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Friday, August 09, 2019

CD Review: Jelena Jovovic - Heartbeat

(Review by Ann Alex)

Jelena Jovovic comes from Serbia and has studied at universities in Belgrade and Austria. A vocal clinician and lecturer who has sung with Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordan, as well as appearing at festivals and touring with her own quintet. Heartbeat, her first album as leader, comprises six original songs and four tracks of existing tunes to which Ms Jovovic has written lyrics.

Reviewers are always aware of the problem of listening to original songs as they often deserve two or three hearings for adequate assessment, but life and time is short, so initially just a few of the ten tracks stood out. The musicianship and singing was no problem, instrumentalists well up to the mark and Ms Jovovic has a pleasing though not exceptional voice. Witch Hunt (Wayne Shorter) is an adventurous arrangement, beginning with voices chanting to a bass riff, then along comes the Rhodes, lots of jazz-like chanting, sax solo, all ending with witches crying out.

The Countless Stars interested me as I like World Music, and this included Eastern European throat music, a very deep male voice doing a rumbling chant, a jazz tune with brass and drums, and a song about stars. Little Freddie Steps (tune by Claus Raible) was an entertaining song about drumming to free the planet; the CD ended well with Pools (Tune by Don Grolnick) a song about the meeting of river and ocean, with staccato stops and starts and a basic Latin rhythm, lots of music from the vibes, and ending with the sound of flowing water.

Other tracks were entitled Paladin; Heartbeat; Bubu's Song; Sweet Music; Time Is Here; Mad In Heaven. Not sure what to say about these tracks, definitely jazz but I was longing for 'hooks' to get a better grip on the music and lyrics. Perhaps it's simply a different style of jazz and lyrics,

Heartbeat was released on June 7 and is available from the usual sources.
Ann Alex

Jelena Jovovic (vocals); Vasil Hadzimanov (piano, Rhodes); Milan Nikolic (bass); Vladimir Kostadinovic (drums); Rastko Obradovic (tenor sax); Strahinja Banovic (trumpet, 3 tracks) also on various tracks: Milos Branisavljevic (vibes); Branco Trijic (guitar); Dusan Novakov (drums); Stjepko Gut (trumpet); Milos Nikolic (trumpet/trombone); Tom Fedja Franklin, Bojan Ivkovic (perc); Srdjan Markovic, Ivana Vukmirovic, Llija Mihailovic (backing vocals); Oleg Kireyev (Tatar throat singing)

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