The Israeli-born drummer Asaf Sirkis and the Polish vocalist Sylwia Białas have Frank Harrison on piano and keyboards, and Patrick Bettison on electric bass and chromatic harmonica for a programme of ten original songs, half with lyrics, half with wordless vocals. Some are collaborations between the co-leaders, some by either of them.
The fact that Białas sings the lyrics in Polish makes all the vocals more like pure music for us non-Polish speakers, and that adds an attractive lack of specificity to the music. It’s a rich, melodic jazz/world fusion. All four musicians are eloquent melodists, and the soundscape is warm and wide.
The timings don’t get as tricky as they sometimes do in jazz fusion, or at least they don’t sound as if they do, but that could be the group’s sleight of hand.
As usual, Sirkis is the driving force, though a most accommodating one. And he sings in “drum” just as Białas sings in Polish; we might not understand the words, but we know what they’re saying. Harrison is always a joy, whether in support or soloing, and Bettison is succinct and spot-on on both his instruments.
It should be powerful stuff live in small room, and that is where you can hear it in Birmingham tomorrow night. Birmingham Jazz is presenting the quartet at The Red Lion in Warstone Lane at 7.45pm.
- There is more about the Birmingham Jazz date here.
- For other live dates go to Asaf’s website here.
- To buy The Sirkis/Bialas International Quartet’s Come To Me go here.
Categories: CD review