Milan Svoboda Prague Big Band

(CD Cube-Metier 2008 – MJCD2842)
All titles composed, arranged and conducted by Milan Svoboda

Prague Big Band is:

Martin Plachy, Marcel Barta, Tomas Kremenak, Milan Krajic, Pavel Pivarci – saxophones
Zdenek Sedivy, Stanislav Zeman, Radek Nemec, Michal Gera – trumpets
Premysl Tomsicek, Svatopluk Kosvanec, Jan Vimr – trombones,
Filip Spaleny – tuba,
Krystof Marek – piano,
Jiri Simek – guitar
Tomas Liska – bass,
Ivan Audes – drums

Recorded at Studio A CR Karlin, June – July, 2007.

Achat 2007

Nika Diamant – vocal
Tomáš Liška – double bass
Jaroslav Friedl – guitars

If you’re going to set yourself up with a brilliant and shiny name then you’d better be prepared to offer up a brilliant and shiny act. After all, diamonds and graphite are both carbon, with only arrangement and lustre marking one from the other. However Achat is certainly more of a sparkler than a pencil lead, and deserves a wider audience.

Nika’s debut album mainly consists of standards, but with many of them presented in a non-standard format. The golden thread that runs through the album is Diamant’s excellent voice. She is able to sing in English with
ease, betraying enough of an accent to add interest but not enough to obscure her crystal clear enunciation. Fast-paced opener “Love me or leave me” (Walter Donaldson / Gus Kahn) is a veritable breathy tumble of words, falling rapidly and energetically enough to trip up any unsure vocalist. On the other hand her treatment of “Jersey Girl” (Tom Waits) is languid and sweet with each note and, just as importantly, each pause held to a perfect length.
The most un-standard track on the album has to be Leonard Cohen’s “Dance me to the end of love”, but with Czech lyrics (Tango pro dva) written by ND. It is always good to see Czech artists throwing in something that doesn’t appeal immediately to the English-speaking world; sometimes it feels like the Czech language does not exist on the stages of Prague’s clubs. It is an original touch, deftly delivered.

The instrumental work on Achat complements ND’s singing, enhancing without drowning out. This is a band that is not afraid to leave space for the music to breathe, effectively coming to the fore only when required. A prime example can be found on “It ain’t necessarily so” (Gershwin/Gershwin), which starts off almost idly and dreamlike until the drums kick in, Diamant turns it up a notch, and finally Jaroslav Friedl floods the soundscape with overdriven guitar effects. Robert Fripp hits Vegas!

A particular highlight is a soaring and emotive rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Edith and the Kingpin”, but “Spoonful” (Willie Dixon) is the standout track by a long chalk. It is not performed as the heavy blues number, done so perfectly by Cream and many others, but instead it is a brooding, swirling ache. Tomáš Liška does some nifty work on acoustic bass, including some moody discordant bowing, but it really is the singer that carries the song.

Listening to Achat’s eight tracks is a pleasing, if not always demanding, experience and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a good album but you can’t help feeling that if Diamant was to take a few more risks, and get a bit more experimental, she could produce a truly great one. However, to date, this is the best example of her craft available on CD.

Nika has dropped off the radar in 2008, but hopefully this means that there is a new project in the offing. Meanwhile samples from the album can be heard at her website. More news when we get it…


Arta Records 2006

  1. Carioca Sol Y Umbra – Jaroslav Jezek 5:47
  2. Tequilla – Chuck Rio 6:31
  3. Lesson No. 5 – Tomas Liska 8:20
  4. Suffering Of Ferda The Ant (Utrpeni Ferdy Mravence) – Ondrej Kabrna 10:05
  5. La Dolce Vita – Robert Stolba 5:42
  6. The Girl From Prague – Ondrej Kabrna 9:44
  7. Caravan – Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, Juan Tizol 9:19

Ondřej Kabrna – piano
Tomáš Liška – acoustic bass
Marek Prokop – alto and soprano saxophones
Jan Dvořák – drums

Cube Metier 2006

  1. Devil’s Rocks (Radek Krampl)
  2. Memories Of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett)
  3. Witch Hunt (Wayne Shorter)
  4. Dolly From Vienna (Radek Krampl)
  5. Dirty Dozen (Radek Krampl)
  6. Foot Prints (Wayne Shorter)
  7. Blue In Green (Miles Davis)
  8. Yes Or No (Wayne Shorter)
  9. Pasians (Radek Krampl)

Radek Krampl – vibraphone, malletkat
Tomáš Liška – acoustic bass
Martin Vondra – sax
Pavel Razím – drums


Popron Music 2006

  1. Hora ledová
  2. Kristýna
  3. Lán
  4. Patřím jinam
  5. Pod sluneční bránou
  6. Prsten
  7. Soukromý nebe
  8. Souznění
  9. Tančírna Svět
  10. Untill I hear from you
  11. Věřím svým snům
  12. Že tu stával dům
  13. Zlato nech mě být

Věra Martinová – vocal, guitar
Lenka Slavíkvá – vocal
Tomáš Liška – acoustic bass, electric fretless
Jamie Marshall – vocal, guitar
Beata Hlavenková – piano, keyboards
Jarda Petrásek – drums


1. Be My Woman (Lukas Martinek)

  1. Chevrolet (E. Young)
  2. Up The Line (L. W. Jacobs)
  3. Hoochie Coochie Man (M.Waters)
  4. Thrill Is Gone (R.Hawkins)
  5. Stormy Monday (T. B. Walker)

Lukáš Martínek – guitar
Ondřej Pivec – piano
Tomáš Liška – acoustic bass
Roman Vícha – drums


1. Ossian (Holy Wells of Ireland)

  1. Ossian – instr.
  2. Letní romance
  3. Řada snů (Series of Dreams)
  4. Marcipán z Toleda
  5. Když jsem jí zpíval
  6. Až nás smrt rozdělí
  7. Señore (Señor – Tales of Yankee Power)
  8. Dívka ze severu (Girl of the North Country)
  9. Prostři mi plátnem (Na Hu O Ho)
  10. Sbohem, Angelino (Farewell Angelina)
  11. May Morning Dew / The Snows They Melt The Soonest / Tribute To Peadar O’Donnell
  12. Tumbleweed
  13. Wings of Horses
  14. Land of the Navajo
  15. Moonlight Midnight
  16. V nevysokých horách
  17. Až si jednou sundám boty
  18. Každé zrnko písku (Every Grain of Sand)
  19. Ještě není tma (Not Dark Yet)
  20. Telegrafní cesta (Telegraph Road)
  21. Ještě jedno kafe (One More Cup of Coffee)
  22. Kdo to obchází můj dům (Who’s That Knockin’ At My Door)
  23. Wayfaring Stranger
  24. Na Španělských schodech

Robert Křesťan a Druhá tráva

Robert Křesťan – zpěv, mandolína, kytara
Luboš Malina – banjo, irské píšťaly, mandolína, tenor saxofon, zpěv
Luboš Novotný – dobro, lapsteel
Emil Formánek – kytara, zpěv
Tomáš Liška – kontrabas, basová kytara
Kamil Slezák – bicí nástroje, cajon

Peter Rowan – zpěv, kytara (13, 14, 15, 16, 24)
Kateřina García – zpěv, irská píšťala (10, 11, 12, 24)
Pepa Malina – housle
Steve Walsh – elektrická kytara