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Friday, Jun 13 2008 | 12:38

An eclectic voice – mellow, unvarnished and full of warmth. While pop music spins with even greater glare and über-sound effects, Mystéfy engrosses with pure sensibility. Piano, double bass and drums are enough background for a tantalizing lounge jazz album: Spark Within. Produced by Christian Prommer (Drumlesson).

The inner spark glows bright indeed: the twelve album songs were recorded in late September ’07 in Munich, Germany – they’re lively, fresh and at the same time they spread calmness. “I never wanted to sing anything but jazz. I tried. But whether rock songs or arias in my (classical) vocal training years – during singing I had a feeling of observing myself – and that’s as ‘good’ as still being able to think during love making – it may be ‘nice’, but definitely not fantastic. While singing jazz I’m in different spheres, and that’s what it must feel like for me… the only other music I sing with conviction is soul.”

Nine songs were self-penned by Mystéfy (lyrics & song melodies) and Co-Songwriter Roberto DiGioia (Harmonies), who is also the pianist on the CD (and known for playing with Klaus Doldinger’s Passport, Joe Lovano, Albert Mangelsdorff, and his very own project Marsmobil). The trio was completed by worldclass bassist Dieter Ilg (e.g. Rebekka Bakken, Charlie Mariano, Till Brönner) and drummer Matteo Scrimali (e.g. Freundeskreis, Max Herre). Christian Prommer (recently making mad noise with his Drumlesson project, nut also known as part of Fauna Flash, Trüby Trio and Voom Voom) functioned as a producer.

Jimmy Somerville (Bronski Beat / The Communards), someone who seldom agrees to collaborate with other singers, was taken by Mystéfy’s unique voice – and it was decided to record the duet “I Will”, originally sung by Dean Martin. Jimmy & Mystéfy found out only in the studio (there was no rehearsal prior to recording the tune) that their voices, phrasing and vibrato harmonised in an exceptional way.

Apart from “I Will” there is only a second cover version on the album: “Lady Grinning Soul” a song by David Bowie. “I grew up listening to Bowie, I heard his early stuff when I was 8, was the biggest fan at 12 – and so this is my tip of the hat to my former idol. Basically, I’m a rock chick with the voice of a jazz diva, so it’s still homogenous …”.

Mystéfy’s background is that of a live performer in clubs and bars of Germany (where she grew up), but also UK. She is and was always up for a challenge, jamming with a local club combo with no rehearsal, or leadsheet. “If you have a major repertoire of jazz songs / standards and know them by heart, and are aware of your voice and its range, there is nothing to fear on stage”, says Mystéfy, who is a resident of Canada since 2006. For German TV shows she filled in as choir singer for Barbara Hendricks or Petula Clark – enjoying wearing whacky dresses and the major TV make up, that changes your whole personality. It took a while, though, before Mystéfy put her own talent into the focus – and it was other musicians like Roger Odell (Shakatak), Jimmy Somerville or Jeff Healey, who thought Mystéfy can go all the way to the top and encouraged her to record a CD.

Maybe the prophecy of rock legend Ray Davies (The Kinks) will come true, who told Mystéfy: “You are a star!” after he heard her sing at a jazz session in 2004 in London’s north. One thing’s for sure: with Mystéfy you never know whom she’ll charm next …

Tracklisting:

01. Stardust I Keep
02. Headstrong
03. Spark Within
04. Eye Candy
05. Beware
06. I Dream Of You
07. I Will (Solo)
08. Bye Bye Baby
09. Lady Grinning Soul
10. Black And White World
11. A Garden For Two
12. I Will (With Jimmy Somerville)

The album MystefySpark Within” (Compost Records) has been released July 4, 2008.

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