Rozina Patkai is a jazz singer, songwriter and visual artist based in Budapest, Hungary. This is her third release, a special one in which she sets the poems of world-famous artists to music. Herein are poems by Nathaniel Barratt (“Lorelei”), T.S. Eliot (“Song”), William Blake (“Laughing Song’), Jane Tyson Clement (“Sea Song’), Fernando Pessoa (Poe-Me As Maos Nos Ombros”), Federico Garcia Lorca (Lagas de Amor”), Paul Verlaine (Chanson D’Autumne”) and others that Patkai adapted to creative jazz. The blend of instruments produces a cool, soothing vibe that perfectly compliments Patkai’s soft, comforting vocals. Perhaps the second star, if you will, is Janos Aved on tenor, soprano, and occasionally piano. His saxophone tone is rather stunning, especially on soprano. Also aboard are acoustic guitarist Istvan Toth Jr., cellist Ditta Rohmann, percussionist Andras Des and Maron Fenyesi on synth bass for melodic, atmospheric support.
Patkai’s two previous releases focused on Brazilian music, and you can hear traces of that here as well, with the backing percussion and Patkai’s natural rhythmic vocal phrasing. The joyful title track with its engaging rhythms kicks it off segueing into an romantic melody of “Lorelei,” the first instance of Aved’s keening soprano. “Sea Song” is a vehicle for cellist Rohmann and the wonderful Wayne Shorter-like tone of Aved’s soprano. The balls “Szerelem” showcases the acoustic guitar. “Llagas de Amor” is a heartbreaking piece with ample solo opportunities. Aved’s takes a dazzling soprano solo that’s akin to clarinet on “A Ra.”
Patkai is a unique and emerging voice in jazz. She has been a bandleader since 2011 while also working as a freelance composer. Her first bossa nova-oriented albums were award winners in the Independent Music Awards. She is also involved and working on a an electronic music project Minka that she began in 2016 as student of Intermedia Art at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.
At first this may seem like a very quiet, almost too atmospheric album but once you focus on the interplay of instruments, her soothing vocals, and the lyrical, deep-toned saxophone playing, you will likely be hooked like this writer was.
- Jim Hynes