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  • Jonathan Widran


In the era where CDs were the predominant form of music consumption, it was fairly common for artists to create artful, sometimes eyepopping packaging to more intensely engage the listener and encourage a deeper dive into album concepts as they ventured into the music.

On Ester Wiesnerova’s exquisite, rhythmically and harmonically eclectic debut album Blue Journal – a truly international affair featuring musicians from the U.S., UK, Japan and her native Slovakia, the emerging vocalist fashions a richly textures emotionally impactful journey via her sultry, ethereal, Astrud Gilberto flavored cool and poetic, insightful and sometimes socio-politically incisive lyrics.

Those who want to enjoy her soul stirring vibe and fascinating phrasing and wordplay in the modern mode of streaming will enjoy the vocal jazz experience of a lifetime – and the breakthrough of a powerful new artist. But Ester, truly wanting to create a multi-faceted sensory experience, enhances the musical journey with the kind of lush, imaginative and colorful packaging the jazz world has not seen in ages. True to the project’s title, the CD is couched in a book covered in blue cloth, featuring pages of photos of the artist, unique color-faded photos of nature, instruments and musicians and her enticing lyrics, the English opposite her native Slovak.

There are also ample empty pages should the listener be inspired to journal about life, love, hope, how nature is a metaphor for life, nostalgia for simpler times and the edgier topics she covers like the superficiality of social media relationships (“Thirsty”), the immigrant experience in the Trump and post-Trump era (the largely improvised “Burrito,” and the need to impress by putting on airs (“Feet Are Screaming”). Ester’s incredible array of songs hold up just fine without the packaging, but treat yourselves to a full immersion and you’ll better discover the true essence of one of jazz’s most exciting new artists.


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