Photo by Paul Morejon
My new album "Universal Ancestry" will be released in the US first half of 2022! Stay tuned for more information!
Objednávky CD v EU na firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to share with you my first album review by the most respected Czech jazz journalist Jan Hocek who wrote it for the longest-running Slovak jazz portal www.skjazz.sk and gave it 5 out of 5 stars!! It's an album of this week. I'm ecstatic, humbled, grateful, and can't wait to share this record with all my American friends and fans from all over the world!
English translation of the album review:
Everything important about the background of the album "Universal Ancestry" has been already said, so it is up to me to review it and I do so with extraordinary joy. When I listened to HANKA on her album “Twin Flames” (released in 2016), with Ondrej Krajňák I stated that this singer has a voice like a bell and I did not mean just the richness and deepness, but also the spiritual depth of her singing. At that time, I have wished her voice could be heard in the wide world. And today, Hanka Gregušová, a.k.a. HANKA is significantly establishing on the New York jazz scene. In the summer, she has released her new album, aptly called "Universal Ancestry." Yes, it is a congenial musical connection of diverse cultures and music genres, as well as a tribute to extraordinary personalities from jazz, soul, R&B, or gospel as well as African American singers that influenced HANKA (Phyllis Hyman, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Abbey Lincoln). Among eleven songs on the album are three Slovak folk songs for the first time ever re-arranged by American jazz musician James Hurt. The only folk song that does not move me much is “Tancuj, Tancuj” (Dance, Dance) as it feels unclear to me, but the guitar solo is great! The end of the album however literally culminates with two great Slovak folk songs, “A ja taká Dzivočka” (I Am Such A Pretty Girl) with excellent bop phrasing and imaginative tenor sax and piano solos, and a sad “Zaspievalo Vtáča“ (The Bird Has Started Singing) in which you feel true sadness with the opening of the tune with Slovak native instrument fujara. After all, HANKA showed an extraordinarily inner insight into folk music on her album “Essence” (Hevhetia, 2014). The rest of the tracks individually deserve attention as well. Already in the introductory song “All the Man That I Need” from Whitney Houston's repertoire (Grammy 1990), you can admire HANKA’s all-encompassing voice with a real soul and fresh instrumentation. “Be Grateful”, the modern gospel song written by Walter Hawkins (1978), is emotional, deep, and poetic, graded into juicy contemporary R&B. The song “Through the Fire” is tastefully arranged to pop sound (Chaka Khan, 1984). The song titled “As You Are” by Pharoah Sanders is conceived in an excellent way and has been already sung by Phyllis Hyman in 1978. I dare to say HANKA surpasses her interpretation. She also interprets in a supreme way the iconic song “Someday We´ll All Be Free” written by Donny Hathaway (1973), and only with piano accompaniment, where her singing could thus stand out in full force, and she gives this song an extra passion with gospel interpretation. In the song “Throw it Away” (Abbey Lincoln, 1995) we can hear dramatic piano sounds, sounding something like ambient, but raw and dirty, and yet the intoxicating blues mood is not getting lost. HANKA and her musicians can also swing harder than hard (in standard “Them There Eyes”), and in McCoy Tyner's “In Search of My Heart” (originally sung by Phyllis Hyman, 1982) it is literally a jazz eruption, which also includes a captivating saxophone solo.
HANKA and everyone involved, you have my respect!
HANKA - vocal & producer
Shedrick Mitchell - arrangements, co-production, piano, organ
James Hurt - arrangements, co-production, piano, Fender Rhodes piano
Rodney Kendrick - piano, arrangement, co-production, arr. of BGV’s on track “Through the Fire”
David Ginyard - electric bass
Rashaan Carter - acoustic & electric bass
Taru Alexander - drums
Nathaniel Townsley - drums
Sisa Michalidesová - flute
Veronika Vitazkova - fujara
Marvin Sewell - guitars
William Barnes - electric guitar
Antoine Roney - tenor & soprano sax
Keesha Gumbs - background vocals
Terelle Tipton - background vocals
Recording also at: Studio Garage by Peter Preložník
Mastering: Blackler Mastering by Kevin Blackler