Alina Bzhezhinska – Inspiration

Album Review | Ubuntu Music | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5

Jazz and the harp have enjoyed some lovely flirtations and full-blown affairs over the years, most notably via the music of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. Now another female artist is ushering the harp into the spotlight. The UK-based Polish musician Alina Bzhezhinska’s second album Inspiration – featuring saxophonist Tony Kofi, bassist Larry Bartley and drummer Joel Prime – has just been unleashed, much to the delight of Alina’s growing fan-base. It comes after several years of collaborations with the cream of the London jazz scene, countless festival appearances and her 2005 solo classical album Harp Recital. How she fits all this in whilst maintaining her tutorship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and London’s Goldsmiths University is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, Inspiration is an album which cannot be adequately described with such limp adjectives as sumptuous and exquisite; it is, in fact, a ten-track deluge of effervescent, enchanting and barrier-smashing meditations on compositions by John and Alice Coltrane, each awash with Alina’s colourful harp swirls and Tony Kofi’s exploratory sax lines. Highlights include the dreamy “Following a Lovely Sky Boat”, featuring Kofi’s soaring soprano sax, and the nine-minute, jaw-dropping ebb and flow of “Journey in Satchidananda”. There are also moments on this album of extraordinary tenderness, especially during “Spero”, a gorgeous mid-point duet from Alina and Tony.