Saturday, July 14, 2012

Vocal CD Reissue of the Month - "Urszula Dudziak: Urszula"

Vocal CD Reissue of the Month
Urszula Dudziak: "Urszula" (Arista) 1975

Produced & Arranged by Michal Urbaniak
Executive Producer: Steve Backer
Engineering: Gene Paul & Les Paul, Jr. @ Dick Charles Studios, NYC, NY
Mastered by George Piros @ Atlantic Studios
Photos: Benno Friedmann
Cover Design: Nancy Greenberg
Art Direction: Bob Heimall

Featuring: Urszula Dudziak (vocals, percussion, synths), Harold Ivory Williams (Wurlitzer electric piano, Moog synthesizer, additional keyboards), Basil Fearrington (electric bass), Gerald Brown (drums), Joe Caro & Reggie Lucas (electric guitars), Mickal Urbaniak (lyricon)

The debut U.S. solo album by Polish jazz vocalist Urszula Dudziak, who was recording innovative albums for Muza/Polskie Nagarnia (like their live masterpiece "Constellation"), with his husband Mickal (aka Michal) Urbaniak, since their Warsaw days. On "Urszula," also her debut on the then-recently formed Arista Records founded by music biz shark Clive Davis after he left Columbia, the avant-garde singer established her name in the contemporary jazz scene. Urbaniak, a virtuoso violinist, played only lyricon, but arranged and produced the massive sessions that yielded a radio hit ("Papaya") and such funk-fusion gems as the "Mosquito" suite, "Zawinul," "Sno King," "Funky Rings" and "Butterfly" (an Urbaniak original, not the famous Herbie Hancock tune). Urszula is heard doing astonishingly sensual wordless vocals most of the time (through the us eof synthesizers and echoplex, in a similar way to Flora Purim's work at the time), actually singing (English) lyrics only on her own "Just The Way You Are," not to be mistaken with the Billy Joel pop hit.

The ferocious band on "Urszula" features guitarists Joe Caro and Reggie Lucas, bassist Basil Fearrington (heard on Jean-Luc Ponty's classic "Aurora"), drummer Gerry Brown (later a member of Chick Corea's Return To Forever") and keyboardist Harold Williams on the Wurlitzer electric piano (no Rhodes), something that helped to shape the raw sonority of the project. Hope her follow-up Arista album, "Midnight Rain," which features Steve Gadd and Dom Um Romao in superb renditions of "Lover," "Misty," "Night in Tunisia" and "Bluesette," will be reissued in a near future.  

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