by Russell Trunk
|Title – Feel Again
Artist – Elena Maque
Vocalist, composer and saxophonist Elena Maque was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. A university-trained musician, Maque has spent years honing her craft and wowing audiences throughout Russia, Europe, and the United States.Her ability to cross-pollinate jazz with funk and pop has been a magnet for fans globally. As a result, it is not unusual to find a guest DJ scratching beats as Maque spices an up-tempo swing tune with sophistication while honoring the jazz vernacular in her execution.Maque was already an established musician upon graduating from Mussorgsky College of Music in St. Petersburg, Russia. For a few years, she toured Russia and Europe with jazz Big Band led by Gennady Golshtein, “Saxophones of St. Petersburg.” This foundation gave her a strong focal point of style that illuminates her writing and informs her playing.
In 2019, Maque began collaborating and recording her debut album with Los Angeles-based legendary keyboardist and producer Scott Kinsey. The album is filled with six well-crafted originals and three innovative interpretations of well-known classics from the jazz, Brazilian and pop idioms.
Titled Feel Again (out November 19th, 2021), Maque as executive producer, and Kinsey as the music producer, collaborated on the project, taking a few tunes Maque had tracked with local musicians in Seattle and combined them with new sessions tracked in Los Angeles.
Featuring heavyweights such as Gary Novak (George Benson, Chick Corea, Alanis Morrisette), Hadrien Feraud (Thundercat, Chick Corea, Kamasi Washington), GRAMMY-winning guitarist Leonardo Amuedo (Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Chris Botti), the result is a tasteful blend of jazz, funk, Latin, and pop genres.
1. Hey Friend (3:30)
Opening on the majestically beautiful, infectious groove of Hey Friend and the lonesome yearn, seductive and darkened hue of Lover Man, Maque backs those up seamlessly with the rhythmic, well-traversed Jobim tune The Girl From Ipanema (sung in both Portuguese and English), and the free flowing Summer’s breeze of the title track Feel Again.
Up next is the smoothly orchestrated Beatles track And I Love Here (off their A Hard Day’s Night album) and that is in turn followed by the dulcetly beautiful instrumental Weightless, the mid-tempo delights of Autumn Rain, the album rounding out on the thrill of new love on the blithe Chance, closing on the joyful, celebratory Latin rhythms found within the bountiful Like A Song.