Ukrainian–Polish harpist Alina Bzhezhinska was interviewed in DownBeat, following the release of her debut album, Inspiration, in June. The album is a tribute to Alice Coltrane, a mix of favorites from the Alice and John Coltrane songbooks and Bzhezhinska’s original compositions. “Last year was the year of Alice Coltrane’s 80th birthday and the 10th year since she died… I thought it would be wonderful to celebrate this massive anniversary,” Bzhezhinska tells interviewer Mark McNeill. “I started digging deeply into their legacy. I studied their music and learned about their private life.” Bzhezhinska’s band, made up of saxophonist Tony Kofi, drummer Joel Prime, and double bassist Larry Bartley, sound “totally on board with Bzhezhinska’s arc toward transcendence,” says McNeill, who praises the combo for their “adept” playing. The profile highlights Bzhezhinska’s compositional approach, as well as what elements of Coltrane’s music she evokes. You can find the interview here.
Bzhezhinska, who splits her time between London and Edinburgh, is classically trained, having studied at the F. Chopin Acadmy of Music in Warsaw and the University of Arizona. She teaches at Goldsmith’s University in London and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Visit her website to learn more about her or purchase the album here.