Ta Jana

Od Pulnoci do Trí

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Ta Jana's first album for Black Point displays the shakiness of a first effort. The singer seems to be torn between her acoustic cabaret sound and something more radio-friendly, more contemporary ballad-like. The cabaret setup is definitely the winning formula. Accompanied by pianist Vendelín Tuma, contrabassist Premysl Vágner, and drummer Roman Pluhar, she delivers her heartbreaking songs with credible emotion and a seductive wit, as if to let listeners know she is aware of the torch singer archetype she puts herself into -- the album's title, which translates to "From Midnight to Three," and the fake needle-on-shellac introduction emphasize the context. The inevitable vocal inflections of Marlene Dietrich (they share a similar vocal range, by the way) are tempered by the visceral, almost brutal Slavic pathos. In a few songs, Pluhar turns to a rather cheap keyboard, using preset sounds in unimaginative arrangements that contrast sharply with the acoustic songs. If "Unavená" is salvaged by a strong melody, "Co Bylo Bylo" and "Holubí Jízda" are not so lucky. On her second CD, Do Pul Tela..., Ta Jana fixed most of Od Pulnoci do Trí's flaws, so you might as well start there, although the exuberance of "Poslední Dobou" and "Velkoohradská Lidová" make this one an interesting listen for the modern cabaret enthusiast.

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