The Anna Varga Band performs as a sextet, quartet, trio or duo. Anna has fronted the band for almost a decade playing award winning live improvisational Jazz. She has recorded two studio albums, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Bonjour Tristesse”. This latest album pays tribute to the 1960s and laments how far we have failed to come, since that era, politically and socially. “Bonjour Tristesse” evokes French new wave cinema blending proto-punk vocals with hard bop instrumentation. Her latest single – “These Days”, is a Jackson Browne cover originally sang by Nico of the Velvet Underground.
Anna Varga has an absolutely fantastic voice and this recording helps bring it to life. The subtle textures of her singing come through clearly and the sound-stage is wide with fair depth. The music is very well engineered and doesn’t carry the torch of so many modern recordings that are over-compressed and lifeless.
This recording puts Anna right in front of you, centered in the sound and very clear. Other instruments play in different areas in the sound spectrum and are all very well represented. With the right equipment this album will bring this performance to life in your home and you will feel like you can almost touch the instruments yourself as they play.
As for the music itself, it has been well produced and open with a natural and laid-back feeling that I expect from a great jazz singer. The inclusion of saxophone on the track just adds icing to the already sweet cake. Lyrically the track is engaging with great writing and some excellent imagery. Consider these lyrics: “Well I’ve been out walking / I don’t do that much talking these days / These days / These days I seem to think a lot / About the things that I forgot to do / For you / And all the times I had the chance to”. Now consider that Jackson Browne was sixteen years old when he wrote “These Days”, and you have the measure of the man right there.
Anna Varga interprets “These Days” with the perfect sensitivity and sensibility required to do justice to the track’s lyrical emphasis. If you are looking for something relaxing to ponder over before bed this is it. Also you could play this during a romantic evening. In fact, if you disregard whatever it is Jackson was trying to say at sixteen, the lyrics of this track are open to a variety of personal interpretations.
I’m a total Jackson Browne fan, and I must say that I was overwhelmed Anna’s melodic phrasing on the track. She successfully seduced me as she sang her way through my heart by way
of this classic song. I would imagine that she probably used a trio plus the saxophonist, to help coax those wary feelings from my heart. Besides her performing talents, here Anna Varga also shows a gift for picking out songs which may not quite be standards and shows the world why they should be.