No other album of anything close to this quality will be released before the end of the year, so I can safely say this really is one of the three best albums of 2019 (Brad Mehldau's 'Finding Gabriel' & Rachel Grimes' 'The Way Forth' are the other two). Wonderful compositions, gorgeous voice, superb musicianship #simplyfabulous
Favorite track: The Woods.
Alice Zawadzki - voice, violin, piano, compositions
Rob Luft - guitar, co-composer of 'The Woods'
Fred Thomas - drums, piano, percussion, tenor banjo
Misha Mullov-Abbado - double bass
Hyelim Kim - taegum, co-composer of 'The Woods'
Simmy Singh - violin
Laura Senior - violin
Lucy Nolan - viola
Peggy Nolan - cello
Recorded at Livingstone Studios, Wood Green, London (November 2019)
Additional recording in London by kind permission of Hermione Lyall
and Jean-Pierre Lin
Recording and mixing engineer, Alex Killpartrick
Assistant engineers - Tom Tarcher, Matt Williams
Mastering engineer - Frank Merritt at Carvery Cuts
Produced by Alice Zawadzki, Fred Thomas, Alex Killpartrick
Additional production - Samuel Crowe
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Front cover design by Charlotte Mann
Photograph by George Nelson
Graphic design by Monika Jakubowska
Recorded with generous support from PRSF Women Make Music Award
released October 11, 2019
ABOUT THE ALBUM
“The woods are still when I look in from the outside. The more I listen, the more I can hear them. My blood is spiked with emerald and I become green, glowing, sprouting new shoots from all over my body…”
Diffracting through a greenwood canopy, the poetic words and music of vocalist/violinist/pianist Alice Zawadzki illuminate her unique artistry and the concept behind new album Within You is a World of Spring – the follow-up to acclaimed Whirlwind debut release China Lane. Zawadzki leads an inspiring band of musicians and improvisers in realising her extraordinary, often moving, occasionally droll, original songs: Fred Thomas (piano, drums, percussion, banjo, organ), Rob Luft (guitar), Misha Mullov-Abbado (double bass) and Hyelim Kim (taegum). Integral to the impressive, layered detailing is the Amika String Quartet of Simmy Singh, Laura Senior, Lucy Nolan and Peggy Nolan, and engineer Alex Killpartrick.
“The title represents the journey that many of us can go through”, reveals Zawadzki, whose striking bodily transformation for the front cover was painted by artist Charlotte Mann. “We get to a certain age and begin to understand more about the brutality and turbulence of the world, experiencing heartbreak, social injustice, etc. My songs focus on the idea of remembering, during those times, that there’s a seed inside us which carries the life force to help us blossom again – we can change.”
Urgent portamento strings and intense drumming powerfully energize the title track, its words (‘When I feel done and done, your Spring returns to heal’) inspired by an Emil Aarestrup poem. Working in the ‘Calais Jungle’ proved life-changing for Alice, witnessing the resilience, dignity and goodness of many people there. So ‘God’s Children’ asks us not to forget their plight (‘Do you dare to dream? Are dreams not for all men? Let me ask you again - are dreams not for all God's children?’) through diaphanous, tumbling phrases and anthemic affirmation. “Tears can act as a conduit between us”, explains Zawadzki, “building the foundation for understanding.” Near-operatic ‘Superior Virtue’ recalls a beautiful, unfulfilled encounter, as violin, guitar and piano textures twinkle, while tongue-in-cheek romance ‘Es Verdad’ jigs with infectious, whimsical abandon.
Fluttering bamboo taegum (Korean flute) evokes Zawadzki’s woodland discovery as ambient swirls cushion her path through a love poem to one who could not cry, yet finally… ‘The tears running down his face are more rare and precious than jewels’. Sumptuously soulful ‘Keeper’ emphasizes the thread of ‘change’ – described as “those moments where the passage of time refracts and bends, where the end is the start and the start is the end” – heightened by blissful blue guitar. Sinewy violin in ‘Twisty Moon’ announces a scintillating imagined overture to a detective movie; and in elegantly traditional style, with Buenos Aires backdrop, ‘O Mio Amore’ speaks of heartbreaking separation across the Atlantic.
“Sometimes I try to court a kind of naivety when writing, at least at the start”, says Zawadzki, “to follow my curiosity or instinct without an agenda of what the piece should end up being. It keeps things fresh. All these musicians are brilliant and unique improvisers, so the spirits of jazz and folk are here, both sonically and in the themes of consciousness, humanity and love.”
This is for the Spring that lies within you… within us all…
"Tender in spirit and defiantly anti-genre... A cornucopia of delights."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"An awestruck hymn to nature that masters all manner of styles."
★★★★ (contemporary album of the month) The Guardian
"Folk and classical influences intertwine on this Anglo-Polish singer and violinist's second. Zawadzki's larynx is a supple, expressive, rousing delight, it's harmonic flexibility tested by folkloric tales sensually scored by the Amika string quartet...as maverick as Fever Ray or Joanna Newsome. Expect the unexpected"
★★★★ MOJO Magazine
"In Zawadzki’s singular world different styles of music come together to create something quite “sui generis”, a sound that is both accessible and exotic and capable of appealing to a broad cross section of discerning listeners."
★★★★ The Jazz Mann
"Alice Zawadzki is a force to be reckoned with. Loosely connected to the jazz world but realistically inhabiting her own realm, her previous album, China Lane, was a breathlessly creative work. Within You Is A World Of Spring is a genuinely unclassifiable yet entirely thrilling piece of music"
"Capturing a sense of Gaia's wisdom on her earthy release, Zawadzki's grounded connection illuminates eight dramatic compositions hued with mystique and eclecticism."
★★★★ Downbeat Magazine
"A major statement from an increasingly significant artist"
"Takes the listener to shimmering musical territories over compositions that often unfold as suites that include a narrative dimension that is sometimes dramatic and, why not, even a little romantic."
supported by 14 fans who also own “Within You is a World of Spring”
I am the Spring. You are the Earth. This is the reason I bought the album. I can't say it's an original concept or anything but there's a huge joy in the sonority of the different instruments deployed. It's immersive, big, harmonic. martin corey