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UroSoule — Colors

July 28, 2013

Bringing to your ears an original and classy mix of jazz/pop/soul with the deep, sensuous vocals of Polish singer Agnieszka Iwanska and the creativity of pianist/composer/arranger Paul Scherer, this CD, titled Colors, is truly colorful, vibrant, and somewhat of a cornucopia of melodies and styles, including Brazilian and even a hint here and there of straight-ahead leanings.

The founding duo officially calls the group UroSoule and includes Cooke Harvey on bass and Paul Townsend on drums, along with a few special guests (Dave Schiff on tenor sax and flute, Don Schiff on NS Stick, Freddie Franken and Dan Graper on guitar on select tracks, and Bob Kase on flugelhorn).

I became familiar with Iwanska’s music about 3 years ago when she released her All That I Am album. I said then that I was attracted not only to the Basia-like stylings and strong vocals but the way she could charm a song through eclecticism, using Brazilian, blues, and contemporary jazz to weave her style and identity.  It’s no different here.  She still possesses what it takes to take a tune onto interesting musical terrain.

With the help of talented pianist Scherer who lays down some seriously clear piano chords and melodies, she adds yet another dimension of appeal, embracing even more freshness and imagination in the tunes.

My faves here are “Mom” and “Better” because of their absolutely beautiful and riveting melodies, the title track because of its very defining snap and sizzle, and track 4’s “Inspiration” because it carries that exoticism that Brazilian influences always seem to carry.

As I’ve said before, we sometimes need this refreshing break and could benefit from the fresh, vibrant, and often laid-back delivery of Iwanska and Scherer. After all, we boast of the “umbrella” of eclecticism, freshness, and uniqueness of a lot of today’s contemporary jazz. UroSoule reminds us of that need. – Ronald Jackson