Tia Brazda – Bandshell (2015)

Tia Brazda - Bandshell (2015)
Artist: Tia Brazda
Album: Bandshell
Genre: Vocal Jazz
Origin: Canada
Released: 2015
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps

Hard Luck
Just Like That
Old Fashioned Love
All Mixed Up
Waste of Time
Mr. Mystery
Breathe Easy
All For You


Tia Brazda is a Canadian jazz vocalist and Bandshell is her debut full-length album. it was released in 2015 under Flatcar Records and Fontana North.

In a volatile mix of blues, pop, and speakeasy jazz, Bandshell is fiery and full of attitude. Brazda’s reminds me a little bit of the late Amy Winehouse. While she has less of a growl in her voice, Brazda’s smoky voice and a nonchalant and relaxed air about the way she sings sounds very reminiscent of Winehouse’s style. Lyrically, it’s stereotypical jazz – lots and lots of love songs. Not just about falling in love – falling out of love, rejection, acceptance, and desires. None of it is groundbreaking, but it’s certainly easy on the ears. There’s nothing cringeworthy about any of it. Her backing band is sharp. The instrumentation is certainly interesting as it includes ukuleles, trombones, trumpets, an occasional accordion, strong string section, and a grooving rhythm section. It does get very “pop-y” now and again, but the album as a whole is good enough that it can be forgiven.

This having been said, there are some issues with flow. Certain tunes, like “Hard Luck” and “Waste of Time” (links below), sound very much like the music one might hear coming out the 1920s and 1930s. Other songs, such as “Mr. Mystery” and “Breathe Easy,” take their influence from the film noir cool jazz era of the last 1940s and 1950s. Still others, “All for You” and “Just Like That” for example, seem to be from a jazzy pop album that was released in the past decade. In other words, there’s material here that could easily cover three albums. If I had a choice, I would not have the last of the three styles, as it doesn’t quite fit in the album’s overarching style.

Overall, I found Bandshell a pleasurable listen. There were no major risks taken here, but it still can maintain a listener’s attention, if not for its jerkiness, then certainly for Ms. Brazda’s voice. Is one of the best things I’ve heard? No, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to listen to.

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