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''THE SWEETEST ILLUSION''
(POLONIA, 1994) @
All songs written or co-written by Basia Trzetrzelewska and/or Danny White.
With her smoky voice and silky delivery, Basia Trzetrzelewska (Basia for short) has developed an international following the likes of which she couldn't conceive during her formative years growing up in Poland. Basia's sound is a heady synthesis of musical sources, from pop to jazz. But it's her ultra-cool take on the Brazilian samba which led to the platinum success of TIME AND TIDE and LONDON WARSAW NEW YORK, and made her a staple of Adult Contemporary formats throughout the world.
Basia took a year-and-a-half hiatus from her feverish touring schedule to fashion the richly crafted, exotic musical journey that is THE SWEETEST ILLUSION. The fiery salsa breaks of "Olive Tree" and the latin-styled funk of the title tune are indicative of Basia's signature dance groove, and set her sensual voice and rich vocal overdubs in sharp relief. In addition, THE SWEETEST ILLUSION begins to celebrate aspects of her own culture, as well as dancing musical cousins of the samba. Thus we have the gypsy celebration which concludes "She Deserves It/Rachel's Wedding" and the urban contemporary funk of "My Cruel Ways" (with a nouvelle cuisine sidecar of blues). Elsewhere, her suave mix of jazz instrumentals (like Danny White's mellow, jazz-inflected piano breaks), lush vocal choruses and peppy Latin beats remain at the heart of Basia's work.
But what's most striking about Basia's THE SWEETEST ILLUSION is not merely the immense production detail, but the sense that the singer is coming out from behind her craft to tell us about events and relationships lived in...and not merely observed. "She deserves it but can't get used to so much joy, " she sings on "She Deserves It/Rachel's Wedding, " while on "Perfect Mother" she confronts the inevitable day when every child leaves home and one is no longer needed. Elsewhere she tackles romantic themes with adult grace, making it plain that THE SWEETEST ILLUSION will be topping the charts for many months to come.
Recorded at Whitfield Street Recording Studios, London, England.
Personnel: Basia Trzetrzelewska, Trey Lorenz (vocals); Peter White (guitar, accordion); Andy Ross (guitar, mandolin, bandurria); Gavyn Wright (violin); Tony Pleeth (cello); Chris Margary (flute, alto flute, baritone saxophone); Patrick Clahar (alto & tenor saxophone); Steve Gregory (tenor saxophone); Ronnie Chamberlain (baritone saxophone); Kevin Robinson (trumpet, French horn, flugelhorn, vocals); Fayyaz Virji (trombone); Danny White (keyboards, vocals); Julian Crampton, Andres Lafone, Randy Hope-Taylor (bass); Andy Gangadeen (drums, percussion); Karl Vanden Bossche, Bosco De Oliveria (percussion), Mark Anthoni (background vocals).Q (11/94, p.106) - 3 Stars - Good - "...she's a more versatile vocalist than Sade, whose market she could easily penetrate..."