Anna Kolchina is an up-and-coming young jazz singer from Russia. Since graduating from the St. Petersburg State University of Cultural Arts in 2015, she has recorded three
albums for the Venus label of which Wild Is The Wind is the most recent. While her debut, Street Of Dreams, teamed her with Italian pianist Massimo Farao’s trio in Italy and the follow-up, Dark
Eyes, had a quintet with Farao, the new set is with an American rhythm section.
Ms. Kolichina has a warm voice, an appealing musical personality, does justice to lyrics, and is a subtle improviser. Joined by pianist John Di Martino, bassist Peter
Washington and Willie Jones III, she performs a set of classic songs which includes some superior obscurities.
The swingers are particularly enjoyable including “You Do Something To Me,” a witty “Exactly Like You” (which has some nice scatting), a bossa-nova transformation of “With A
Song In My Heart,” “A Fine Romance” (which includes a surprising pause in the first chorus), and “Day By Day.” The ballads are given quietly passionate treatments by the sensitive singer. She
sounds wistful on “So In Love” and practically speaks the lyrics during part of an intimate “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me.” It is also good to hear such lesser-known songs as “You Won’t Forget Me,”
“Don’t Look Back,” and Irving Berlin’s “You Can Have Him.”
The rhythm section is tasteful and swinging in its accompaniment of Ms. Kolchina. There are plenty of short solo spots along the way for the versatile pianist Di Martino and
bassist Washington, with Jones taking colorful drum choruses on “You Do Something To Me” and “Day By Day.”
Wild Is The Wind is a strong step forward for Anna Kolchina and is easily recommended.
Scott Yanow, jazz journalist/historian and author
of 11 books including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76
Wild Is The Wind
Anna Kolchina's debut Wild is the Wind is a masterclass in ensemble performance. Backed by pianist John di Martino, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Willie Jones, Kolchina is
more an equal quartet member than a singer backed by a trio. This is experienced immediately on the title piece, where Kolchina's delicately-played voice peeks out from behind Washington's gentle
bass playing as it directs the remainder of the arrangement. It is a stunningly organic musical effect that increases the intimacy of the performance greatly. This approach characterizes the
remaining tunes, all "standards" to one degree or another. The engineering captures the music three-dimensionally, where the listener can almost walk among the musicians as they perform.
Another element to note about this recording is its programing. The album is made up of 14 love songs... all kinds of love songs. On one hand there is the
tentative cynicism introducing "You Do Something To Me," and maturing in "So In Love," while a completely different love aspect is studied in the loss-lessening "Don't Look Back," "It Never Was
You," and "You Can Have Him." In all the different settings, Kolchina uses her refined, yet street-smart voice to finely hone the song she is presenting. The totality of approach
on Wild is the Wind makes it an event in itself. While Kolchina's voice is less than perfect, it is perfect in that her vocals betray a knowing and
aware character not afraid to show its wounds in its vulnerability, while telegraphing a warning to the listener that it has been all places and knows all things.