The Polish group Puzzle is a new name for me. The band consists of singer Karolina Teernstra, keyboardist Marta Molodynska, who's also chipping in some vocals, saxophone player Tomasz Drabik, guitarist Piotr Plonka, who's also known as the lead guitarist of the Polish band Millenium, Piotr Mazurkiewicz (bass) and Slawomir Puka (percussion). They are helped out by a couple of guest musicians on their eponymous debut album.
But wait, Polish? Doesn't the singer's name sound very Dutch? And yes, reading the title of the tenth track seems to confirm this assumption definitely. Slaap Kindje Slaap - a Dutch title − is indeed a version of a well-known Dutch lullaby that might be fun being done in a jazzy arrangement, but I think that it will make most Dutch and Belgian people cringe. As a bonus track this piece would be acceptable, but not as a proper part of an album. Still, I like the heavy climax. By the way, the slightly accented Dutch vocals made me believe that Karolina didn't gain her last name by birth.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first track Wiosenna already reveals a prominent role for the saxophone. The strong female vocals are rather jazzy and reminded me a bit of early Quidam. Musically I would say that this is more fusion than progressive rock. While the first song was fluently sung in Polish − as far as I'm a relevant judge to say anything about fluency in Polish − the second piece Fragile Illusion treats us to perfect singing in English, comparable to, for example, Adele. Karolina clearly is a talented singer who has the potential to reach a large audience! My initial feeling that this album tends towards fusion and jazz-rock music is strongly confirmed as the album continues. There are occasionally touches of prog, but they're pretty sparse. Jedną Z Dróg for example features extensive use of horns, while the next song Dance Into The Groove is extremely funky, the kind of music that one indeed can dance to. It even contains a disco beat. Personally I appreciate good fusion and even funk − for example, from my own collection I can recommend Jive Talking from the Jon Eberson Group − but I can imagine that this might not exactly be the kind of music that the average customer of the Lynx Music label expects and wants to listen to. For the greater part this label is home to symphonic and neo-prog after all.
Summing up, I think that these musicians are talented. The singer is great − but please, don't do any more Dutch children's songs − and the music is quite pleasant to listen to. As a whole, however, this CD is only of little interest to most readers of Background Magazine, I'm afraid.
*** Carsten Busch (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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