Saturday, August 19, 2017

Maciej Miecznikowski & Krzysia Górniak – Tribute To Nat King Cole (2015)

Maciej Miecznikowski & Krzysia Górniak

Maciej Miecznikowski - vocals, guitar
Krzysia Górniak - guitar
Paweł Pańta - bass
Adam Lewandowski - drums
Atom String Quartet

Tribute To Nat King Cole

DUX 1237

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by Polish vocalist/guitarist Maciej Miecznikowski and female guitarist Krzysia Górniak, who present their interpretations of eleven songs associated with the legacy of American singer/pianist Nat King Cole. The pair is accompanied by veteran Polish Jazz rhythm section: bassist Paweł Pańta and drummer Adam Lewandowski and the excellent Polish Atom String Quartet (violinists Dawid Lubowicz and Mateusz Smoczyński, violist Michał Zaborski and cellist Krzysztof Lenczowski).

Miecznikowski sings the songs in a very straightforward manner, very closely to the original performances. His English pronunciation and accent are bearable, but not ideal of course, part of the usual insurmountable problems that Polish vocalists face while singing English lyrics. He uses his smooth baritone voice with skill and intelligence and all in all his vocal performances are fine, but not exceptional and surely not extraordinary.

The string arrangements are also pretty mundane, kept well in the background and adding very little to the overall effect. Of course Atom String Quartet is a superb ensemble, but here their role is severely limited, not to say a stronger word. The rhythm section does its job amicably, but again there us very little it can actually contribute within this concept.

The only ray of sunshine on this album is the incredible guitar work by Górniak, who really shines from start to finish. She plays a real Jazz guitar, something almost completely absent on today's scene with all the guitarists playing Fusion or God only knows what, but surely not Jazz guitar. In short there is almost no reason to listen to this album other than to listen to some great guitar parts, since what is the sense in listening to pale versions of songs when one can hear the originals? A decent album, that's what it is.

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