Fjoralba Turku Quartet: Serene: Presscuts
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Release Date: 13.01.2012
TT Catalogue No: 4563
"Jazz artist makes North American debut in Edmonton
Fjoralba Turku takes to the Yardbird stage Friday
Albanian-born, German-based jazz singer Fjoralba Turku makes her North American debut at the Yardbird Suite Friday.
EDMONTON - As jazz evolves into its second century, more international artists are bringing their unique gifts to the music.
Get ready for Fjoralba Turku, a Munich singer with a lithe sound and fearless creative drive who makes her North American debut here Friday when the Yardbird reopens after its holiday break.
Jazz was a departure from the classical and folk music she grew up with in her native Albania and later, Germany.
“Jazz is so alive,” she says. “It happens in the moment and every time you play a song, it can be something else. I’ve found a way to bring together my interests in telling stories, in literature, theatre and singing. It has always been fascinating for me to hear someone recompose a song as they improvise on it.”
Turku, just 28, has real admiration for the standards repertoire and jazz singers like Billie Holiday, Cassandra Wilson and Esperanza Spalding. Still, she wants
to take the music somewhere new.
“There are so many great singers doing standards, I thought I should take advantage of my roots. I’m not trying to be a second Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday, something I could never be. I’ve put my interest in jazz with the music I grew up with to build something of my own.”
You can hear that in material from her recent second disc Serene, in the tinge of mystery that wafts off the eastern melodic changes. But she also hits a very pleasing, unadorned sound. It’s entrancing stuff and very accessible.
As a child, Turku was exposed to a mix of classical folk music. Her father was a classical violinist who also improvised on folk material and she followed the example of several family musicians to take up violin herself for fun. It wasn’t until she was 20 and studying literature in Paris that she came to hear jazz and to explore vocal lessons.
Back in Munich, she enrolled in the conservatory to study jazz. In her first year she wound up recording with American saxophonist Charlie Mariano as part of a world music crossover group. She did two albums with American guitarist Geoff Goodman, then after meeting her chief mentor bassist Paolo Cardoso, she released her solo debut Joshua in 2010.
The wider scope of Serene touches on elements of her Albanian folk roots and more original songs. Her friend Cardoso helped arrange and produce both albums and he plays bass in the quartet she’s bringing with her for dates in Canada and the U.S., along with pianist Simon Seidl and drummer Fabian Rosch.
Fjoralba Turku Quartet plays the Yardbird Suite (102nd Street at 86th Ave.) Friday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 for members, $24 for guests, in advance from Ticketmaster or at the door."
by RogerLevesquel, January 18, 2012
"More than just a smile: Fjoralba Turku. – For a start, she's a great singer. But what's really special is the personal timbre in her vocal interpretations. Listen to "Serene" and you'll see what I mean: Her velvety tone and compelling narrative immediately have you convinced she's singing for you and you alone. And so she weaves her tales with a smile you can hear in her music – expertly supported by bassist Paulo Cardoso and saxophonist Florian Trübsbach."
Audio, Ralf Dombrowski, 2/2012
(...) Her second CD "Serene" has turned out to be simply beautiful. Partly, this is because the whole ensemble does not seem to be trying for a particular sound – they're just making music. And they obviously feel quite relaxed about it too. The album includes two sensitive interpretations of poems by Lord Byron and three emotional Albanian songs, including the traditional "Lulzoj Fusha", a lament to a son lost in battle. The songs written and arranged together with bassist Paulo Cardoso on the other hand, are a colorful joyride through all kinds of emotions. Fjoralba Turku's album is a musical journey through an impressive range of variations, carried and sustained by her gentle, warm vocals."
Jazzthetik, Christoph Giese, 1/2012
"It's two years ago now that we first had
the pleasure of sampling this young newcomer's charming mixture of Albanian folk
and jazz. And already, Fjoralba Turku's debut album "Joshua" has become
one of the crown jewels in the collection of "Traumton", her Berlin
label. So this, then, is her follow-up, with the pure and simple title "Serene".
And despite a complete change of musicians (...), she has not left the path she
so successfully walked upon with her first CD. And a good thing too, since it's
a theme that still has enormous potential for new variations, as she has quite
confidently proved in her ten new songs. Listening to Fjoralba Turku with her
new saxophone/clarinet player Florian Trübsbach is somewhat like the musical
equivalent of watching a couple of acrobats perform their most breathtaking
leaps. This is where it becomes really clear what a big step forward this young
has taken. And yet again, it's the exciting and well-calculated mix of English
and Albanian, of international jazz and exotic folklore that has enabled this
young Munich artist to step with complete ease and assurance into the Champions
League of sophisticated jazz musicians, a feat that seems at first glance well
beyond her years. Moreover, she has proved an accomplished composer and lyric
writer with the ability to put even the most sophisticated poetry to music.
Turku's favorite poet Lord Byron is probably even now smiling happily in his
"What a beginning! What a voice! It reaches
inside you to pluck your innermost strings – which in turn seem to be voiced
by the double bass, her only accompaniment. "Living, Just Living",
on the other hand, is a dark promise and appropriate introduction to Fjoralba
Turku's emotional world: sometimes buoyant, sometimes melancholy.
In the short space of 1 1/2 years since her astounding debut "Joshua",
the Albanian-born singer's second CD "Serene" shows how much she has
gained in stature and maturity. Her alto vocals seem to hover lightly over her
bewitching melodies, (...), taking her audience on a breathtaking flight from
the most profound depths to exhilarating heights. Take "Joyfully" for
example. The name says it all, really: it's a joyful, almost exuberant, wild
steeplechase through uneven meters. "Marrakech", on the other hand,
slides easily into free improvisation until Fjoralba Turku softly calls her quintet
back into line. The unpronounceable "Kno Mi Qyqe Se Po Vjen Behari" sounds
almost shamanic, until it, too, gets completely carried away by pure joie de
vivre. But Turku's development is by no means limited to her voice alone; she's
ventured far into the realm of songwriting, too. About half the lyrics on her
new album are her own or were written in cooperation with others. All of this
is enhanced and supported perfectly by her excellent pick of musicians: Florian
Trübsbach on saxophone, Tal Balshai on Piano, Jonas Burgwinkel on drums
and Paulo Cardoso (who is also responsible for most of the arrangements) on
bass. They are so perfect together that you might think they have been playing
The CD finally ends as it began, with that voice, accompanied only by the double
bass. Pervasive and dark, yet so full of life (...) And finally... silence.
Hold onto that remote control and keep pressing "Play". Again and
again. What a remarkable CD!"
"Serenity is the Key
In 2010, Albanian-born Fjoralba Turku made us stop and listen with her first
album "Joshua" – it's not often that a young newcomer can convince
her audience with so much mature sophistication.
Her second album proves that the enthusiastic acclaim for her debut 1 1/2 years
ago really wasn't over the top. Because she's done it again: the vocals on
her ten new tracks are impressively mature, playing up and down the entire
of hues and tones from gentle and vulnerable to playful and dreamy right up
to serious and forceful.
The magic's in the mixture of folk elements from her Albanian roots and jazzy
arrangements or sometimes even with a degree of vocal precision that's almost
classical. "Kno Mi Qyqe Se Po Vjen Behari", for example, is a 7 1/2
minute epic, a haunting, many-hued musical poem. Sometimes there are also glimpses
of Brazilian influence – probably thanks to Fjoralba Turku's bassist, arranger
and partner Paolo Cardoso; "Marrakech" is a nice example. Drummer Jonas
Burgwinkel and pianist Tal Balshai are the two other pillars of Turku's band,
while Florian Trübsbach embroiders her music with his saxophone, clarinet
and flute solos.
"Serene" - the album title says it all. What more can I say?""
Musikwoche, 1.11.2012/ Manfred Gillig-Degrave
(TM) After thrilling reviewers and audiences alike in 2010 with her debut album "Joshua",
here she is again – clear the stage please for Albanian singer Fjoralba
Turku and her second CD "Serene". By the time you get to the captivating
track "Joyfully", you will be completely in the thrall of her unpretentiously
fine jazz vocals in English and her native Albanian. (...)
And incidentally, it's not just the lyrics – in compositions like "Joyfully" (which
is written in 7/8 time) you will see her Albanian spirit flashing a fin too.
And where would a singer be without the reliable style of her band? First and
foremost amongst her musicians, of course, is songwriter and arranger Paulo Cardoso
(bass), but also Florian Trübsbach (saxophone, clarinet and flute) and Jonas
Burgwinkel (drums). What is particularly striking about "Serene" is
its sheer emotional bandwidth, ranging from exuberance to disconsolate sorrow.
Fjoralba Turku has even brought the scat back to the German vocal scene."