Talinka — Rainbow over Kolonaki
(Moonjune Fanfare FF1902, 2020, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-04-23
When we covered Talinka’s first release a few years back, it was an especially strong debut with a warm jazzy sound centered around Tali Atzmon’s powerful and expressive voice. Rainbow over Kolonaki is the group’s second offering, and the sound remains intact, offering a combination of jazz, eastern European folky sound, and some classical elements, applied to a set of ten cuts that combines about half jazz standards and traditionals with half original pieces. The core band remains the same: Tali sings lead and plays ukulele, her husband Gilad Atzmon is an internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist, here playing all saxes, clarinet, bass clarinet, accordion, and guitar. Double bassist Yaron Stavi handles the bottom end throughout, and Jenny Bliss Bennett plays violin, viola da gamba, and provides harmony vocals. And do Tali and Jenny ever sound wonderful together! One listen to their cover of the traditional “She Moved through the Fair” will certainly convince the listener as they deliver beautiful harmonies intertwined with Gilad’s saxes. Likewise on “Scarborough Fair,” their dreamy vocals and backing harmonies blend beautifully with Gilad’s accordion, bringing the piece up to a whole new level, then Bennett’s violin joins in for a majestic instrumental interlude. The opening title track is an original combining an old world waltz feel with beautiful melodic passages and a showcase for Tali’s intoxicating voice, shifting moods and colors over its five minute duration. “Perdita” and “When Apollo Smiles” are both Tali Atzmon originals, the former offering a gentle melodic counterpoint between her voice and Gilad’s bass clarinet, later jumping into a rollicking dance with a distinct mediterranean feel, and the latter features Tali’s voice accompanied by her uke with Bennett’s harmonies and other instruments offering warm accompaniment; both tunes illustrate Tali’s skills as a composer. There are a number of jazz standards and covers here that seem to fit right in with the rest of the repertoire, including the closer “I’ll Be Seeing You” and Sinatra’s “I’m a Fool to Want You,” among others, Tali’s powerful voice making them her own. This is an outstanding second effort that easily surpassed Talinka’s debut.
Related artist(s): Talinka
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