- 01 – Black Nile
- 02 – Naima
- 03 – Tenderly
- 04 – Lela
- 05 – Coralie
- 05.2 – Coralie solo
- 06 – There at the Turnpike
- 07 – Basin Street Blues
- 08 – Para Ti
- 09 – I’m gonna leave you
- 10 – Lascia Ch’io Pianga
ALICE ZAWADZKI & DAN WHIELDON – LELA
“Beguiling, unorthodox tunes and pure vocals” – The Independent
“Whieldon is particularly imaginative… a dazzling contribution” – Jazz UK
Celebrated jazz singer Alice Zawadzki and pianist Dan Whieldon have a powerful musical affinity which is palpable throughout this CD. Alice describes their connection as “some kind of telepathy”, a synchronicity which brings stunning musical results.
This collection of songs pay tribute to the styles which have influenced these outstanding musicians. Jazz is at the heart of the disc, but there are nods to classical and continental folk styles as well. The prevailing mood is one of serenity or, in Alice’s words, “heartfelt simplicity”, accentuated by the creation of a spacious sonority combined with the luminosity of Dan Whieldon’s piano playing. Alice has said that she wishes “that anyone listening to our music will be able to take a moment out of their busy life to breathe, and to ebb and flow with us.”
Regularly featured on BBC Radios 2 and 3, Alice Zawadzki has garnered critical acclaim for her versatile and distinctive voice. Both she and Dan Whieldon are classically trained, and have worked with an array of jazz stars, building up an impressive reputation on the international jazz scene. Together they have performed at events from the Manchester International Festival to the Taipei International Jazz Festival.
This CD invites listeners to share the musical intimacy of this exceptional creative partnership. As Alice says: “Some of the first songs I ever learned are on here, and it feels like going home.”
Booklet in English, French and German.
Program notes by … .
“Zawadzki’s delicate intonation and boppish nimbleness and Whieldon’s limpid swing… Zawadzki’s sound can be earthy as well as pristine… the musicality of these two glows through.”
The Guardian - John Fordham / 14 January 2016
“Vocalist Alice Zawadzki has been steadily fulfilling the promise of her striking recorded debut on her own account and with a variety of creative UK newcomers, including Phil Meadows and drummer/composer Corrie Dick in recent times. This wide-ranging collection features her congenial partnership with pianist Dan Whieldon, on songs by Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane and Nina Simone, Galician writer Castelao, Handel and more. Zawadzki’s delicate intonation and boppish nimbleness and Whieldon’s limpid swing join on Shorter’s Black Nile, the Coltrane classic Naima has a heartfelt simplicity intensified by its haunting closing ascent, the liltingly graceful Spanish song of the title track is warmed by the classical clarinet of Whieldon’s wife Rosa Campos Fernandez. Nina Simone’s I’m Gonna Leave You shows Zawadzki’s sound can be earthy as well as pristine, and Handel’s Lascia Ch’io Pianga is delivered respectfully and meticulously straight. Production values are a little casual (a throat-clearing stays in on Basin Street Blues), but the musicality of these two glows through.”
“Whieldon provides extremely sympathetic accompaniment (with a great sense of time) to Zawadzki’s marvelously expressive, sometimes soulful, but nicely restrained vocals…”
Jazz Journal - Dave Jones / 16 May 2015
“This recording has taken nearly three years to reach us, but it was worth the wait. I suspect the delay might be something to do with the fact that they chose a route for release via a record company that three years ago initially embarked on a new way of doing classical; putting the artists in charge in a democratic, artist-controlled, non-proﬁt cooperative, promoting new artists and fresh repertoire, where music for release is judged on outstanding musicality rather than image, publicity or background. This seems like a refreshing approach, particularly now that they’re also applying it to jazz, including this excellent album.
The source material is a mixture of tunes by e.g. Shorter, Coltrane, Pieranunzi, Nina Simone, Handel and Whieldon, with Zawadzki providing lyrics for tunes previously without words, and contributors Linx and Bracho providing lyrics for Whieldon’s tunes. The best tracks arrive early on, where they interpret tunes by Shorter and Coltrane that wouldn’t often be associated with vocals, but the duo sound completely at ease with each other throughout, and they’re joined on two tracks by clarinettist Rosa Campos Fernandez, providing some welcome textural variety.
Whieldon provides extremely sympathetic accompaniment (with a great sense of time) to Zawadzki’s marvelously expressive, sometimes soulful, but nicely restrained vocals, and I particularly liked his reharmonisation of the chord changes for the head on Black Nile, helping to make it suit the duo context. I’d also have liked to hear a little more variety in terms of material and tempo in the middle section of the album, but that’s a personal opinion, and in a duo context the roof isn’t really likely to be raised.”
“Catholic song selection from Handel to Coltrane, and Carl Raven’s superbly intimate, ringingly atmospheric recording confirm Zawadzki’s fine vocal talent… she’s paired here with pianist Whieldon, a regular, intuitive collaborator. Zawadzki’s also a multi-lingual lyricist, composer and pianist, adding her own words to Coltrane’s ‘Naima’, her vocal floating high, sinking with heartbroken weight, and finishing with piercing power.”
JazzWise Magazine - Nick Hasted / April 2016
“Catholic song selection from Handel to Coltrane, and Carl Raven’s superbly intimate, ringingly atmospheric recording confirm Zawadzki’s fine vocal talent. Following her long-gestating solo debut China Lane, she’s paired here with pianist Whieldon, a regular, intuitive collaborator. Zawadzki’s also a multi-lingual lyricist, composer and pianist, adding her own words to Coltrane’s ‘Naima’, her vocal floating high, sinking with heartbroken weight, and finishing with piercing power. The Spanish-language title track, one of two songs where Whiedon’s wife, clarinettist Rosa Campos Fernandez, joins the duo, is a shiveringly intense, inevitably sad romance, the music all stalking, building drama. Whieldon, pensive, minimal and sometimes verging on stiff, finds a delicately rolling groove on ‘Down On The Turnpike’, and brief echoes of stride elsewhere. Mentored by New Orleans singer Lillian Boutté as a teenager, Zawadzki takes ‘Basin Street Blues’ pretty trad, with the husky timbre to convince on this and Wayne Shorter’s ancestral, Afrocentric ‘Black Nile’. She’s best on Nina Simone’s toughly romantic kiss-off ‘I’m Gonna Leave You’, and the very different soulfulness of Handel's ‘Lascia Ch’io Pianga’, a classical performance marked by ghostly howls and cries.”
“The Alice Zawadzki duo album was recorded at around the same time as her Whirlwind Release for larger forces, China Lane, and includes a bewitching version of Nina Simone/ Rudy Stevenson I’m Gonna Leave You.”
London Jazz / July 2015
“The Alice Zawadzki duo album was recorded at around the same time as her Whirlwind Release for larger forces, China Lane, and includes a bewitching version of Nina Simone/ Rudy Stevenson I'm Gonna Leave You.”