Legendary jazz greats Branford Marsalis and Kurt Elling collaborate for the first time on a full album, Upward Spiral. They ve been talking for a while about making a record together, and finally at the end of 2015 it all came together. They found time to play the new material in the New Orleans Snug Harbor club for four days and then recorded a variety of songs in the studio, all chosen because of their melodic richness and musical quality. Their versions of the chosen material are simply incredible, as the musicality of Branford and Kurt and their deep understanding of these songs shows through immediately.
After a much celebrated appearance by Adam Baldych at the 2011 Berlin Jazzfest, critic Ulrich Olshausen raved in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper: "He has, without doubt, the greatest technique of any jazz violinist alive today. We can expect everything of him". High praise for a musician of just 26 years of age, and at the same time only fitting for a man who has been considered a prodigy in his native Poland for many years already. He discovered the violin at the age of 11, and jazz at 13; the music gave him the freedom of expression he was looking for, and at 16 he started his international career. After completing his jazz studies at the Katowice Academy with distinction, he was awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Based in São Paulo, Metá Metá have played a key role in the city’s thriving experimental music scene, mixing samba and Afro-Brazilian candomblé with jazz and rock. Now they have added north African influences, inspired by visits to Morocco, in an album that constantly changes style and pace – often in the same song. Opener Três Amigos sets the mood, starting as an atmospheric piece with an Arabic edge and relaxed vocals by Juçara Marçal, before switching to a furious blitz of sound by saxophonist Thiago França and guitarist Kiko Dinucci, who played a key role in an extraordinary recent album from Elza Soares. Elsewhere, the songs vary from the cheerful and breezy Toque Certeiro (featuring scat vocals from Marçal that have the easy charm of Joyce Moreno) to passages that sound like an angry Brazilian post-punk thrash, influenced by their country’s political crisis.