Early Raves, as 21-Year Old Chanteuse Monika Borzym Delivers Jazz Vocals for the Next Generation; NYC Debut Concert Set for 11/28 at Rockwood
(Published: November 07, 2011)
"A mature presence and seasoned melancholy in dulcet tones that will have you quietly on the edge of your seat"
"This is an artist with a future"
Favorable Early Coverage Runs, as 21-Year Old Chanteuse Monika Borzym Delivers Jazz Vocals for the Next Generation and Reinterprets the Music of Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu, Abbey Lincoln and more, on ‘Girl Talk'
Digital Release Available Now in the U.S. via Sony Poland
NYC Debut Concert is Confirmed for 11/28 at Rockwood Music Hall
Favorable early reviews have greeted ‘Girl Talk', the debut CD by 21-year old vocalist Monika Borzym. On the new album, released digitally in the U.S. on 10/18 via Sony Poland, Borzym delivers a fearless take on an eclectic range of songs, and in doing so, delivers a jazz vocal album for a new generation of fans. Early reviews have buzzed that she has "a mature presence and seasoned melancholy in dulcet tones that will have you quietly on the edge of your seat," and have affirmed that Borzym is "an artist with a future." ‘Girl Talk' features the music of a diverse range of controversial, legendary and/or esteemed female artists, including Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Rachael Yamagata, Estelle, Regina Spektor, Erykah Badu, Abbey Lincoln, Feist, Joni Mitchell, Marisa Monte, Björk and Dido. Listen to audio samples, here: http://www.monikaborzym.c...
On November 28th, Borzym will make her New York concert debut with a 7pm performance at Rockwood Music Hall. Special Guest artists will be announced soon. Visit http://rockwoodmusichall.... for tickets and more information. As Produced by Matt Pierson and arranged by Gil Goldstein, ‘Girl Talk' introduces Polish-born Borzym to American audiences as a new voice in modern jazz.
BLOGCRITICS - CD REVIEW By Jack Goodstein 10/25/11
Some weeks ago when I was preparing to review a reissue of Chris Conner Sings Gentle Bossa Nova, the '50s jazz vocalist's attempt to stray from her roots to broaden her appeal to a more popular audience, I was somewhat conflicted. While her "smooth styling and crystalline tone" impressed me, I was disturbed by the idea that she had to play down those very vocal elements that had made her reputation as a jazz great; that she had to forsake the jazz standards that had been the heart of her repertoire for a set of pop crowd-pleasers. It did manage to produce a very pleasant (if safe) album, even if it didn't result in the popular success that was sought at the time. It suggested that somehow the market for her brand of jazz artistry was anemic at best and that jazz songstresses might well have become, if not an extinct breed, niche performers. If so, would there be new generations to carry on the tradition?
No need to worry: the likes of Diana Krall and Esperanza Spaulding may not be huge pop phenomena, but they have developed an audience, "the fit though few." Then along comes 21-year-old Polish singer Monika Borzym and her debut album Girl Talk, and it becomes possible to believe that there will always be artists who want to explore the creative possibilities of a piece of music, jazz standard or some more popular piece. Following in the traditions of Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen McRae, and Anita O'Day, Borzym says she loves playing with "melody, phrase, and rhythm. You're not likely to hear me sing the same song twice in the same way." Currently a student at the LA Music Academy, her new album, a fine debut, is a promising indication of many more good things to come. This is an artist with a future.
Wisely, at the suggestion of her producer Matt Pierson, Borzym decided not to go with a set of standards for this album. Only 20 at the time of its recording, she says in an interview on her website, "I wasn't going to sing the pieces of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan better than they did. He persuaded me to take on songs by contemporary artists and show them in our climate, filter them through our jazz sieve." They decided to go with all female artists after they noted the "strong range of female songwriters" in their initial playlist. "We were very keen to choose from among those, vocalists with plenty of charisma, those whose songs count in the contemporary music world." That decision makes for an interesting comparison with the choices Conner and Pat Williams made for her album. That said, Borzym and her arranger Gil Goldstein provide some truly interesting takes on the songs that they have selected. The closest thing to a standard on the album is Abbey Lincoln's "Down Here Below," and if there's one thing Borzym doesn't have to worry about, it's suffering by comparison. She delivers a fine performance. Of the more contemporary songs, highlights include a swinging version of Joni Mitchell's "Dry Cleaner from Des Moines" and Estelle's "American Boy" arranged as a bossa nova. Any Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good," beginning with of all things an accordion, is a winning opener for the album. Rachael Yamagata's "Even So" is a smoky ballad delivered with understated passion. Among others represented on the album are Regina Spektor ("Field Below"), Fiona Apple ("Extraordinary Machine") and Feist ("Gatekeeper").
Girl Talk is an auspicious debut. Monika Borzym is a talented singer who may not be Ella Fitzgerald (but then, who is?), but she sure as hell has the goods to compete on the same playing field as the best of the jazz singers of past years. It will be interesting to see how she develops that talent.
Also ran via Seattle Post-Intelligencer: http://www.seattlepi.com/...
WILDYSWORLD - 4-star CD review
By Wildy Haskell October 30, 2011
2011, Sony Music
Monika Borzym's heroes have always been trumpeters: Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Terrence Blanchard were her gateway into Jazz. While there, Borzym was captivated by the divergent voices and styles of performers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae. The Poland-born crooner studied in the United States at Miami's Frost School of Music, furthering her love and knowledge of jazz and classical forms under teachers such as Lisanne Lyons, Larry Lapin, Ira Sullivan and Shelly Berg. During her time at Frost, Borzym met guest lecturer Matt Pierson (Joshua Redman, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny), who is Borzym's primary collaborator on her debut album, Girl Talk.
Borzym opens with a cover of Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm No Good", showing off a sweet and sultry voice that would be right at home in a 1930's gin joint. Monika Borzym delivers crisp lines with a polished presence that belies her 19 years, and her instrumental accompaniment is first class. "Extraordinary Machine" finds Borzym taking on a manic, talk-sing lyrical barrage in conjunction with a minimalist arrangement. The result is an intriguing tune that will leave you dizzy yet satisfied. "Even So" stands out from a string of exceptional performances, with Borzym imparting a mature presence and seasoned melancholy in dulcet tones that will have you quietly on the edge of your seat.
The opening cadence of "American Boy" (Estelle) carries vague suggestions of Jobim's "Girl From Ipanema". This is no retread, however, as Borzym launches into a modern jazz tune that remembers its classic heritage. Borzym digs into a 1970's singer/songwriter pastiche for "Field Below", which bears a vague musical resemblance to Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale". The song is elegant and refined, with a gorgeous melody, and Borzym walks it home like a pro. "Appletree" (Erykah Badu) shows a more modern, soulful jazz sound. It feels as Borzym is a bit rushed by the arrangement here, but it all works out well in the end. "Down Here Below" (Abbey Lincoln) is a gorgeous, blue recitative that drips with regret. Borzym's voice is never lovelier, taking on a reserved air that is full of an eloquent and desolate beauty. "Gatekeeper" (Feist) is cut from similar cloth, but woven with more subtlety.
Borzym goes Vegas on "Dry Cleaner From Des Moines", a frenetic little tune that borders on the vestiges of bebop. "Abololo" (Marisa Monte) slows things down, with a tentative piano leading the way for Borzym's lush vocal line. "Possibly Maybe" (Bjork) is well intended, but becomes something of an undirected mess in spite of Borzym's attempts to save it. Girl Talk closes on a positive note with an unconventional cover of Pink's "Thank You" that is true to the original but puts Borzym's distinctive stamp on the song.
Monika Borzym has a captivating voice, and a presence that's bewildering in one so young. This is the sort of album you simply can't put down; Borzym's call is like that of a gentle Siren, relentlessly pulling you in. Girl Talk is one introduction you won't soon forget, as Borzym appears poised to become one of the next big names in vocal jazz.
Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5
More about Monika Borzym:
Monika Borzym discovered jazz at an early age, and is a natural musician, but her upbringing could have sent her in many different directions, thankfully she took a more studied path. "My dad listens to new romantic stuff, Tears For Fears, Toto, there was never Miles Davis playing in my house. My mum listened to Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston mostly, I sang along at elementary school, luckily they never pushed me to do Idol like stuff."
Monika's influences, once she moved on from Whitney, include the obvious greats, and some lesser-known artists. "It all started with Ella Fitzgerald, she was my first mistress and my greatest one. Then I got fascinated with Carmen McRae, who was more obscure, and far more intense when it comes to the lyrics. I also find great inspiration in Anita O'Day, and absolutely in Miles Davis; I generally love the trumpeters, Chet Baker, Terence Blanchard, I worship the ground they walk upon. I adore Bill Evans. Also, I've been in love with Radiohead since my lower secondary school."
In 2008, following an intense Eastern European schooling in all aspects of classical and jazz theory, composition and performance, Monika started spending time in the states, and eventually received a scholarship from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. While there she studied under numerous world-renowned jazz musicians, including Lisanne Lyons, Larry Lapin, Dante Luciani, Greg Gisbert, Chuck Bergeron, Ira Sullivan, and Shelly Berg.
Borzym's experiences in the sunshine state also resulted in a chance meeting with the man who would play an enormous role in the development of her musical career. Monika explains, "I met Matt Pierson for the first time when I was studying in Miami; he came to us to deliver a series of lectures about the music business. Matt is a person who I find important to me personally, and a giant in the world of jazz. He has discovered many talents and released plenty of records with Joshua Redman, Brad Meldhau, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny. A very close friend of mine Dante Luciani told me there would be a jam session in the evening, and that Pierson was planning to come. So I went there to sing and to get to know Matt. He liked my performance very much, we started to chat, made friends, and later, once I had returned to Poland, we kept in touch on Facebook. At that time we had already started considering recording together."
Borzym is currently enrolled at the LA Music Academy where she studies under the cream of the crop of U.S. music instructors including Tierney Sutton, Dorian Holley, Nikhil Korula and Tony Inzalaco. LA Music Academy College of Music is regarded as one of the premiere music schools in the world and its faculty is comprised of award winning professional musicians who impart practical real-world teachings along side traditional theoretical studies. She looks forward to taking a break from her studies to perform in support of Girl Talk.
MONIKA BORZYM - GIRL TALK - Credits:
You Know I'm No Good / (Amy Winehouse)
Extraordinary Machine / (Fiona Apple)
Even So / (Rachael Yamagata)
American Boy / (Estelle)
Field Below / (Regina Spektor)
Appletree / (Erykah Badu)
Down Here Below / (Abbey Lincoln)
Gatekeeper / (Feist)
Dry Cleaner from Des Moines / (Mingus/Joni Mitchell)
Abololo / (Marisa Monte)
Possibly Maybe / (Björk)
Thank You / (Dido)
Monika Borzym - vocals
Gil Goldstein - piano, arranger
Aaron Parks - piano, Fender Rhodes, harmonium, arranger
Steve Cardenas - guitar
Larry Grenadier - bass
Eric Harland - drums
Bashiri Johnson, Rogerio Boccato - percussion
Greg Gisbert - trumpet
Mike Davis - trombone
Seamus Blake - tenor saxophone
Charles Pillow - bass clarinet
Aaron Heick - alto flute, bass flute
Lois Martin - viola
Jody Redhage - cello
Produced by Matt Pierson
More Information: http://www.monikaborzym.com