Sunday, January 10, 2010

Mateusz Kołakowski, Dave Liebman - Live at Jazz Standard, New York (2009)

When I saw this record on the shelf in my favourite Warsaw's Empik store I felt as stricken by lighting. First, I was puzzled that Mateusz Kolakowski recorded with Dave Liebman. Wow!!! Second, just look at the program:

1. Nature Boy (Eden Abbez)
2. Body and Soul (J. Green/ E. Heyman)
3. Free
4. Nardis (Miles Davis)
5. Footprints (Wayne Shorter)
6. Body and Soul (J. Green/ E. Heyman)

How ambitious! How they dare to choose songs like those and assume that they can show something new, original, something we have not yet heard in numerous versions of these standards recorded up-to-this-date?! Then I immadietely bought and simply ran home to listen to it.

Let me first pay tribute toDave Liebman who is musician I respect a lot. What I admire in him is that not only he is very fine and creative saxophonist, clarnecist etc. but that he also teaches a lot and is known for coaching young talents very much like Art Blackey, Miles Davis (with whom he collaborated in 70ties) did or Tomasz Stanko does. To reach such a level of musicianship that you feel need to share with young artist what experience and wisdom you already gatherred is for me an exceptional quality in artist showing that he reached the highest level not only as musician but also as human. And this is by the way exactly what polish young musicians need, since they often have excellent technical skills but they obviously lack contact with top jazz players to form their own style, to mature to the level of excellency that is separating craftmanship from artistry.

Mateusz Kolakowski, 22 years old polish artist is prodigiously talented pianist, who concerted in Poland and abroad even as a child. But who now is somewhat in shadow of other young lions of polish jazz piano (the level of competition is very high in Poland as far as this instrument is concerned). If he wants to become significant figure in polish jazz he simply must learn from the best, work hard to create his own, unique sound and also keep in touch with the audience that is distracted by multiple interesting projects of other musicians. Yes, polish jazz scene is thriving and even such a talented musician as Kolakowski cannot take it for granted that he shall attain success if he does not show something new and worthy on regular basis.

Taking all this into account his recording with Dave Liebman is excellent move.  He did what Oles brothers are doing on much larger scale (look into the cd review prior to this one) that is to make recordings with world top jazz players. By this he was able to put this record in the spotlight of polish jazz audience. But he also showed through this collabolaration that he is capable to inspire such a great and creative artist as Liebman. He showed that he also would like to be the artist searching for what is new in jazz, to reach the boundaries ot this musiacal genre, to be in avant garde of what is in jazz free, experimental, improvised. We shall closely observe this young man next steps. By this record he clearly showed great potential for future.


  1. Mateusz Kolakowski played a concert here in my college back before Christmas and it was brilliant - I searched for and downloaded the '1st Warsaw Jazz Album' concert, but where could I find this one?

  2. I decide to dedicate post to this subject soon. Thanks for turning my attention to this problem.


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