Hibla Gerzmava: Opera Jazz Blues

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This CD is a programme of work it probably never crossed your mind you’d need: soprano Gerzmava sings classical, jazz and blues. This doesn’t mean she stops being a soprano and sings jazz in husky tones, it means you get jazz/blues (and classical) piano accompanying what is mostly operatic singing.

Track one is a delicate rendition of a piece from La Traviata while track two sees the piano belting out the blues while Gerzmava gives it both lungs as she sings a work by Mikhail Glinka. There’s a nice piano solo before Gerzmava closes with an “Oh yeah!” That “Oh yeah!” sums up the album really; it shouldn’t work, but it does.

Elsewhere there’s some Snow White style vocal sparring with the piano, polite scat singing and a restrained double bass solo.

Gerzmava and the Daniel Kramer Trio were apparently inspired to create a jazz/classical experiment a few years ago, and took more than a year to select the repertoire, discuss details and make arrangements. The result is a programme of contrasts that’s in turn moving, amusing and lively. It’s polite, but unexpectedly enjoyable.

Out now on Melodiya, MELCD1002466.

Buy it here. Oh yeah.

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