Some of you already know the album “Swing Revisited” created in cooperation with a prominent Polish jazz singer Stanislaw Soyka. Released on the 14 of April 2015 the CD sold gold on the premiere day and has been received very positively in Poland. The singer has been also present with the album in multiple TV and radio programmes, giving many interviews and even serving a taste of the new production. Some of these materials will be featured in the upcoming days on our blog.
Even though the CD has not been released in other countries so far, we’ve managed to get some reviews on the Swedish side as well. The most recent is the one from Orkester Journalen nr 3 2015 by Per Wikèn.
Critic’s review starts in a highly excitied tone, as he is being taken by surprise while listening to the “vocalist of a high caliber”, an artists new to him, who’s coming from the neighbouring Poland. The album recorded in the collaboration with Roger Berg and the Roger Berg Big Band is described as “a string of pearls”, made of the true and immortal hits in a mix of swing, soul, ballads and blues. Author shares his thoughts on different songs, of which he likes the most: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore, Fly Me To The Moon and I’m Just A Lucky So And So, the last of these sung with a well relaxed approach. In Hallelujah I Love Her So the vocal sounds as the song is not exactly in the right key, yet the number is “well swinging”. Artists’ voice in general reminds a little bit of Sinatra’s, Tony Benett’s, Mel Thorme’s and Sammy Davis Jr’s sound. The orchestra gives the vocalist an attentive, yet well balanced support of a high quality, exactly as it does to the other big Swedish and Danish artists during the shows, of which it is well known in the region. The writer recalls also that Roger Berg has Buddy Rich as his role model. Per Wikèn ends his review:
A great balance between singer’s and orchestra’s sound gives a final touch to this recording, which is a true pearl.
A couple of weeks earlier we also got an opinion from the jazz expert and journalist at the newspaper Sydsvenskan Alexander Agrell:
To get the essentials:
More about Malmö, jazz, retro and singing: Roger Berg’s big band made a recording with a brilliant Polish singer Stanislaw Soyka. “Swing Revisited” contains well known standards mostly from Ellington/Strayhorn and is a pleasing and well swinging story.
Soyka has Tony Benett’s inclinations, midnight-smooth voice and total control over the songs, puls and his frasing.
Another voice came from the host of the radio program Swingtajm Rolf Karlström, Radio Haninge Direkt from Stockholm. In this interview with Roger Berg Rolf finds a comparison for Soyka in the person of Gunnar ”Siljabloo” Nilsson, trying to define artist’s personality and sound.
Rolf Karlström: I think the singer in some tunes sounds a little bit like Gunnar ”Siljabloo” Nilsson…
Roger Berg: Yes, you are definately right here. He has a very individual expression, he is no singer that we have dozens of. He has a warmth and his own personality in singing which are missing among many young artists these days. This guy has been around for some time and has developed his own style, which is appreciated by many. And there are many people who love him for exactly this voice and this style and when they hear him in this environment they say: Wow, that’s cool to finally hear something like that from you!
Rolf Karlström: And he sounds so relaxed when he sings plus he does have a voice!
The program host points also out great musicians in the band, like the soloist in Night And Day, Vincent Nilsson, playing trombone. The whole interview available in the player below (in Swedish):
Another material – an interview in the program Kulturlådan by Frank Andersson, Helsingborgs närradio 99,2 MHz, with more thoughts around the album and even more positive impressions. A full interview with Roger Berg below, available for those of you who are familiar with Swedish.
Another voice came from a music lover and promoter, working for many years with the jazz society Malmö Hot House and a member in Harry Arnold Society, journalist and blogger Peter Kastensson:
A few bands in Europe can swing as well as Roger Berg with his big band. But who is Stanislaw Soyka? A composer, pianist, who sings both pop and jazz. He has, so to say, made a come back to jazz. I have not heard about him until Roger Berg told me. A gentleman who “smells jazz” from a distance, when one hears his voice, a beautiful voice. There are singers who have “burned” voice or maybe a “whisky burned” voice. That applies to Stanislaw Soyka. Yet maybe I should rather say “vodka burned” voice, taking into account his homeland…
Next he mentions soloists playing in different numbers, like Let The Good Times Roll – guitar solo, Måns Persson, Caravan – alto sax solo, Claus Sörensen, Love You Madly with tenorsax solo Ed Epstein, Satin Doll – piano solo, Mats Nilsson, next Vincent Nilssons with his trombone solo in Night And Day and Take The ”A-Train with Lasse Lundström’s double bass solo. A full text in Swedish available at Peter’s blog.
We are extremely happy to read and hear all these opinions full of enthusiasm, good vibes and appreciation. Thank you everybody for sharing your thoughts and naturally thank you once again everybody, who took part in the project. Great respect and congratulations to you!