Monday, December 22, 2014

Polish Jazz TOP TEN 2014 by Tomek Łuczak


As usual at the end of the year we publish our lists of best recordings released in the given calendar year in which Polish musicians have participated. This list is the effect of combining four separate lists arranged by Maciej Nowotny, Mateusz Magierowski, Tomek Łuczak and Adam Baruch, who all constitute our editorial office. On four consecutive days we we will publish our separate individual lists. We hope that this will be a lot of fun for our readers and eventually it will also help you to get a grip of what was the most interesting in Polish Jazz in year 2014.

Tomek Łuczak TOP TEN Polish Jazz 2014:

1. Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra – Nature Moves
2. Jachna/Tarwid/Karch – Sundial
3. Dąbrowski/Davis/Drury – Vermilion Tree
4. Innercity Ensemble – II
5. Malerai/Goldstein/Masecki – Preparing To Dance-New Yiddish Songs
6. Piotr Wojtasik Quartet – Amazing Twelve
7. ELMA – Hic Et Nunc
8. Second Exit – Spoon
9. Piotr Damasiewicz Quartet – Mnemotaksja
10. Piotr Lemańczyk Quartet North – Baltic Dance

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR 
Wojciech Jachna

DEBUT OF THE YEAR 
Kuba Płużek – First Album

REISSUE OF THE YEAR
Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 14 – Jazz Jamboree 63’ Vol. 03

EVENT OF THE YEAR
Creativity and quality of the vocal albums with Grażyna Auguścik Orchestar, ELMA, Grzegorz Karnas, Wojciech Myrczek, Krystyna Stańko, Sylwia Białas as examples.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

POLISH JAZZ 2014 TOP TEN ALBUMS!!!


POLISH JAZZ BLOGSPOT TOP 2014

1. Jachna/Tarwid/Karch – Sundial 32
2. Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra – Nature Moves 24
3. ELMA – Hic Et Nunc 15
4. Grażyna Auguścik Orchestar – Inspired By Lutosławski 14
5. Piotr Wojtasik Quartet – Amazing Twelve 13
6. Dąbrowski/Davis/Drury – Vermilion Tree 12
7. Maciej Fortuna/Krzysztof Dys – Maciejewski Variations 11
8. Piotr Damasiewicz Quartet – Mnemotaksja 10
9. Sebastian Zawadzki – Luminescence 9
10. Grzegorz Karnas Trio feat. Miklos Lukacs – Vanga 8

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR:

Wojtek Jachna

It could be a surprise to many as Wojtek likes to keep low profile. But in purely artistic terms we find him this year in so many, so diverse and so excellent projects (among them the best albums of our list) that this was easy and unanimous choice:

Jachna/Tarwid/Karch - Sundial
Innercity Ensemble – II 

DEBUT OF THE YEAR
Kuba Płużek – First Album

BEST REISSUE

SPECIAL AWARDS OF THE YEAR:

This one was quite hard this year with so much things going on our scene. But we would like to register following phenomena:

- an astounding number and quality of solo albums. Among many those by Piotr Orzechowski, Jacek Mazurkiewicz, Ksawery Wójciński, Paweł Szamburski, Kuba Płużek, Kuba Stankiewicz and Hubert Zemler all deserving the highest accolade,

- creativity and quality of the vocal albums with Grażyna Auguścik Orchestar, ELMA, Grzegorz Karnas, Krystyna Stańko, Sylwia Białas as examples,

- great number and outstanding quality of numerous jazz festivals organized in our country (Bielska Jesień Jazzowa, Made in Chicago, Krakowska Jesień Jazzowa, Jazztopad, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, Enter Jazz Festival, Jazzart, Singer Jazz Festival to name just a few).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Adam Pieronczyk Quartet – A-Trane Nights (2014)

Adam Pierończyk Quartet

Adam Pierończyk - tenor & soprano saxophones
Adrian Mears - trombone, didgeridoo
Anthony Cox - double bass
Krzysztof Dziedzic - drums

A-Trane Nights



FOR TUNE 0040

By Adam Baruch

This is an "archival" album by the veteran Polish Jazz saxophonist/composer Adam Pierończyk and his quartet, which also includes Australian (living in Germany) trombonist/didgeridoo player Adrian Mears, American bassist Anthony Cox and Polish drummer Krzysztof Dziedzic. The music was recorded live at the Berlin A-Trane International Jazz Club (hence the title) in 2008, immediately following the studio recording of the same material, which was released a couple of years later as "El Buscador" on the German Jazzwerkstatt label, on which Pierończyk releases his albums in the last few years. The album presents eight original compositions, seven of which were composed by Pieronczyk and one which was co-composed by Pierończyk and Mears, exactly the same as the studio album and in almost identical sequence.

Naturally these live versions are expanded and provide a much broader basis both for individual explorations and ensemble interplay. Three of the pieces have a duration of over fifteen minutes and two others of over ten minutes, which obviously emphasizes the relaxed atmosphere and creative frame of mind of the quartet members at the time.

The music is quite deceiving, as it does sound a bit simplistic at first, but careful listening reveals a depth much beyond the exterior layer of the melodic themes in each of the pieces. There is an intrinsic dimension of freedom in this music, which never actually crosses over to the avant-garde or even free form, but is sufficiently removed from straightforward mainstream to be both aesthetically elegant and intellectually intriguing. As I have already said on previous occasions, Pierończyk seems to have developed a niche of his own within modern Jazz, which came to full fruition on his recent solo saxophone album "The Planet Of Eternal Life".

The sound of the quartet is another challenge; a pianoless saxophone and trombone/didgeridoo fronted ensemble is obviously significantly less "user friendly" than a traditional harmonically supported lineup. But whatever is lost from the absence of the piano is gained by the sonic space stretched between the brass instruments. The "air" or empty space plays a significant role in the overall effect the quartet members achieve collectively as a group.

Of course the individual performances are all quite splendid. Pierończyk has a superbly mellow tone, which contrasts nicely with the somewhat rough trombone and didgeridoo sound. The soloists are supported admirably by the rhythm section, which of course is solid like a rock and flexible like a breeze.

Big kudos is due to For Tune for putting this music out and saving it from getting stale and lost in the tunnels of history, as it surely deserves to see the light of day and make the music lovers happy!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Maciej Fortuna/Krzysztof Dys - Maciejewski Variations (2014)

Maciej Fortuna/Krzysztof Dys

Maciej Fortuna - trumpet
Krzysztof Dys - piano

Maciejewski Variations

DUX 1151





By Mateusz Magierowski

Ostatnimi czasy jazzmani znad Wisły zwykli coraz częściej w swojej twórczości nawiązywać do bogatego dorobku polskich kompozytorów muzyki poważnej. Szczególnie budujące są przynajmniej trzy aspekty tego zjawiska. Po pierwsze, podstawowym punktem odniesienia przestaje być odczytany już chyba przez polskich jazzmanów na każdy możliwy sposób Fryderyk Chopin, a bodźcem w procesie twórczym stają się dlań chociażby dokonania Witolda Lutosławskiego czy Krzysztofa Pendereckiego. Po drugie, ich utwory nie zostają odczytane literalnie, ale pełnią jedynie rolę zapalnika i katalizatora w procesie własnej działalności improwizatorskiej. Po trzecie - grupę muzyków zainspirowanych bardziej współczesnym dorobkiem polskiej muzyki klasycznej tworzą przede wszystkim jazzmani wciąż mniej lub bardziej młodzi – od Piotra Orzechowskiego i jego realizowanych solo ("Penderecki: Experiment") lub w kwartecie High Definition ("Bukoliki" Lutosławskiego) przedsięwzięciach poczynając, na Macieju Garbowskim i jego projektach z RGG Trio (album "Szymanowski") czy Lutosławski Collective kończąc. 

Do tej grupy zaliczyć również należy Macieja Fortunę i Krzysztofa Dysa, którzy przed rokiem zachwycili świetnym krążkiem "Tropy", bowiem w końcówce bieżącego roku na sklepowe półki trafiła wydana nakładem DUX Recording Producers płyta "Maciejewski Variations". Podczas gdy na "Tropach" pretekstem do improwizowanego dialogu były przygotowane uprzednio przez pianistę i trębacza tematy, na ich najnowszym albumie analogiczną funkcję pełnią struktury kompozycji Romana Maciejewskiego - twórcy docenianego przez Szymanowskiego i Rubinsteina, ale jednocześnie pozostającego w cieniu innych współczesnych polskich kompozytorów - Pendereckiego, Lutosławskiego i Góreckiego.

Materiał zapisany na krążku "Maciejewski Variations" został zarejestrowany 18 i 19 sierpnia bieżącego roku w kościele pod wezwaniem Miłosierdzia Bożego w Trzęsaczu - tym samym, w którym nagrywano również wspomniane "Tropy". Na tym nie kończą się analogie pomiędzy dwiema ostatnimi płytami duetu, spośród których najistotniejszą jest jakość wykonywanej muzyki. W wariacjach Dysa i Fortuny na temat twórczości Maciejewskiego kameralistyczna, nastrojowa oszczędność splata się z ujętym w koncepcyjne karby żywiołem improwizowania. Efektem tego mariażu staje się charakterystyczna dla muzyki duetu brzmieniowa specyfika, kreująca aurę przesyconą zarówno melancholijną kontemplacyjnością, jak i mroczną dramaturgią, przywodzącą na myśl inny świetny, nagrany w sakralnej przestrzeni duetowy krążek - "Gottland" Tomasza Stańki i Nilsa Landgrena. Analogia ta nie była zapewne żadną miarą intencją Fortuny i Dysa, którzy starają się zaznaczyć swój kolektywny głos na polskiej scenie improwizowanej, co zasłużenie udaje im się w coraz większym stopniu. To bez wątpienia od początku do końca ich własny głos, bo nawet jeśli - jak ma to miejsce w przypadku "Maciejewski Variations" - sięgają w poszukiwaniu inspiracji do dorobku innych twórców, nie traktują ich odtwórczo i czołobitnie, czego dowodem prócz samej muzyki jest również sama okładka albumu. Można się spierać, czy improwizacji jest na "Maciejewski Variations" więcej, czy też mniej niż na "Tropach" - dla mnie najistotniejszy jest fakt, że Fortuna i Dys konsekwentnie podążając obraną drogą stworzyli kolejną frapującą muzyczną propozycję, wartą nie tyle wielokrotnego odsłuchu, co niejednokrotnego się w nią wsłuchania.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Grazyna Auguscik Orchestar – Inspired By Lutoslawski (2014)

Grażyna Auguścik Orchestar

Grażyna Auguścik - vocals
Jan Smoczyński Trio
Janusz Prusinowski Trio
Atom String Quartet

Inspired By Lutosławski

FOR TUNE 0044



By Adam Baruch

This extraordinary album is a superb example of intelligent contemporary music, which is completely unlimited by the imaginary bounds set up by genres and other labeling concepts. Polish vocalist Grażyna Auguścik embarked on this ambitious project with the help of some of the most important musicians on the Polish scene, who cover a wide scope of stylistic spheres including Classical Music, Folklore and Jazz, all of which have been already visited by her during her prolific career.

The music combines Polish Folk songs and the work of the esteemed Polish modern Classical composer Witold Lutosławski, which were based on or inspired by Polish Folklore. Lutosławski, like all the composers living and working behind the Iron Curtain, was forced (directly or indirectly) by the regimes ruling Eastern Europe at the time, to include folkloristic motives in his compositions, often completely artificially and against all aesthetic or compositional reasoning. The refusal to do so would effectively mean an artistic ban by the authorities and in extreme cases political persecution. The compositions included here were created by Lutoslawski in the 1950s, the most oppressive period in the Socialist era, and for many years thereafter were considered as his less important and definitely less appreciated works. However, in retrospect the composer's genius obviously overcame the obstacles and this music turns out to be a completely relevant component of his grand legacy.

Auguścik combined forces with the brilliant keyboardist/composer/arranger Jan Smoczyński, who was entrusted with the enormous task of arranging all the music, both the Classical and Folklore pieces, and than participate in the recording, as well as being the sound engineer, since the recording took place in his now legendary Studio Tokarnia, with spectacular sonic results, as usual in his case. In many respects this album is as much a credit to Auguścik as it is to Jan Smoczyński. The research of the Polish Folklore as well as the leadership of the ensemble performing the folk songs was left in the hands of violinist Janusz Prusinowski.

Overall twelve musicians take part in the entire project in addition to Auguścik, who sings the lead vocals: the Jan Smoczyński Trio (with bassist Wojciech Pulcyn, drummer Tomasz Waldowski and vocalist Sylwia Smoczyńska), the Janusz Prusinowski Trio (with clarinetist Michał Żak, percussionist Piotr Piszczatowski and bassist Piotr Zgorzelski) and Poland's most celebrated string quartet, the Atom String Quartet (violinists Dawid Lubowicz and Mateusz Smoczyński, violist Michał Zaborski and cellist Krzysztof Lenczowski).

The album comprises of twelve pieces (and a radio edit bonus), ranging from "pure" folklore songs, which were the original songs upon which Lutoslawski based his compositions, to more arranged pieces of folk songs and Lutosławski's pieces performed by the ensemble and finally to a quite Jazzy songs based on folkloristic motifs. In spite of the variety and wealth of the musical material the album creates a coherent and aesthetically pleasing outcome, which is a music connoisseur's wet dream. The beautiful arrangements, passionate performance and depth of respect for the Polish musical tradition and legacy are all combined herein with truly spectacular results.

Auguścik takes a step back from the limelight on this album, preferring to play the role of an integrator rather than the leading person. She sings beautifully, as always, but with less spectacular attitude, almost leaving out completely her Jazzy improvisations and vocalese acrobatics, which are her trademarks. This is a very courageous artistic decision, for which she deserves a lot of respect.

There is no doubt that this is definitely one of the most important and beautiful albums released in Poland in 2014, a "complete" multi-layered, multi-faced effort involving the talents of many wonderful musicians and setting a golden standard for future projects, which will be very difficult to match end even more so to rise above. Polish music scene and Polish Culture is glorified by this project, which should make all Poles proud. Being realistic, however, it will probably reach only e very limited scope of listeners, which of course is tragic. My deepest thanks to everybody involved in this project for the pleasure it causes to this humble listener.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pianohooligan – 15 Studies For The Oberek (2014)

Pianohooligan

Piotr Orzechowski - piano

15 Studies For The Oberek

DECCA 602547119124






By Adam Baruch

Polish pianist/composer Piotr Orzechowski (a.k.a. Pianohooligan) returns with the annual (third time in a row) display of his musical vision, which hovers above the usual genre definitions, practically ignoring all conventions and boundaries and creates his own unique musical universe. This time the theme of his explorations is the Polish folk dance called oberek, which is the most lively and least restricted of the Polish folk dances and therefore also the most open to interpretation or even improvisation. The album presents fifteen relatively short solo piano pieces, called "studies" organized into five series of three pieces each. Each of the series has its own subtitle and focuses on a different aspect of the dance. The music is magnificently recorded at the Polish Radio's Concert Studio in Warsaw with Ewa Guziolek-Tubelewicz presiding at the console.

Of course in this case, the oberek is more of an inspiration or a point of reference, rather than an actual source, as usual with Orzechowski, whose multi-dimensional compositional concept expands well beyond the actual structure of the dance. Listeners not familiar with the oberek might of course never recognize the subtle references, but that should not diminish in any way the aesthetic elegance of this music in any way, as it obviously has a life of its own regardless of its inspiration.

It would be superfluous to sing the paeans about Orzechowski's talents both as a composer and performer, which have already seen the light of day both in my previous reviews of his work and countless other critiques. In his case, which is very rare indeed, the general acceptance of his virtues is not a sign of blind public hysteria but a true admiration of his qualities. With this album he manages, yet again, to surprise, excite and move the listener, which is probably the greatest gift an Artist is blessed with. All we can do is to express our gratitude.

For the third time in a row an album by Orzechowski is one of the best albums released in Poland in a particular year (2014 in this case), which is simply unprecedented. Chapeau Maestro!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Myrczek & Tomaszewski – Love Revisited (2014)

Myrczek & Tomaszewski

Wojciech Myrczek - vocals
Paweł Tomaszewski - piano

Love Revisited

FOR TUNE 0038





By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by the Polish Jazz duo: vocalist Wojciech Myrczek and pianist Paweł Tomaszewski. Myrczek recorded his debut album three years earlier while he was still a student at the Katowice Academy of Music, where he is now a member of the faculty. Tomaszewski, a graduate of the same Academy, is a seasoned and much respected pianist with an impressive recorded legacy, mostly as a sideman. The album presents ten classic vocal standards performed by the duo, recorded in a Swiss studio with astounding sonic quality.

In many respects this is the most surprising album released on the Polish Jazz scene in 2014. I mean the sheer chutzpah of these two guys fooling around with the holy grail of Jazz vocals? Who do they think they are? The trifling comparison often quoted in the duo's PR material and other reviews referencing this album to the archetypal Tony Bennett & Bill Evans albums from 1975 & 1977 is completely counterproductive in this case. This music sounds nothing like the referenced albums, which of course is all for the good, since letting the bygones be bygones is the only way to get anywhere.

Initially the album has everything working against it. The Polish Jazz male vocalists are few and far between, and with rare exceptions are all quite insignificant. The standards all feature lyrics in English and Polish vocalist singing in English usually simply stink (again with very few exceptions). But most importantly: the concept of this duo, which places a vocalist, who uses conventional (well mostly) techniques against a pianist who plays completely unconventionally, often pretty wildly and freely, is absolutely atypical for a vocals/piano setting.

And yet, against all odds, this album is simply a gem from start to finish. Myrczek arises as a gifted vocal magician, able to use a wide vocabulary of possibilities, from crooning sweetness to improvised scat, vocalese and imitating bass lines vocally. It is obvious that he is having a great time and there is no tension (other that creative tension of course) limiting his performances. Although there is not much innovation as far as Jazz singing is concerned, with obvious references ranging from Kurt Elling to Bobby McFerrin, the overall effect of his singing is simply irresistible. There is also an obvious pinch of humor omnipresent herein, most evident when Myrczek recites a fragment of a book in the Polish language in the middle of one of the songs. Even his English accent and pronunciation are only very slightly off, which can be considered as charming, rather than disturbing.

Tomaszewski, in complete contrast to Myrczek, treats the music completely on his own terms, playing anything but what would normally be expected of him and taking liberties with the melodies, the chords and even the time, which although must have been very difficult for Myrczek to sing along with, is wonderfully effective, creating a much more expressive result than the usual vocals/piano setting. Comparing his work on his earlier recordings, including those featuring vocalists, his playing here is the more adventurous and daring than ever. His work on this album definitely marks him as one of the Polish Jazz pianists who deserve a much wider exposure than what he enjoys currently.

So here we are again; the Polish Jazz scene is able to come up with another pleasant surprise, which is pretty astonishing, considering the overly excellent level of music released in Poland. The music this album offers is nothing but pure joy, elegance, class and panache, all of the highest caliber. It is definitely one of the nicest releases of 2014, which should stay with the listeners for many years to come.

Another surprising element is the fact that this album was released by the For Tune label, which is usually associated with avant-garde and other alternative music forms. It is heartwarming to see that the label recognized the fact that seemingly conventional music can also be challenging and adventurous. The album is the label's debut on the new "pink" series (the exact meaning of the various colors of their releases is kept in deep secret), and regardless of the "pinkness", will be very had to beat.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lukasz Borowicki Trio – People, Cats & Obstacles (2014)

Łukasz Borowicki Trio

Łukasz Borowicki - guitar
Mariusz Praśniewski - double bass
Kasper Tom Christiansen - drums

People, Cats & Obstacles

FOR TUNE 0037



By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by young Polish Jazz guitarist/composer Łukasz Borowicki, recorded in a trio format with Polish bassist Mariusz Praśniewski and Danish drummer and frequent collaborator with Polish musicians Kasper Tom Christiansen. Both Borowicki and Prasniewski studied at the Academy of Music in Odense (Denmark), as did many of Poland's young Jazz musicians in recent years. The album presents nine original compositions recorded by the trio and a bonus track which is a solo guitar piece, all composed by Borowicki.

The music is a surprising amalgam of many different elements, which create a unique musical perception, fascinating and absorbing right from the onset. Borowicki has a distinctive guitar sound, which is raw and distorted, somewhat similar to early John McLaughlin's efforts. The melodies, or rather melodic fragments, are quirky and unstable, changing rapidly and continuously, and yet producing an overall coherent compositional whole. The same applies to the frequent tempo changes and improvisational approaches, which move within one piece between tightly knit interplay and completely free form, spacey improvisation. The overall effect of this unusual music is definitely fascinating and completely fresh. Considering the fact that guitar is the most popular instrument on this planet, it takes a truly ingenious musician to create something new with it, such as Borowicki manages to do in this case.

The leader gets a most sympathetic support from his cohorts; Praśniewski is a wonderfully melodic player, who against all odds manages to keep the surreal paste of change this music demands, supporting the guitar every inch of the way. Christiansen, who is already a well seasoned musician and a superb composer on his own, is an ideal partner completing the trio. He plays sparingly and unobtrusively, but is right where he is needed at all times.

In conclusion, this is a first class debut effort, which shows an enormous potential and talent that Borowicki represents which hopefully will mature and develop further in time. As a result of this album, he immediately becomes a worthy candidate to become one of the top Jazz guitar players in his country, a position which at the moment is rather sparingly populated.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Andrzej Olejniczak – New Sax Concertos (2014)

Andrzej Olejniczak

Andrzej Olejniczak - saxophone
with Polish Radio Orchestra

New Sax Concertos

POLSKIE RADIO 1855-1856





By Adam Baruch

This is a wonderful album by Polish (living in Spain) Jazz saxophonist Andrzej Olejniczak, who performs three "borderline" pieces bridging Jazz and Classical music, which feature the saxophone as the leading instrument. The album was recorded live with Olejniczak performing the music with the Polish Radio Orchestra conducted by Krzesimir Debski. Drummer Lukasz Zyta is featured as co-soloist on one track.

The first piece, entitled "Focus Suite", was written by American composer Eddie Sauter specifically for saxophonist Stan Getz, who recorded the suite in 1961 on the album entitled "Focus", which to this day remains as one of the most revered Jazz recordings of all times. The original recording features Getz supported by a Jazz piano trio (pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist John Neves and drummer Roy Haynes) and a small string ensemble, with the music beautifully arranged by Sauter.

The second piece, entitled "Sax Concerto For Soprano Saxophone And Symphony Orchestra, was written by American composer Mark Kuss in 2006.

The third piece, entitled "Jazz Concerto For Saxophone And Orchestra", was written by Polish violinist/composer/conductor Krzesimir Debski in 2008. Debski and Olejniczak were both members of the legendary Polish Jazz ensemble String Connection, which was active in the 1980s. The concerto was written for Olejniczak and incorporates many of the themes that appeared on the albums String Connection recorded at the time and the solo saxophone parts are based on transcriptions of the violin solos played by Debski at the time. In many respects this concerto symbolizes the closing of a time loop bringing the two great musicians together again.

The music is excellently performed by Olejniczak, who has a beautiful tone and superb technique. Although most of the music here is composed, there are plenty of opportunities for Olejniczak to express his own improvised passages, making this entire performance a once in a lifetime event. The orchestra is also top notch, supporting the soloist with elegance and obvious sympathy.

Fans of Jazz-Classical fusion will find this music right up their alley, but listeners of both Classical Music and Jazz should find this music worth their attention, especially in view of its aesthetic merits. Warmly recommended!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Riverloam Trio – Inem Gortn (2014)

Riverloam Trio

Mikołaj Trzaska - alto saxophone, clarinet & bass clarinet
Olie Brice - double bass
Mark Sanders - drums

Inem Gortn

FMR 374


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by the Riverloam Trio, which consists of Polish Improvised Music legend, saxophonist/clarinetists Mikołaj Trzaska and two British musicians from the same sphere: bassist Olie Brice and drummer Mark Sanders. The trio's live debut released a couple of years earlier (as a double LP – no CD release so far) was very warmly received at the time and this studio effort should solidify their reputation. The album consists of seven original compositions, all credited to the trio members.

With dozens of albums behind him, it is increasingly difficult to describe each specific new project involving Trzaska and remain open-minded and focused enough to pinpoint the often subtle differences between the various parts of such an immense body of work. However, from the very first notes on this album it becomes perfectly clear that this is one of the most expressive and emotional settings that Trzaska is involved with lately. His playing and improvising is simply overwhelming and it is quite obvious that this happens due to the superb rapport between him and the rhythm section, especially so with Brice, whose arco work is simply stunning (nothing wrong with his pizzicato of course) and their duets are the absolute highlights of this album.

Trzaska switches between the saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet, as he often does these days, to achieve a different mood and power of expression. The rhythm section follows his lead amicably, adjusting the volume and intensity of their performances to the lead instrument, which is a sign of mutual respect and solidarity, which are unfortunately often forgotten in the Improvised Music environment. Sanders, who is a seasoned improviser, always finds just the proper percussive ambience to support Trzaska and Brice and elegantly takes a step back when they get involved in intimate duos.

Personally I think this is an ideal Improvised Music album, which keeps the anarchy well in check, shows the individual expressions of the musicians involved and glues them together to create a whole greater than the sum of its ingredients. Emotionally and artistically this is definitely one of the best albums Trzaska recorded in his long and impressive career.

This music is also beautifully recorded, with a perfect balance between the instruments and a wonderful room ambience, which enables the listener to hear every little detail of the entire sonic contents. Improvised Music recording sadly often suffer from poor recording quality and this one is an example of how things should be done and how important it is to be able to hear absolutely everything. All that remains is to thank these wonderful Artists for their gift to us, mere mortals, who have the privilege to enjoy this music. Well done indeed, gentlemen!

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