Katarina Pejak – Outside Looking In
While I’m not a big fan of electric pianos & their annoying notes I do like the tone of Katarina Pejak’s voice – a tone that is powerful enough to be an effective jazz/easy listening vocalist if she would just embrace more acoustic instruments. The horns are fine & powerful but a grand piano on “Flesh & Blood,” would’ve rendered a good song great. The churchy organ too – makes a chilling tune a little cheesy – and it doesn’t have to be. This is good stuff, nonetheless.
Ms. Pejak has the look of a dynamic chanteuse & she rejuvenates herself with the deep stand-up bass on “Shoot Me Baby.” Here her voice is graced by a wonderful grand piano. The tune has ghostly suggestions of Billie Holiday in the phrasing & is quite effective. It’s an arrangement that holds a listener’s attention. Bravo. This song alone is worth the price of the EP.
The Belgrade/Serbian native’s 4-cut EP Outside Looking In (drops Nov. 20) & while the first cut disappointed me a little (personal taste) the songs that followed are nothing short of vibrant & they have been recorded exceptionally well.
“Silver Little River,” is jazzy, noirish & captivating. Her combination of many genres is also interesting – she would probably interpret Brecht-Weill expressively. Though she doesn’t have a dark voice (Anjani Thomas), or mysterious voice (Bird York), Ms. Pejak has style, wonderful tone & excellent intonation.
She mastered the style she is most comfortable with because she sings with confidence & has a refined phrasing style. I’m still not a big electric piano fan – I think it diminishes the impact. It’s a homogenized musical sound (fine for a thin-voiced pop singer) but with her kind of voice, nothing is better than a grand or upright piano.
The songs are good (“Weeping Wind”) but at times they can lose nutrients. Katarina’s voice is too rich for that approach. She skims the surface of Norah Jones at times. But it has to do with a good producer. She has a wealth of songs, arrangements & voice. There’s nothing wrong with her material – she has good style & when she has that stronger uplifting support from the grand piano, the tight blare of brass & upright bass strings thumping away – she’s hard to beat.
The EP will be available at Bandcamp. Website: https://www.katarinapejakmusic.com/