Sunday, December 6, 2009

RGG - True Story (2009) by Maciej Nowotny


RGG is name of one of the most interesting jazz trios in Poland. R is for Przemysław Raminiak - piano, G for Maciej Garbowski - double bass and one more G for Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums. They all graduaded from jazz faculty at Musical High School at Katowice and play together since 2001. This is their fourth album but first one on which music is almost entirely improvised. They gradually matured to be able to reach this stage, issuing over the years albums which contained more and more free jazz. All those albums were critically acclaimed, some of them as Unfinished Story, inspired by music of Polish genius piano player Mieczysław Kosz, was even awarded as the best jazz album in Poland in year in 2007.

The style of this trio is not easy to describe since it is so individual, unique and deeply rooted in Polish musical tradition. It is without doubt influenced mainly by two great jazz piano players: Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. Further, one can detect scandinavian jazz influence of famous Bobo Stenson Trio but also of Esbjorn Svensson Trio, perhaps others like Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Lars Danielsson. Polish influences are those of aforementioned Kosz, Komeda, Stanko and...Chopin :-)

But to say all this is insuffcient to properly describe this music. Since its uniqueness lies in the way it's improvised. Though free it is by no means chaotic, energetic or out-of-control. On contrary it is disciplined, purposeful, focused. It sounds rather contradictory to the idea of free jazz we know but those musicians prove it is possible. What is free is the flow of music but it's free in a way the river is and not in the way the sea is. Someone wrote about this music that the closest parallel we can find to it is Bach's "Goldberg Variations". It is very true in my opinion because this music has clear classical affinities and its quality is also so high that to make such comparisons is by no means exaggeration.

And to add last thing to all what was said previuosly it is necessary to say that this music altough free, refined and complicated is light as snow flake, enjoyable as dance of skilled  ice skater, hypnotasing as is light that glitters in fire place. Simply this music is of stellar quality that can and should be rehearsed over and over again. Hopefully those musicians shall earn one day recognition they deserve also outside Poland.

By Maciej Nowotny

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