Kaja Draksler Acropolis Quartet was formed in 2006 in The Netherlands. The quartet released their first album "Akropola" in 2008 and their second one "Turku" in 2009 featuring Turkish singer Sanem Kalfa.
"Second album of the young slovenian pianist offers a great difference from her praised debut. This time her quartet is joined by Turkish singer Sanem Kalfa, who was introduced to her during the study in The Netherlands.
Pianist Kaja Draksler surprised the public with her debut "Akropola" last year, which despite her youth (at that time she was only twenty) offers mature, well-rounded performance and arranging of modern jazz repertoire. Draksler presented her work with a quartet collected during her studies in Groningen, The Netherlands. Besides two Slovenian musicians, Kristijan Krajnčan on the drums and Goran Krmac on the tuba, the quartet is completed by Romanian guitarist George Dumitriu.
We should be aware that Draksler's first album was an international ensemble project called Katarchestra, presenting folk music of five European countries in Kaja's arrangements. The songs of "Akropola", her second album were as well inspired by her travels to Greece.
"Turku" is thus not the first encounter of traditional heritage for Kaja Draksler, but this time she approached it different than before, stressing out the jazz invention more than the particular ethnic origin of the songs. Young but experienced musicians approached Turkish music thoughtfully, focusing on nuances and details. Sanem Kalfa combines conventional singing with different vocalizations, among others scat singing. The later she uses only here and there; more as introduction to the traditional Turkish singing, reminding of melismatic singing.
Yet the singer is not "in the front" of the recording, it is so to say equal to the other instruments. Together the five members knit a colorful musical frame which is focused and dramaturgically well thought through. Sometimes the music is calm and other times it is cheerfully playful. When for example the foreground is occupied by electric guitar it reminds us of progressive jazz-rock fusion but in some other moments the guitar is used in atmospheric and etheric purposes. Kaja's playing seems to be in the background of the singing and collective playing, but close listening reveals that pianist wonderfully uses different styles of playing- from lyrical classical playing to infectious rhythmicism and experimental meanders.
Same goes for the drummer and tubist. The two instruments that usually have the role of accompaniment are proved to be versatile sound producers in the hands of Goran Krmac and Kristijan Krajnčan who also wrote a tune for the album. The two musicians are simultaneously succeeding to hold the frames of the songs and give them finesse.
As said before the songs are mostly in calm mood but at the same time boiling from dynamic instrumentation, beautiful contributions of all five musicians and versatile arrangements that create an inner, maybe even cinematic suspensions. Listening to it more than once is definitely beneficial, for the seemingly simple sounding songs slowly reveal themselves as rich compositions in terms of sound, idea and musicality." by Mario Baletić