Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Bossa Norkah – Na Moim Brzegu (2018)

Bossa Norkah

Honorata Kożuchowska - vocal
Andzej Jagodziński - piano
Rafał Sarnecki - guitar
Wojciech Pulcyn - double bass
Michał Jaros - double bass
Krzysztof Szmańda - drums
and others

Na Moim Brzegu


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish Jazz ensemble Bossa Norkah, led by vocalist Honorata Kożuchowska, which also includes some of the top Polish Jazz instrumentalist: pianist Andrzej Jagodziński, guitarists Rafał Sarnecki/Piotr Aleksandrowicz, bassists Wojciech Pulcyn/Michał Jaros, drummer Krzysztof Szmańda and several other guests appearing on selected tracks playing brass and a plethora of percussion instruments. The album presents thirteen songs (two of which appear twice in alternate versions), all of which were written by Polish songwriter/poet Antoni Muracki.

The music has a distinct Bossa Nova flavor, which is the main climate of all the songs. On the other hand the album is also clearly a Jazz & Poetry project, since Muracki's songs are all deeply lyrical and evocative. The songs are kept in pretty reticent attire, featuring the vocals clearly in the center of the attention and the instrumental work kept to a bare minimum, with the piano providing the steady accompaniment and the rhythm section keeping the rhythm in check. There are only a few instrumental solos, which is a pity as those might have added a spark to the proceedings.

Kozuchowska handles the vocals well, which is not an easy task in this case for many reasons; the lyrics are complex and often difficult to express in rapid succession and admittedly South American rhythms are hardly native to East European singers. The vocals therefore lack the sensual and often plainly erotic sensitivity of Bossa Nova, which are native and natural to Brazilian vocalists. But all things considered, the album works fine and offers a pleasant listening experience with an added value of excellent texts (sadly relevant to Polish-speaking listeners only). Overall this is an album floating between Pop and Easy Jazz, which can be enjoyed by a wide range of listeners, offering both musical and lyrical values combined with highly professional musicianship.

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