Ed Partyka’s Jazz Orchestra (EPJO) was launched in Berlin in 2007 – its hallmark is the distinctive, and perhaps globally unparalleled, mix of musical personalities. All-stars from the European big band establishment play side by side with newcomers from the young and hip jazz scenes of Berlin, Amsterdam, Vienna and Prague. Musicians from the USA, Germany, Austria, Holland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic come together, with each of them bringing their own musical language and their typical (or national) sound into the mix. In the words of band leader Ed Partyka, it sounds as follows: “we’re a band with all the ups and downs that life has to offer us humans; births, deaths, separations, divorces, reconciliations and brand new loves. I count myself to be really lucky to have such amazing people around me who bring my music to life and support me and my artistic endeavour. Together we have developed a very unique orchestra sound!”
On ‘Hits! Vol.1’, the singer and composer Julia Oschewsky stands at the centre of musical events as a guest soloist. Born in Mainz and living in Amsterdam, she truly honours the title of the album and presents herself and the musicians on a variety of jazz and pop classics, as well as a repertoire of original compositions. According to Partyka, “a little Fado and indie rock” ensure there is a perfect mix. Ed Partyka arranged all of the pieces specifically for the EPJO and says “in recent years I have repeatedly dedicated myself to the arrangement of songs – something which I never expected would give me so much joy. Arranging Julia Oschewsky’s compositions was a very special treat for me. She is a wonderful singer and composer and moves exceptionally light-footed between styles and languages. She has expanded my musical horizons in many ways.”
For those who already know his music from the past, this recording could, however, be a slight shock, as Ed Partyka remarks in his exquisitely humorous way: “You’re expect dark, depressing music filled with dissonance. And then this. With this recording (at least in long stretches of this recording), things suddenly turn out to be lighter, brighter and a little more hopeful. But of course, I’ve tried to find a balance between this new-found lightness and the moments of wonderful, familiar melancholy.”
But don’t worry! Partyka’s love of the earthy and warm brass sound of the ensemble and the subtle, rather quiet clarinets remain. ‘Hits! Vol.1’ is the familiar and 100% EPJO!