Talinka are international jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, vocalists Tali Atzmon and Jenny Bliss with Yaron Stavi on Bass. Together they whip up an aromatic, heady mix of the kind of vocal jazz you might hear in a fever dream sequence filmed in a North African Cafe. This is exotic otherworldly music with one foot in 50s small band jazz, one in slightly hazy folk rock and a toe in classical music. It is all about atmosphere, drawing pictures and conjuring a smile in the listener.
"Rainbow over Kolonaki" opening with bird song and atmospheric Church bells like early 70s Pink Floyd, resolves into saucy European jazz with Jenny Bliss Bennett's rich violin and a chorus of reed instruments from Gilad Atzmon. Gilad is a master on the saxophone, his playing and Tali's warm vocals recall 70s Gong, not the stoned ramblings of Daevid Allen, but the hypnotic jazz fusion they did so well. "If I Should Lose You" a jazz standard is given a stripped back reading, Tali's vocal accompanied by Gilad's saxophone initally giving the song a naked minimal Norma Winstone quality. The song builds with some captivating double tracked vocals, spirited saxophone and solid bass. This is proper torch song territory. The beauty of Talinka is that you listen to a track once and you are captivated by Gilad's spirited Jan Garbarek flavoured saxophone, you listen again and its all about Tali's vocal, or Jenny's romantic violin or the long notes of Yaron's bass. You can hear two or three different albums in just one track. "She Moved Through The Fair" with vocals shared between Jenny and Tali is a stunning mystical journey, the two voices compliment each other perfectly. A lightly picked guitar, Billy Pod's gentle percussion and the voices giving a sparkling folk jazz air to proceedings.
Gilad's playing adds a mystical pan pipes quality. Talinka's mystical version fits the mood perfectly for a song essentially about conversing with the dead. Like Mishaped Pearls and Bird In The Belly, Talinka take that freewheeling, genre crossing sense of early 70s Folk tinged music and run with it. Opening with an atmospheric piano florish, "I'm A Fool To Want You" by Frank Sinatra, is pure smoky jazz. Tali's sultry vocal is low, pure Holiday or Lee, with overtones of "Don't Smoke In Bed" and some of Mary Coughlan's sassy roar.
Ross Stanley's piano playing and solo against Yaron Stavi's bass is just pure class on this track and throughout the album. With Gilad's atmospheric accordion opening and the very english vocals, Talinka's version of traditional "Greensleeves" is both stately and a song of contrasts. Again the two vocalists compliment each other beautifully. "Perdita" is another stripped back duet between Tali and Gilad that has the dry minimalist feel of Norma Winstone, building with both edgy vocals and contrasting bass clarinet and saxophone. Yaron's bass anchors the piece, while the two soloists dance and soar. "Time Runs Out" is a beautiful folk song, cool in feel and tempo with superb vocals and a sophisticated cafe feel. Talinka's version of "Scarborough Fair" is slow and stately, the airy a capella opening is a delight, contrasting with the dancing band section which recalls the Gotan Project. "When Apollo Smiles" is a wonderful lullaby, a duet, a bright sixties TV show theme, with more than a slight wiff of "White Horses" by Jackie. "I'll Be Seeing You" is a wonderfully woozy cafe jazz song, Tali is in fine voice and Gilad's Saxophone is to die for with big breathy Stan Getz notes over Stanley's liquid runs on the piano keys.
You can almost hear the bar staff putting up the chairs on tables, shining glasses and blowing out candles at the end of the night as the band plays their final number. Pretty much perfect and this is just album number two.
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