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"Whose Shadow?" (2014, Inner Circle Music)

(****) "She has emerged from the Canadian scene with a spellbinding voice... with boldly unique style and a vocal attitude of her own. Solnicki has been rightfully labeled a vocal purist and naturally sings any jazz arrangement with relative ease. Lara's voice is riveting, [she] brings a refreshing and exciting tone to each selection. "Whose Shadow?" features many of Canada's world class jazz musicians while Lara Solnicki does her thing vocally as only she can.

With exceptional tonal control and her mastery of inflection, Lara Solnicki has without doubt, charted her vocal journey, affirming her position as a world class jazz singer."

− Everett. R. Davis, All About Jazz

"One of Canada's most acclaimed vocalists begins her debut U.S tour... Lara Solnicki’s range alone has been captivating listeners since she began her career—but it’s her vulnerability and intimate connection to the lyric that resonates beyond the limits of her upper and lower registers. Each spontaneous interpretation of standard and original repertoire teems with individualism and vocal mastery."

− Hot House Jazz Guide, New York, Highlights, February, 2018

"On her solo 2010 debut album "A Meadow in December", Toronto-born singer Lara Solnicki offered moody, understated renditions of jazz standards... displaying a lovely tone and and an easy connection with the songs' content. On her 2014 follow up "Whose Shadow?", Solnicki brings a similar sensibility to more contemporary material... Maurice Ravel and Henry Purcell, delves into Jimmy Rowles... and returns to the American Songbook for a fresh read of 'I'll Remember April'.

She showcases her original compositions and poetic lyrics as well... Solnicki's impressionistic imagery wends throughout her evocative "Jim the Dancer" included here [in the Jazziz Spring 2015 CD compilation]. Opening with John Johnson's forlorn bass clarinet... Solnicki slowly walzes to pianist Mark Kieswetter's spare, melancholy touch and the light pulses of bassist George Koller, perfectly capturing her haunted lyric... at the song's end, like a voice echoing down an empty corridor. "

− JAZZIZ Magazine, Spring 2015

"Lara Solnicki's "Whose Shadow?" is equal parts explorative as it is provocative. She has managed to funnel her experience and capabilities into a work that is an unselfish exhibition of her total breadth as an artist. Captivating, but still maintaining the essence of innocence, "Whose Shadow?" manages to artfully straddle the fence of expectation and genre identification, while creating a framework for what is artistically possible. This is absolutely a work for the times."

− Greg Osby, musician, composer, educator, president Inner Circle Music label

["Whose Shadow?"] seems to be a much better reflection of Solnicki’s diverse talents than her all-standards debut. Solnicki was trained as an opera singer... her superb vocal technique is the only obvious remnant of her training and she is a published poet. The track list includes music by Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell and Peter Gabriel, alongside convincing jazz versions of pieces by Maurice Ravel and Henry Purcell, and a pair of fine originals—one set to an original poem and one wordless... The closing “I’ll Remember April”, offers Solnicki an opportunity to show off her understated scat technique.

Her diction is impeccable—not crisp and perfect like most classically trained singers, but with the just right amount of colloquialism to make it sound natural. On a glorious version of “The Peacocks”, Solnicki caresses Norma Winstone's complex lyrics while highlighting Jimmy Rowles angular melody. Those vocalists who dare to sing this challenging song generally focus on the lyric or the melody; it’s a special treat to hear a vocalist who can do both at the same time. She should strongly consider a US tour. She could gain many new fans with her outstanding musicianship and fresh repertoire."

− Thomas Cunniffe, Jazz History Online

"Canadian songstress Lara Solnicki has crafted a remarkable album with “Whose Shadow?” - a collection of covers, standards and originals that that all seem to fit together seamlessly. I’m impressed with her choices for the repertoire – including songs by Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, and Joni Mitchell in particular. Her renditions are truly original, and complement nicely two of her own beautiful compositions (which I love to hear from an artist). Her voice is gorgeous, yet used quite capably as an interpretive instrument. The musicians on the album are mostly all Canadian, and while they are unfamiliar to me, the playing is masterful. I’m very glad to have met her recently at a gathering in New York of jazz industry professionals, and to now know about her. A sublime album, and highly recommended!"

− Dr. Brad Stone, producer, programmer, host of “The Creative Source” SoulandJazz.com Radio

"Toronto looks to the jazz firmament...Lara Solnicki is undoubtedly an artist of great merit... elegant, refined and most decidedly evocative, but what struck me most about her music and voice is the ability to transport the listener to an enchanted world, stunned, crepuscular. ... seems immersed in a romantic fairy tale, where every detail of the story is narrated with extreme accuracy.

Lara Solnicki is an artist with a brilliant career in front of her, if not just for her extraordinary talent but for a rare gift that cannot be acquired."

−Fabio Novarese, Comunicati Musicali, Italy

"While listening to “Whose Shadow?”, I marvel at the wealth of lyrics, messages, and the clear vibrato pitch which singer and composer, Lara Solnicki, gives to her chosen songs. And it’s with lyrics that Solnicki also excels, picking uneasy, scaly messages which can at best be humbly chewed... a playfulness of poetry improvising on sound. Solnicki’s vocals takes us mystically into nature’s nuances."

- Carol Martin, All Jazz Radio, South Africa

"Among the ranks of singers, numerous these days, the discovery of the month comes to us from Canada.

Like others today, Lara Solnicki draws on classical, jazz, along with Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Joni Mitchell... but she does so very well with a constant sense of musicality and without unnecessary affectation. Her interpretations of Jimmy Rowles magnificent "The Peacocks" and "Music For A While " by Henry Purcell are explored with much stylistic appropriateness. She prefers the calm atmosphere and the slow tempo: we let ourselves go ... Come and discover!"

− Thierry Giard, Culture Jazz, France

"The beautiful occurrences of Lara’s affectionate singing speak a level of sensitivity and a coziness to the spirit unlike any other. Come expecting total elation."

– Don Martin, Jazz Quarterly Magazine

"Great voice, great musicians and a great choice of music."

− Jim West, President, Justin Time Records

"Lara Solnicki's voice is dark and sweet and invites you in with such ease you find yourself changing plans for the rest of the night."

− Tom Allen, Musician, Author, Broadcaster, Host of Shift, CBC Radio 2

"Beyond the strong roots in jazz, there's an introspective quality... The key to Lara Solnicki's sound may lie in her second artistic life as a poet. If you like your jazz simultaneously intellectual and accessible, Lara Solnicki is an artist you should get to know without delay.”

- Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio

"Within the album's eclecticism, the interpreter proves she has mastered her art. It's clear the Toronto native found her own voice a long time ago, a voice she refines with the songs selected for "Whose Shadow?".

Classically trained, Lara can venture without hesitation into Maurice Ravel's repertoire, as Henry Purcell's...Being a poet, she knows the exact weight of each and every word; her readings of [jazz] classics have a welcome freshness, and her own talent and sensitivities as a writer are well revealed in her originals. ... The contemporary pop tunes naturally evoke the originals, while never sinking into slavish imitation,

Three years after the release of ‘A Meadow in December’, Lara Solnicki has reaffirmed without doubt, her sure position in Canadian contemporary jazz.”

− Stanley Péan, “Whose Shadow?” liner notes,
Novelist and Host of Quand le jazz est là (Radio Canada)

"Lara Solnicki does not lack charm. And the slow tempo, omnipresent in her repertoire, is a weapon of mass seduction. In her extreme ecclecticm the lady has taste."

− Ralph Boncy, Voir

"Lara Solnicki's interpretation of "The Peacocks" moved me to stop whatever I was doing. I had to sit down and take it all in. Brilliant."

− Craig Pady, What is Hip Radio, CIUT

"Toronto singer Lara Solnicki has released a second CD that is a bit of a departure from her first. Eclectic and artful... Solnicki has chosen more modern and unusual songs, and along with producer and bass player George Koller, has interpreted them in interesting ways. That along with Solnicki's classical training, makes this a refreshing departure from more traditional vocal jazz albums."

− Cathy Riches, The WholeNote

"It's a great record. Different. Daring. Divine. Awesome talented band topped with stunning vocal performance. This is art at its best."

− Jeremy Darby, Grammy Nominated Engineer and Producer Owner, The Canterbury Music Company

"Lara is a unique and formidable choreographer of music".

− George Koller, award winning multi-instrumentalist, Producer "Whose Shadow?"

"A Meadow In December" (2010)

"... ['A Meadow in December'], the first opus of this Toronto singer, reveals an artist with undeniable talent and charisma who appropriates with a certain flair these jewels of the Great American Songbook. Solnicki brings a unique approach to her interpretations, often dreamlike, but with remarkable precision. A new Canadian voice to discover.

To me, Miss. Solnicki is assuredly one of the finest jazz singers to emerge on the Canadian scene recently...the purity of her voice, her understanding of the most subtle nuances in lyrics and melody, and the freshness, intelligence and wit she invests in every interpretation...

Her background in both classical music and poetry writing give her a unique perspective on the standard jazz songs of yesteryear, and her own original compositions have that special hard-to-define quality that set them apart."

-Stanley Péan, Radio Host
Radio Canada/Espace Musique and
**** "A Meadow in December", Voir review

With "A Meadow in December" Toronto singer Lara Solnicki has crafted an unusually compelling debut, avoiding all of the usual pitfalls... focusing on lyric, sound and rhythmic insinuation [and] investing 11 jewels from the Great American Songbook with her own personality. Her classical training is immediately evident and she has a poet’s ear for nuance. Solnicki tackles challenging fare like Lazy Afternoon, creating a dream-like state with subtle shifts in pitch. The concluding Softly as in a Morning Sunrise is almost as good — it may be the first time I ever noticed the lyrics.

-Stuart Broomer
The WholeNote, May/June, 2012

"A Meadow in December" will grant you some pleasurable hours, forgetting the bitter whims of mother nature... in the presence of a very beautiful voice, warm, grave, measured, that will delight fans, neophytes, and even "seasoned veterans"

Within eleven beaches, this beautiful voyage quickly transports the listener in élan. A job well done, like a plush, restful Sunday."

-Christophe Rodriguez
Le Journal de Montreal, En Bref, January 21, 2012
* * * * A Meadow in December

***** Beautiful, Assured Singing
Absolutely beautiful singing. Really a nice discovery. Solnicki takes a very deserved place among some other fine Toronto/Canadian jazz singers now and has her own sound. I like the way her voice, obviously highly trained, uses high notes and fluidity so well, without sounding stilted at all, and there's just a sense of 'story-telling' that even harkens back to fine high-voiced cabaret singers like Portia Nelson. This is admittedly a very well-known repertoire that is perhaps overly familiar: but creative takes, nicely handled by both Solnicki and her stellar accompanists. I look forward too to a promised second album which will include some of her own compositions. Meanwhile, this is great stuff.
Link to article: www.amazon.com/Meadow-December-Lara-Solnicki

-E. C Goodstein (Northern CA, United States)
"A Meadow in December" review, February 12, 2011

"Toronto's Lara Solnicki imbues The Great American Songbook with style and sensuality. 'A Meadow in December' is a very promising debut."

-Mark Rheaume, CBC Radio

"Lara Solnicki est une chanteuse torontoise de formation classique, qui caresse le Great American Songbook avec beaucoup de classe et de sensualité. Son timbre est ample et velouté, et son approche respectueuse de cette riche tradition. Une nouvelle voix d'ici que l'on découvre avec plaisir."

"Classically schooled, Toronto vocalist Lara Solnicki caresses The Great American Songbook with much class and sensuality. Her timbre is ample and voluptuous, her approach respectful to this rich tradition. A new (Canadian) voice that we discover with pleasure."

-Frederic Cardin, Espace Jazz/Radio- Canada

"Lara is an exceptionally talented musician with an expansive and expressive vocal and musical range. [She takes] the listener on a wonderful journey filled with personal, unaffected. and refreshingly original artistry."

-Barry Livingston, CIUT 89.5 FM host/contributor,
CARAS 2010 Juno Awards Adjudicator

"Her range is quite astonishing... Lara's honesty makes you feel she is not just singing a story, but has lived it herself."

-Hal Hill, Co-Founder Markham Jazz Festival, Broadcaster

"Lara Solnicki's voice should garner personal appearances across the country and overseas."

-Barrie Woodey, Jazz For A Sunday Night, CHRW Radio.

"Solnicki makes a difficult melody seem easy; her incredibly pitched vocals are rich with shades of color."

-Ori Dagan, Wholenote Magazine

"Lara Solnicki hits the notes the way they should be hit."

-Rob Fogle, Some Experiences in Jazz, CHRY Radio

 

photo by Bo Huang