Back in 2017 I had the privilege to review Talinka’s debut album which made quite an impression on me. In that review I stated that the album would help to convince people who find that jazz does not sit well with them. There is so much more on offer there. Having listened to their follow up album Rainbow Over Kolonaki, I believe I can still stand by that statement, as this album continues that fine quality.
Talinka’s music is a blending of jazz, folk, touches of tango along with Eastern influences to provide a smooth, interesting and enjoyable experience. Talinka’s notable vocalist and songwriter Tali Atzmon has this to say about their music: “in Rainbow Over Kolonaki we continue our musical adventure, we remain faithful to beauty and simplicity, exploring different colours, styles and genres. On a personal level my new compositions on this album are a fruit of my recent love affair with my ukulele.” That quote sums this album up so well and it might be difficult for me to expand on it, but Tali is so right, there is a beauty and simplicity to what is presented here, and it works on many levels.
The album is a mix of original compositions and some cover versions, three of which are traditional English folk songs, but presented here they are so much more. The original tracks sit well with the carefully and tastefully reimagined traditional tracks. The ten tracks average between four to five minutes in length with the longest at six and a half minutes, a cover of Frank Sinatra’s I’m a Fool to Want You.
The tracks are a mix of beautiful melodies, touching and heartfelt renditions presented with a lovely and gentle lounge jazz feel that is uplifting but also relaxing in equal measure. The quartet are supported by contributions from Ross Stanley on piano and Billy Pod on drums, who add further texture to the sound.
The title track opens with the sound of birdsong and church bells before the music begins with violin and piano taking the lead at first, supported by the accordion and double bass along with Tali’s soulful voice. They settle into an Eastern-influenced tango with a jazzy groove and a touch of swing thrown in. There is some great saxophone as it moves to a crescendo ending, all going to make a wonderful listening experience. A run of four cover versions follow; If I Should Lose You gives us a tasteful ‘less is more’ approach, which works well, followed by the first traditional English folk tune with a beautiful rendition of She Moves Through the Fair, containing some quality harmony vocals. The harmony vocals continue in a moving performance of Greensleeves. In between is the masterful version of I’m a Fool to Want You, of which, I am sure, Frank Sinatra would have been proud. The final two cover tracks appear near the end of the album, Scarborough Fair is marvellous and it must be up well there with all other previously recorded versions of this song, I’ll Be Seeing You closes the album beautifully.
The original compositions crank up the quality of the songs still further: the wonderful Perdita is followed by Time Runs Out, the lovely use of ukulele and accordion providing a smooth and gentle melody. When Apollo Smiles again features the excellent vocal harmonies with the ukulele and a rare guitar picking out the melody in another beautiful song.
The whole album is a mixture of beautiful melody, interesting, touching and heartfelt songs all of which create the right kind of emotional response in the listener. Presented in an almost minimal way which allows the instruments room to breathe and expand the sound without anyone dominating, all played with great skill. Coupled with Tali’s amazing vocals, this is an album you must hear.
[You can read Mel’s review of Talinka live in concert in Abergavenny HERE.]
01. Rainbow Over Kolonaki (5:02)
02. If I Should Lose You (5:11)
03. She Moved Through the Fair (5:21)
04. I’m a Fool to Want You (6:28)
05. Greensleeves (4:02)
06. Perdita (4:49)
07. Time Runs Out (4:26)
08. Scarborough Fair (5:05)
09. When Apollo Smiles (4:04)
10.I’ll Be Seeing You (4:27)
Total Time – 48:59
Tali Atzmon – Vocals, Ukulele
Jenny Bliss – Baroque Violin, Flute, Viola da Gamba, Vocals
Gilad Atzmon – Bass Clarinet, Soprano Sax, Accordion
Yaron Stavi – Double Bass
Ross Stanley – Piano
Billy Pod – Drums
Record Label: Fanfare Publications
Date of Release: 7th February 2020