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Friday, March 07, 2014

CD Review: Emilia Mårtensson - Ana

Emilia Mårtensson (vocals); Barry Green (piano); Sam Lasserson (bass);  Adriano Adewale (percussion) + The Fable String Quartet: Kit Massey, Paloma Deike (violins); Becky Hopkin (viola);  Natalie Rozario (cello)
(Review by Ann Alex)
BSH continues this week’s Scandanavian theme with a CD from this Swedish lady who has been making her way in the UK jazz scene for the last decade, although her work is new to me.  Her roots are in jazz and Swedish folk music, and this very pleasing disc (her 2nd) fits both genres lightly.  The general sound is playful with lots of excellent piano solos, steady bass, subtle, crunchy percussion used sparingly, sweet, slightly nasal singing with lots of humming and vocalese.  All this is cut across by the string quartet and the arrangements are complex and imaginative.
Most of the song writers are new to me except for Paul Simon (Everything Put Together Falls Apart); and Joe Henderson (Black Narcissus Music, with words written by our singer). There are 3 original compositions: Ana is a tribute to her Slovenian grandmother who is quoted as saying ‘close your eyes before you open up your mind’ (wise woman!), with delicate string quartet work and lyrical piano; the penultimate track Moffi’s Song; and the final track, which is a big surprise, an a capella version of a song called Vackra Manniska, which our singer performs in close harmony with herself.
Love is a constant theme, as in the beautiful Tomorrow Can Wait, a few repeated phrases, well sung and vocalised (‘I felt your heart dancing with mine’). There is a poignant Swedish folk song, Nar Som Jag Var Pa Mitt Adertonde Ar (about a girl who is going to kill herself, typical folk material!) with a suitably sparse arrangement of bass rhythm, voice, and simple percussion.
Another CD that I’ll be glad to have in my collection!
Ana is released on April 7, 2014 on the Babel Label, Cat No. BDV 14126
Ann Alex

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