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(2016 – EL TEMPLE RECORDS – Chile)

An absolute knockout release from Chilean avant-jazz fusion exotic vocalist, keyboardist, composer, and performer, Carolina Holzapfel. Her bandmates are Raul Diaz (drums, percussion), and Pablo Contreras (bass). The music actually stretches more boundaries than the avant-jazz label would suggest. For one, there is a big theatrical element, along with various dramatic stylings, classical, folk, rock, and humor visits as well. It is an incredible offering of different looks.

Holzapfel writes all the material and her piano style is a tough one to pin down. A blend of Carla Bley and classical greats would be a good start. Her vocals are even more  difficult to describe, since she can switch gears from operatic, whimsical, daring, sensuous ballad, to easily tackling classical and jazz excursions. Think a mix of Dagmar Krause (Slapp Happy), a mature Lene Lovich, Kate Bush, Toyah, and Flora Purim, gone even more avant. And add a female version of Peter Hammill. That is just a taste.

Some of the compositions get quite huge, with atmospheres added such as post rock, and bring gorgeous endings such as the last track. Although a short recording (approximately 32 minutes), it is rare to get so much packed into ten songs, especially since all tunes stay in the 2-4 minute range. ‘Selfie’ is not avant-garde in the sense of noise or ‘everyone blow it out’ (as some view the avant style), in fact it is very song oriented and easily digested like perfectly prepared gourmet food. I predict Carolina will be massive in the avant-jazz world. A second listen to the debut release brings words like Godhead to the mind. A second release is what dreams will be made of. Simply amazing and SUPREMELY RECOMMENDED.

Reviewed by Lee Henderson  2 – 18 – 2018

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