Elena Suchánková-Sonenshine –
CD You Go to My Head

Since she came onto Prague’s music scene in 1992, Elena has risen quickly to become one of the Czech Republic’s top jazz vocalists. Based in Prague, Elena performs with her own band, Jocose Jazz, in Prague’s top jazz clubs and at jazz festivals in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany. Jocose Jazz has won acclaim for its unique orchestration, which includes vibraphone, bass, guitar and drums, and on occasion, a guest woodwind soloist. Jocose arrangements include original compositions, as well as works by Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Billy Strayhorn, Jerome Kern, Horace Silver, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Cole Porter. With the popular 1920s and 30s salon orchestra, Causa Bibendi, Elena presents a completely different repertoire. Causa Bibendi features an ensemble including violins, bass, guitar, clarinet and saxophone. The orchestra takes its audience back to the days of speak-easies and ragtime. Elenas broadcast work includes live performances with Radio Big Band Prague as well as shows on Czech TV with Jocose Jazz and Causa Bibendi. Her recording work includes CDs with Causa Bibendi (Opus One and Blue World), Twin Quartet (Twin Q + Elena), and her solo debut, You Go to My Head. Elena is a graduate of the Jaroslav Jezek Conservatory in Prague. The Czech music magazine Harmonie Review reviewed Elenas CD almost immediately after it was released. Here’s a translation of the review: Elena Suchankovas delightful and inspirational album "You Go To My Head" with it’s all-encompassing professionalism comes as a pleasant surprise as these qualities are unusual for the Czech jazz scene. The album, packaged in a luxuriously designed digipack complete with all the lyrics, is further characterised by an extraordinary acoustic plasticity combined with stylish and sensitive instrumentation and carefully worked out arrangements by Suchankova, Mirek Linka and bassist Jerome Davies. Respect is due to them for including original compositions. From the very start in "You And The Night And The Music" the arrangement, and in particular the guitar, put you in mind of Cassandra Wilson’s ground-breaking album "Till The Dawn". But this is not the only facet of the music -the guitar of Mirek Linka, Milos Vacik’s percussion, Radek Krampl’s vibraphone and Jiri Mucha’s sitar and tampura compliment each other to make listening to the album a pleasurable experience time after time. Likewise the guest soloists deliver excellent performances; Frantisek Kucera is in his element adding a sublime touch of Miles Davis, the sax of Frantisek Kop is unmistakable, Radek Rybar’s violin shines and shimmers and there are some truly brilliant moments from pianist Mark Aanderud. Every member of the ensemble combines like colours on a canvas. Elenas mature and heart-felt, sometimes soulful, othertimes almost whispered vocal gives the impression of being intentionally just another colour in the palette and indeed sometimes is the scat/vocalise sections are most refreshing. However, it is her voice that gives meaning to the music and the essential feminine dimension. In terms of genre everything is within the boundaries of jazz, but with some tasteful pop references. Linka’s "My heart Skips A Beat" see’s Elena embrace this more upfront style and her delivery is full of impetus and passion. The outstanding moment when the singer captures the listeners’ emotions, ably assisted by Mark Aanderud is in the beautifully paced Horace Silver ballad "Lonely Woman".

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