Fjoralba Turku Quartet: Joshua: Release Information
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Release Date: 29.01.2010
TT Catalogue No: 4533
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.