Aga Zaryan, EJBF 2012, Review
George Square’s Salon Elegance became an ocean of smoothness as Polish-born Aga Zaryan took to the stage last night as part of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival.
Dressed in gold sequins, the good ship Aga welcomed the audience to her performance as if they were old friends, even coercing them into helping with a song or two. Accompanied by her four-piece band, she spent two hours singing the poems that had moved her throughout her life.
It’s clear why the 36 year-old singer has been the recipient of so many awards over the last few years, including best female vocalist in jazz forum readers awards four years in a row. Her satin smooth voice bears echoes of the great golden era jazz divas like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
Her appreciation for the band was clearly evident across the whole set as she stood aside to give everyone their moment to shine.
The set as a whole could have done with a little more variation. Much of the material performed came from the new album Living, Walking Being and had a very mellow quality.
It is unlikely that a set from Aga Zaryan will have people leaping up to dance, but her openness and warmth are infectious. Fans of modern jazz might love the arrangements rendered by band pianist Michal Tokaj, but those looking for a more standard trad-jazz fare were most definitely aboard the wrong ship.