THE BALLADS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD simply develops as a whole, gradually, going through successive phases with a brief instrumental solo appearing from time to time, after which it ends.
Karnas produced this CD. The instrumentation of the accompanying group is distinctive - although actually, it's not so much an accompanying group as it is musicians who, collectively, enable Karnas to better express his thoughts. Tenor sax, cello, synthesized sounds and percussion instruments - that's all. Fender-Rhodes electric piano and guitar make no more than guest appearances.
I get the impression that Karnas knows exactly what he wants - and what's more, that he was able to realise his intentions here. This feeling emanates from the music itself, from the certainty with which he embarks upon his experimental, uncharted digressions, momentarily resuming his initial train of thought.
Karnas is an exceptionally fine singer - although that designation doesn't fully reflect the quality of the project, the whole of which he subordinates his vocal talents to. This album is the result of well over a year's work on his part, realised between 2004 and 2005, and bears witness to the fact that projects such as this one are much more than just the result of musicians casually meeting in a recording studio.
"Karnas interprets standards with incredible inventiveness; it's been quite some time since such imagination has been seen in the jazz vocals genre."
Grzegorz Karnas. Born in Upper Silesia, Poland, to a family devoid of musical traditions. Finished one year of classical guitar at the secondary music school in Rybnik. Graduate of the Jazz Institute of the Academy of Music in Katowice, considered prestigious in Poland.
Karnas has worked with top-line younger artists of Poland's jazz scene( Michał Tokaj, Krzysztof „Dzida” Dziedzic, Adam Kowalewski, Łukasz Żyta or famous ECM label artists such as Michał Miśkiewicz and Sławomir Kurkiewicz), as well as its legends (Tomasz Szukalski, Kazimierz Jonkisz ). In 1998, he was awarded first prize at the International Jazz Vocalists' Meeting in Zamość. The following year, his debut album "Reinkarnasja" (Nottwo 2002) was released and put Karnas on the road touring throughout the main clubs and festivals in Poland and Slovakia (International Jazz Pianists' Festival in Kalisz, Bratislava Jazz Days, Jazz Jamboree at Polish Radio Concert Studio). Summer of 2004 saw the premiere of Grzegorz Karnas' self-produced solo project "Sny-Dreams of a Ninth Floor" (DeBies 2004) promotion of which took place with a series of over 30 concerts in Poland (Warsaw Summer Jazz Days), Slovakia and Czech Republic, Prague Jazz Open, Jazz Goes To Town in Hradec Kralove , International Jazz Festival in Kosice), Germany, Romania (Sibu Jazz Festival) and many others. Karnas has finished working on a new album “Ballads for the End of the World” featuring brilliant silesian cello player Adam Oleś. Promotions of both projects are forseen in 2006/07. In 2006 Karnas was awarded first prize at Young Jazz Singers Competition Brussels.
"Karnas' singing – regardless of whether it's lyrics, syllabics or scat – is never for show; it's always music. Vocalists are probably a bit more susceptible to the lure of “shining” at all costs than are other instrumentalists. Karnas doesn't care about shining. He wants to make music. This is audible in every composition, in every measure he sings. Karnas should also be appreciated not only for talent and vision, but for will-power, self-control, and possessing the level of humility that's essential to keep art from becoming a spectacle."
"There is no mannerism to Karnas's singing. One could even say that his poetic texts create an additional level on which a listener receives him, something rarely encountered in this type of music."
IX MEZINÁRODNÍ JAZZ & BLUES FESTIVAL ÚSTí NAD LABEM
"Karnas scats with verve, has an excellent feel for phrasing, and raps intelligently, employing irony with sophistication. Besides that he has a characteristic, slightly raspy-sounding voice that intrigues the ear and focuses the attention of the listener.