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Beautiful Review on Jazz.com

 http://www.jazz.com/music/2008/8/29/maryland-55

MARYLAND (FEATURING MARIA NECKAM): 55

CD "Crossing and Blending"

Maria Neckam (vocals),
Franz von Chossy (piano), Valdi Kolli (bass), Uli Genenger (drums),
Niti Ranjan Biswas (tabla)
.
Composed by Maria Neckam


During a recent trip to New York, I wandered into the cellar of an
Italian eatery just off Washington Square, where I was fortunate to
discover an enigmatic young singer-composer named Maria Neckam. It
wasn't just the unaffected clarity or refreshing timbre of her voice,
nor her remarkable range that captured my imagination; it was the
fearless integrity of her musical ideas.

A Viennese expatriate who now calls Brooklyn home, Maria has broken
the mold in many ways, and admits that people either love or hate her
voice. I would say that, if you have an extensive Britney Spears
record collection, you're not likely to be a huge fan. For the rest of
us, there's no denying the purity of her pipes or the control of her
technique. The tone of her voice suggests a violin with a hint of
soprano sax coloration and no hint of affectation. She writes quirky,
provoking, poetic lyrics. Some of her compositions have a decided
Weill-Brechtian flavor, as if written for a 21st-century Threepenny
Opera.

This particular track offers a wistful, spirited head over a Latin 5/4
feel with tasty Indian tabla texturing. There are no lyrics to divert
attention from her unique voice as it glides above a Lydian
dreamscape, backed by an assured, tight group of multinational
musicians. The recording is vibrant, the playing strong and
intuitively supportive.

"How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?" wrote Oscar Hammerstein
about another Austrian songbird named Maria. The answer is
simply…don't. Just open your mind and enjoy.

Reviewer: Bill Barnes