Janita: No Words
Seasons of Life (Ofir Music / Lightyear 54722)
Tomi Sachary (keyboards, guitar), Jonathan Maron (bass), Antonio Sanchez (drums), Daniel Sadownick (percussion), Daniel Moreno (percussion).
Composed by Janita and Tomi Sachary.
Recorded: CD released in 2006
Rating: 89/100 (learn more)
Crossover projects like this run the risk of pleasing no one. Too jazzy for pop fans, and too pop-oriented for jazzcats. Is there a market in the middle, where pop, jazz and world music all meet together, but don't succumb to the mind-numbing sameness of smooth jazz? I hope so for Janita's sake. She has built her Seasons of Life CD on a strong foundation—great melodic material, well sung and stylishly played. This Finnish-born singer enjoyed some successes at a very young age, and had toured extensively around her native country before her 17th birthday, but she decided that a big career required a move to New York. This 2006 releases suggests that she made the right move, and even if it hasn't made a splash, it has left behind some very big ripples. Janita reminds me of Basia, who also elevated the crossover category for a spell in the late 1980s. And like Basia (born Basia Trzetrzelewska in Jaworzno, Poland), Janita has assimilated a large dose of the Brazilian idiom into her music. They both even dropped their last names, just like a Brazilian World Cup star. Call it the North Europe bossa nova, if you will, but the sound has a crisp rightness that begs for airplay.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia