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   Fjoralba Turku Quartet: Joshua: Release Information

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Release Date: 29.01.2010
EAN/UPC: 705304453322
TT Catalogue No: 4533
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Fjoralba Turku Quartet - Joshua

It has always been an essential part of jazz to take a tradition and turn it into something new and personal. This especially holds true in today’s environment where “anything goes” stylistically: jazz is not so much defined by what is played, but by who plays it. Few musicians can lay claim to a truly personal style. Fjoralba Turku can.
In part this is due to her past. Fjoralba was born in Albania. At the age of nine, she was fetched in a risky undertaking by her parents, who had already emigrated to Munich.
She grew up with absolutely nothing and endured a long period of insecurity not knowing what her residency status was. Both these factors have influenced Fjoralba to date - and, belying her gentle appearance, they also shaped the unexpected strength, emotional depth and personal tone of her music. Fjoralba Turku comes from a musical family, yet the gates were initially closed on this career choice. Instead she studied drama and acting. It was during a study semester in Paris that she had a life-changing encounter with the singer Carole Simone: Turku’s slumbering talent, singing, awoke. Now things moved quickly: in 2007 Turku was accepted into the Munich Conservatory of Music, and in the same year guitarist Geoff Goodman invited her to join his world music band “Tabla & Strings”. Today it is no longer possible to imagine the band without her. A short time later “Tabla & Strings” recorded a CD with saxophonist Charlie Mariano; and so the novice Turku stood side by side with jazz legend Mariano for two days – a further formative encounter. Already in Tabla & Strings” she introduced an element – the Albanian contribution to jazz, as it were – that plays the leading role on Fjoralba’s debut album “Joshua” (named for her young son). It’s not just the Albanian folksongs, with their often melancholy lyrics which to our ears seem so full of wordplay, that Turku sets in a new context; the exotic rhythms and suspended atmosphere make her songs unmistakeable. Fjoralba’s great strength is her ability to tell stories in her own unimitable way, whether they are traditional Albanian love songs such as “Sa Duhemi Un E Ti”, standards like “Lazy Afternoon”, lyrics she has written, for instance, to Mal Waldrons’s “Seagulls of Kristianssund”, or original compositions such as “Beautiful Man”. Turku’s narrative breath has such a far reach that the album itself rounds off into story-form.
The decisive factor behind her gentle and at the same time strong, fluid singing style with its unusual intervallic leaps is that her father and brother are both violinists, and that she initially learned to play violin. It is an instrument with a distinctive sound. For her quartet, Fjoralba has found musical companions who are ideally attuned to her. Leading the way is pianist and composer Andrea Hermenau, who is responsible for some of the arrangements – she also belongs to the short list of up and coming young jazz hopefuls, as does bassist Benny Schäfer, along with the empathetic, melodic young drummer Johannes Jahn. And without question, after the recording of “Joshua” – this isn’t just a showcase for young talent; rather, this is the mark of a unique personal signature – that of Fjoralba Turku.

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