Monika Borzym Releases New CD Girl Talk
On her debut CD ‘Girl Talk', 21-year old vocalist Monika Borzym delivers a fearless take on an eclectic range of songs, and in doing so, delivers a jazz vocal album for a new generation of fans. Set for October 18th digital release in the U.S. via Sony Poland, ‘Girl Talk' features the music of a diverse range of controversial, legendary and/or esteemed female artists, including Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, Rachael Yamagata, Estelle, Regina Spektor, Erykah Badu, Abbey Lincoln, Feist, Joni Mitchell, Marisa Monte, Björk and Dido.
As Produced by Matt Pierson and arranged by Gil Goldstein, ‘Girl Talk' manages to introduce Polish-born Borzym to American audiences as a new voice in modern jazz, and she proves her chops as she's accompanied by an arsenal of world-class musicians. Borzym elaborates: "Aaron Parks was one of my first choices, he's an absolute genius, a true idol of mine. Then for the drums we went for Eric Harland, he's one of the greatest drummers in his generation, I believe his contribution to the sound of the record to be absolutely priceless. Lenny Grenadier on the double bass was Matt's idea; they worked together on many recording sessions, including those with Brad Mehldau. Matt also suggested the legendary Gil Goldstein -- initially I imagined he'd absolutely be beyond my reach. He's worked with so many superstars; he's arranged records for Sting, Chris Botti, collaborated for years with Pat Metheny. We put together a true dream team, I was in seventh heaven, I really didn't want to leave the studio."
As for the process of selecting songs, the Borzym/Pierson team started with an empty canvas, and found their way to the women on the final album: "We didn't plan on the Girl Talk project. I have a background in standards but Matt suggested we try more contemporary material. The initial playlist definitely included a lot of men, but once we noticEd Strong range of female songwriters in the mix, Matt suggested we go in this direction. We added more women to the track listing, took away the men, and ended up with this new album."
Borzym's roots as a jazz chanteuse found a home in the complex songwriting she gravitated towards for ‘Girl Talk' - she observes: "The level of songwriting suggests these ladies have a deep level of understanding of harmony, and I can't see how they are all so advanced without being involved with jazz somehow, at least as a listener."
More about Monika Borzym:
Monika Borzym discovered jazz at an early age, and is a natural musician, but her upbringing could have sent her in many different directions, thankfully she took a more studied path. "My dad listens to new romantic stuff, Tears For Fears, Toto, there was never MiLes Davis playing in my house. My mum listened to Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston mostly, I sang along at elementary school, luckily they never pushed me to do Idol like stuff."
Monika's influences, once she moved on from Whitney, include the obvious greats, and some lesser-known artists. "It all started with Ella Fitzgerald, she was my first mistress and my greatest one. Then I got fascinated with Carmen McRae, who was more obscure, and far more intense when it comes to the lyrics. I also find great inspiration in Anita O'Day, and absolutely in MiLes Davis; I generally love the trumpeters, Chet Baker, Terence Blanchard, I worship the ground they walk upon. I adore Bill Evans. Also, I've been in love with Radiohead since my lower secondary school."
In 2008, following an intense Eastern European schooling in all aspects of classical and jazz theory, composition and performance, Monika started spending time in the states, and eventually received a scholarship from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. While there she studied under numerous world-renowned jazz musicians, including Lisanne Lyons, Larry Lapin, Dante Luciani, Greg Gisbert, Chuck Bergeron, Ira Sullivan, and Shelly Berg.
Borzym's experiences in the sunshine state also resulted in a chance meeting with the man who would play an enormous role in the development of her musical career. Monika explains, "I met Matt Pierson for the first time when I was studying in Miami; he came to us to deliver a series of lectures about the music business. Matt is a person who I find important to me personally, and a giant in the world of jazz. He has discovered many talents and released plenty of records with Joshua Redman, Brad Meldhau, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny. A very close friend of mine Dante Luciani told me there would be a jam session in the evening, and that Pierson was planning to come. So I went there to sing and to get to know Matt. He liked my performance very much, we started to chat, made friends, and later, once I had returned to Poland, we kept in touch on Facebook. At that time we had already started considering recording together."
Borzym is currently enrolled at the LA Music Academy where she studies under the cream of the crop of U.S. music instructors including Tierney Sutton, Dorian Holley, Nikhil Korula and Tony Inzalaco. LA Music Academy College of Music is regarded as one of the premiere music schools in the world and its faculty is comprised of award winning professional musicians who impart practical real-world teachings along side traditional theoretical studies. She looks forward to taking a break from her studies to perform in support of Girl Talk.
Monika Borzym's Song Notes for ‘Girl Talk':
-The closest track to traditional jazz is "Down Here Below" by Abbey Lincoln, Gil Goldstein used an arrangement that he actually used for Abbey back in the day, but we changed the orchestration for this version."
"Dry Cleaner From Des Moines", it's a pretty obscure jazz track. This version was the version Joni Mitchell did with Jaco Pastorius."
On the Any Winehouse song "You Know I'm No Good" - "We were sitting at Gil's house trying to come up with ideas on how we were going to approach it and Gil grabbed his accordion and started jamming, and I loved the idea of having an accordion. We didn't think Matt was so into it but Gil and I insisted and Gil did an arrangement for it and Matt eventually came around."
Eryka Badu "Appletree" - "I used to do this song before and have recorded it for other demos so I'm familiar with this song, and I suggested it when we came up with the female concept."
"The Feist, Dido and Estelle and the most modern tracks, I love Feist to death, she has such an interesting sound and sense of songwriting. It reminds me how hard good songwriting is, she does an alternative take on hit song structure."
Dido's "Thank You" - "I never imagined I'd record a song like this on my first album but Matt pushed me to try more contemporary songs. I remember hearing this song and the Eminem track when I was growing up. It is a very interesting arrangement by Aaron Parks."
MONIKA BORZYM - GIRL TALK - Credits:
You Know I'm No Good / (Amy Winehouse)
Extraordinary Machine / (Fiona Apple)
Even So / (Rachael Yamagata)
American Boy / (Estelle)
Field Below / (Regina Spektor)
Appletree / (Erykah Badu)
Down Here Below / (Abbey Lincoln)
Gatekeeper / (Feist)
Dry Cleaner from Des Moines / (Mingus/Joni Mitchell)
Abololo / (Marisa Monte)
Possibly Maybe / (Björk)
Thank You / (Dido)
Monika Borzym - vocals
Gil Goldstein - piano, arranger
Aaron Parks - piano, Fender Rhodes, harmonium, arranger
Steve Cardenas - guitar
Larry Grenadier - bass
Eric Harland - drums
Bashiri Johnson, Rogerio Boccato - percussion
Greg Gisbert - trumpet
Mike Davis - trombone
Seamus Blake - tenor saxophone
Charles Pillow - bass clarinet
Aaron Heick - alto flute, bass flute
Lois Martin - viola
Jody Redhage - cello
Produced by Matt Pierson
New website to launch 10/1: http://www.monikaborzym.com