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Cover

Júlia Karosi ft. Ben Monder

Without Dimensions

  • Type CD
  • Label Double Moon Records
  • UPC 0608917137828
  • Catalog number DMCHR 71378
  • Release date 02 October 2020
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€ 14.95
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About the album

You could almost say it was in her blood. But vocalist Júlia Karosi definitely doesn't want to make it that easy for herself and those listening to her. Adapting the music of the two great Hungarian composers of new classical music, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, to the context of modern jazz is a Herculean task. With the help of American star guitarist Ben Monder – also an ardent Bartók fan – and an exquisite selection of inspired and virtuoso compatriots, Karosi masters this in a grandiose way.
 
“I have always wondered whether music belongs to one of the dimensions that is theorized in the standard model of modern physics. I gave my subjective answer in the title of this album: There isn't any. I believe that the obvious lack of dimensions in music is related to the fact that it can lift us into a sphere in which time and space no longer play a role.” The philosophical approach of Júlia Karosi is also derived from the search for traces that the singer embarks on in her fourth album together with star guest Ben Monder as well as her band with pianist Áron Tálas, bassist Ádám Bögöthy and drummer Bendegúz Varga. “Without Dimensions” is by no means limited as a blueprint of American jazz standards, but instead goes deep into the Hungarian soul. Like only a few other composers, Bartók and Kodály represent the musical evolution of their homeland, ranging from the hot-blooded, melancholic Csárdás to the cool, structured modernity of the two classical masters, seething more beneath the surface. “Bartók’s music is the cradle of all Hungarian musicians, a timeless inspiration and also the way to our roots,” Karosi stated, who, like most piano students, was confronted with the music of the great composer, pianist and music ethnologist at a young age in Budapest.
 
Bartók's microcosm gradually opened up to Júlia Karosi when she studied a six-volume collection of 153 progressive piano pieces during her studies. Later in high school, she came into contact with the works of Hungarian composers in an exclusively female, classical a-cappella group. Such a thing has a lasting impact. Even when Júlia Karosi switched to jazz, Bartók but also Kodály in spirit, had long since been her touchstones in music. That's why the 38-year-old chose “Without Dimensions” to present a dynamic program of newly transcribed vocal interpretations and vital original compositions, such as the title track, which is given a distinctive stamp by Ben Monder's guitar playing, easily identifiable at all times. The medley of Zoltán Kodály's Epigrams Numbers. 7 and 8 goes over into a spoken prologue to Bartók 's expressionist opera “Bluebeardʼs Castle”. The singer provides a proven example of the high art of vocal improvisation in her homage to Bartók in “Only From The Purest Source” as well as in his “Romanian Folk Dances”.
 
With some programmatic titles, Júlia Karosi also reflects on dramatic moments in her life. “Rebirth” is about the birth of her son, “Words and Beyond” is about a conflict between verbal and nonverbal expressions, and “Madeleine Moment” is about the writer Marcel Proust. Every song, every sung or played tone seems like an intense, elaborate digging for the truth, like a special form of coming home. And for Júlia Karosi, they are simply something close to her heart. “I am often surprised that I have internalized this music so much. It keeps gushing out of me completely unexpectedly.” As if it were an organic part of her. That's not the only reason why a jazz homage to her two heroes was literally inevitable for her. “I hope they don't mind.”

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