Talinka is a band project by Israeli born vocalist, songwriter and actress Tali Atzmon, married to noted jazz instrumentalist and composer Gilad Atzmon who is also part of this quartet. The remaining places are taken up by Jenny Bliss Bennett and Yaron Stavi, each member is distinguished within their own field, making it a sort of ‘dream team’ if you like.
They describe their music as, “…a music loving adventure. For us, the love of music extends beyond style and genre. We blend folk, early music, jazz, tango and free improvisation”. That statement is a perfect description as it is clear from the first listen that this is an album created by people with a love for what they do. It would be difficult to categorise their sound and would be unfair to do so, they have created a wonderful fusion of the above mentioned styles with added touches of Middle Eastern elements.
Tali is an amazingly soulful jazz singer, whose voice captivates while the music weaves a magical spell on the listener, drawing you in; almost warm, gentle and at times haunting. They have used an excellent collection of instruments to enhance their sound, from viola de gamba, violin, bass clarinet to soprano saxophone, along with some great piano and double bass work. Each instrument provides lovely textures, just when needed, to enhance the songs. The album is full of delicate touches, wonderful melodies and interesting changes, which always hold your attention.
There are ten tracks; seven original compositions with three cover versions, two of which are the jazz standards You Don’t Know What Love Is and Don’t Explain, previously covered by both Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. The band adds their own feel to both of these tracks to produce excellent renditions.
Things start off with the title track, a gentle stroll with some lovely jazz piano accompanied by Tali’s voice being used as an instrument, creating some great improv sounds. The double bass provides a subtle rhythm; there is also some lovely sax and clarinet work here. Losing Vision was written by Tali in response to the Syrian refuge crisis; a beautiful song, achingly heartfelt which packs an emotional punch (no matter on your personal views on this subject). Here Jenny’s contribution on the bowed violin de gamba stands out, with fine bass clarinet contributions too, Tali singing the lines, “People dream of leaving and people dream of loving”, creating a small message of hope in what could have come over as a solely melancholic song.
Invitation, penned by Polish composer Bronisław Kaper, begins with an incessant double bass groove, as the piece is given a Middle Eastern flavour at times, before the accordion comes in to change the focus to more of a Tango feel. All this is weaving around the basic bass groove, Tali’s vocals here are different having, and the best way I can describe it, a Jazzy Zappa style of delivery, and it works. Four 2 Tango does what it says, the accordion very prominent giving a real Tango feel, but it is on this track that the band get to stretch themselves, lending the song a great improv feel. Tali’s voice is again used like an instrument, matching the violin in a near duel, and towards the end Jenny puts in some very deep, forceful sounds with the viola de gamba before it is over all too soon.
The last couple of tracks are beautifully paced, When You’re Gone has a melancholic feel with the accordion giving those Tango touches again. Jenny and Yaron combine so well, having a great connection which lifts the song to another level. The closing Every Now and Then is full of melody with a subtle Middle Eastern influence.
This will undoubtedly be classed as a jazz album, but there is so much more here, wonderfully blending these different styles. This, I believe, could be an album that might convince people who find that Jazz does not sit well with them to give it a try. You may find it has more to offer, pushing boundaries to create new and interesting sounds.
Talinka was recorded by Ben Lamdin at The Fish Factory Studio London in November 2016, produced and mixed by Gilad Atzmon in London January 2017, and finally mastered by Andrew Tulloch at The Blue Studio. The album is available on CD and download, go listen and hopefully buy it, I don’t think you will be disappointed; I have enjoyed every minute of it.
01. Talinka (4:27)
02. Losing Vision (5:15)
03. Baroque Bottom (2:45)
04. Don’t Explain (5:52)
05. Invitation (6:02)
06. Four 2 Tango (6:02)
07. Heimat (1:40)
08. You Don’t Know What Love Is (7:04)
09. When You’re Gone (5:56)
10. Every Now and Then (3:51)
Total Time – 48:54
Tali Atzmon – Vocals
Jenny Bliss Bennett – Viola da Gamba, Violin, Flute, Vocals
Gilad Atzmon – Bass Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Accordion
Yaron Stavi – Double Bass
Frank Harrison – Piano
Enzo Zirelli – Percussion
Record Label: Moon June Records/Fanfare Records
Date of Release: 23rd June 2017