Archive for the Anna Maria JOPEK Category

Pat METHENY & Anna Maria JOPEK – Upojenie 2008

Posted in Anna Maria JOPEK, JAZZ, Pat METHENY on December 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Pat METHENY & Anna Maria JOPEK – Upojenie 2008

Jazz

Despite having followed Pat Metheny’s career for thirty years, I was unprepared for this wonderful, sensual, deeply compelling album. New arrangements of some of Metheny’s most beautiful compositions are interwoven with exquisite traditional and original music by Anna Maria Jopek, whose ethereal voice is an instrument in itself. In this collection there is both great joy and great respect for the music heritage of Poland, and for Metheny’s rich and deeply moving jazz.
**
Anna Maria’s beautiful voice is marvelous throughout this album and the creative interpretation of Pat’s and PMG’s classic tunes make this a must have for any Pat Metheny fan. Pats’ playing on this album is spirited, uplifting and technically marvelous. As a whole the album flows and has nice balance between Pat’s and the PMG’s tunes reinvented with Polish lyrics and also traditional Polish tunes that are highlighted by Jopek’s incredible voice. Now that this album has been released through Pat’s and PMG record company, it is available in the US without having to pay for an import album from Poland. In short, this beautiful album is a must have! 3 incredible bonus tracks (1 studio/ 2 live) including 2 Pat solos on nylon string and synth guitar – Simply Awesome! Also a shorter tune with the soprano guitar. Highly recommended!
**
A cult favorite amongst Pat Metheny fans, Upojenie—originally released by “Anna Maria Jopek & Friends with Pat Metheny” in the singer’s native country of Poland by Warner Music in 2002—has been long overdue for greater international availability. The Nonesuch edition hasn’t been remastered (it doesn’t need it), but will still be of interest to Metheny fans for the inclusion of three bonus tracks (one studio, two live) that flesh it out to nearly 75 minutes.
In contrast to the same-day reissue of Metheny’s more spontaneous trio disc with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Roy Haynes, Question and Answer (Nonesuch, 2008), Upojenie’s heavy production work more closely resembles a Pat Metheny Group project, although Metheny has never had a singer with as lovely a voice as Jopek’s. Reworking material from Metheny’s own back catalog in addition to traditional Polish songs and originals by Jopek, co-producer Marcin Kydrynski and other Polish writers, it’s a soft, accessible album that spotlights Metheny’s innate lyricism and Jopek’s appealing tone. While others have put words to Metheny’s music, most notably Kurt Elling’s version of “Minuano” on Man in the Air (Blue Note, 2003), nobody has made it the focus of an album.

Sung in Polish, the meaning of the lyrics can only be gleaned from the liner notes, but what’s most important is Jopek’s voice. She’s a star at home who deserves to be better-known abroad, with her ability to deliver in a pure, unaffected and subtly nuanced fashion making “Przyplyw, Odplyw, Oddech Czasu,” based on Metheny’s tender “Tell Her You Saw Me,” from Secret Story (Nonesuch, 1992), all the more poignant. Metheny’s often-covered ballad “Farmer’s Trust” begins as a spare duet with Metheny on classical guitar, taking on a gentle, slightly bossa groove when bassist Darek Oleskiewicz and drummer Cezary Konrad enter, setting the stage for a beautifully constructed, melodic solo from pianist Leszek Mozdzer and a more dramatic build to the song’s conclusion.

Another Metheny favorite, “Are You Going With Me?” and a more radical, balladic reworking of “Me Jedyne Niebo”—”Another Life” from Speaking of Now (Warner Bros., 2002)—feature Metheny with his signature horn-like guitar synth, while “Zupelnie inna Ja”—Secret Story’s “Always and Forever”—adopts a folksier vibe with the baritone guitar Metheny used exclusively on One Quiet Night (Warner Bros., 2003).

In addition to the bonus tracks—the balladic Polish Christmas Carol “Lulajze Jezniu,” the spare duet “Na Calej Poloci Snieg” and considerably brighter album closer, “Szepty I Lzy”—like Metheny’s reissue of his classic Song X (1985, reissued by Nonesuch, 2005), the running order has been completely changed. There will be those who prefer the original sequence, but this version is improved by a certain seamless inevitability and narrative flow.

Upojenie will appeal to fans of Metheny’s more lushly produced Pat Metheny Group efforts, and bring overdue attention to Jopek—a singer of pristine clarity and deserving of far greater recognition.
By John Kelman.
**
How many Pat Metheny fans know “Tam. Gdzie Nie Siega Wzrok” is one of his most popular songs?

I’m willing to bet less than one fan in 1,000 recognizes the title, yet nearly any listener would immediately recognize it as one of most intriguing versions of “Follow Me” (from Imaginary Day ) he’s performed.

That’s the lure of Upojenie, an album recorded in Warsaw by the guitarist with a group of Polish musicians led by singer and keyboardist Anna Maria Jopek.

The revamped “Follow Me,” a pop-jazz instrumental in its original form, gets a lyrical interpretation here from Jopek’s lilting voice, backed by what apparently is a children’s chorus. The album is filled with familiar Metheny tunes that get similar treatment, along with collaborative efforts on Polish folk songs and several originals written by Jopek and her husband.

One listen to the lyrical world-beat rendition of the Metheny standard “Are You Going With Me” reveals him playing with an intensity and creative spark often missing from his studio albums with the Pat Metheny Group in recent years. His guitar synth solo during the second half of the song features the familiar runs of arpeggio-dominated riffs into the higher registers of his fretboard, yet there is a sense of extra energy infused by the different context. Much the same holds true for the other songs—familiar and strange, slow and upbeat—with Metheny performing on his now-usual variety of guitars ranging from acoustic to the 42-string Pikasso.

Adding vocals to pop-jazz is often a dubious prospect, turning what may or may not be a strong instrumental song into soft rock mush. For that reason it’s almost certainly a blessing for American listeners that the Polish lyrics on Upojenie are likely to be indecipherable. They apparently deal largely with matters of a darker nature, such as betrayal and sex as a metaphor for dying, but it matters little whether they are substantiate or silly. So does the fact that Jopek delivers a consistently soothing and pleasing effort, without ever achieving any performance landmarks. Her voice and those of others become part of the instrumentation and in such a context the consistency makes for a much better listen than any attempts by them to stretch vocal boundaries are likely to produce.
By Mark Dabbatini.
**
Pat Metheny- 42 String Pikasso guitar (1, 6), electric guitar (2, 8), baritone guitar (3, 9), classical guitar (3, 7, 13), soprano guitar (4, 14), Roland guitar synthesizer (5, 6, 12), keyboards (5, 10), acoustic guitars (6, 10, 15), guitar synth (17), soprano acoustic guitar (16, 17);
Anna Maria Jopek- Voices (1-10, 12, 13, 15-17), choirs (4), “soap opera” vocals (5), backing vocals (6, 8, 12, 15), Fender Rhodes (6);
Leszek Mozdzer- Piano (2, 4-8, 11, 13, 15, 17),
Pawel Bzim Zarecki- Keyboards (2, 4-6, 8, 12, 15, 17), percussion (4), loops (4, 5), keyboard programming (10); Bernard Maseli- Vibes (2);
Darek Oleszkiewicz- Acoustic bass (2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12-14);
Cezary Konrad- Drums (2, 4-8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17);
Piotr Nazaruk- Backing vocals (2), recorder (2), flute (4-6, 15), additional shaker (4), hammered dulcimer (5), additional male voices (15);
Wojeich Kowalewski- Shakers (2, 4-6, 15), temple blocks (2, 6), timpani (4), crotales (4, 6, 12), bongos (4, 6), tambourine (5), bells (5), vibraslap (5, 12), congas (6), claves (6);
Mateusz Pospieszalski- Keyboards (2), loops (2, 12), orchestral chart (2, 12), conductor (2, 12); Marek Pospieszalski- Turntables (2), classical guitar (8); String Ensemble: strings (2, 12);
Marcin Pospieszalski- Fender jazz bass (5, 6, 15), loops (15);
Henryk Miskiewicz: Soprano saxophone (8, 9);
Mino Cinelu- Udu drum (8), triangle (8), shakers (8, 12), crotales (8), conga (12), wavedrum (12), percussion (17);
Marek Napiorkowski- Classical guitar (8), strumming guitar (17);
Robert Kubiszyn- Bass (17).
**
01. Cichyzapada Zmrok (Here Comes The Ilent Dusk) 3:26
02. Mania Mienia (So May It Secretly Begin) 3:41
03. Biel (Whiteness) 3:22
04. Przyplyw, Odplyw, Oddech Czasu..(Tell Her You Saw Me) 4:44
05. Are You Going With Me?
06. Czarne Slowa (Black Words) 5:13
07. Lulajze Jezuniu (Polish Christmas Arol) 5:13
08. Upojenie (Ecstasy) 4:46
09. Zupelnie Inna Ja (Always And Forever) 3:55
10. Piosenka Dla Stasia (A Song  For Stas) 3:47
11. Letter From Home 2:48
12. Me Jedyne Niebo (Another Life) 3:17
13. By On Byl Tu (Farmer’s Trust) 6:56
14. Polskie Drogi (Polish Paths) 2:50
15. Tam, Gdzie Nie Siega Wzrok (Follow Me) 3:51
16. Na Calej Polaci Snieg (The Snow Falls All Over The Place) 1:47
17. Szepty I Lzy (Whispers And Tears) 4:47
**

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