted in jazz her singing on "My Place" is clearly steering towards neo-soul and even pop music territory. But personally I don't see anything wrong with it as she does so with great elegance and class. Placing herself somewhere between Erykah Badu and Adele she has clearly a style of her own and she seems determined enough to be able (with a a stroke of luck!) to achieve great things in future.

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