Sunday, January 3, 2010

Marcin Oleś - Walk Songs (2006)



Oles brothers, Marcin on bass and Bartłomiej on drums, form one of the best and most creative rhytm sections in polish jazz these days. This album comes as second album for Marcin Oles as a leader and is featuring two foreign musicians whose play is of stellar quality. Since in my country guests always come first let us focus at the beginning on Chris Speed playing on tenor saxophone and Simon Nabatov on piano.

Chris Speed, born in Seattle, USA in 1967 is musician whose bio simply astounds especially when taking into account his relatively young age. He played in such a renown groups as Dave Douglas Sextet, Erik Friedlander's Chimera, John Zorn's Bar Kohba or Tim Berne's Bloodcount to name just a few. Further he is now a member of excellent Jim Black's Alasnoaxis (both Seatlle compatriots although living in New York) and John Hollenbeck Claudia Quintet. He also leads his own groups of remarkable renown and significance like Human Fell (Andre D'Angelo and Kurt Rosenwinkel), Trio Iffy (Ben Perovsky, Jamie Saft) or Pachora (Jim Black, Skulli Sverrison, Brad Shepik). On top of that he also runs very interesting Skirl Records company!!! Well, we shall not be very much puzzled that in the meantime (???) this guy likes to travel abroad and discover swhat Middle East and East European folk and jazz music have to offer for him. In one of such a journeys he apparently dropped in to Poland and recorded this awasome album, for the benefit of Oles Brothers and, most importantly, jazz audience in this country. Thanks Chris :-)

Simon Nabatov is no less interesting story. He was born in Moscow, Russia in 1959 where he received excellent musical education. Being 20 he benefited his jewish origin and managed to emigrate with his whole family to USA via Italy, where in Rome he started to play jazz accompanying Chet Baker and Art Farmer. He soon relocated to New York, a city of dreams for every jazzman and still a challenge for any musician trying to survive there making for his living as an artist. He was fortunate to be able to study in Juilliard School and struggled to establish his name as jazz musician. He then moved back to Europe however and is living in Germany now playing both jazz with the likes of Paul Motian, Steve Lacy , Arthur Blythe or Mark Helias and classical music of Russian composers. Truly unique personality in European and world jazz.

To record his own album with such musicians is great achievemnt for Marcin Oles and make us curious who is he to be able to persuade artis of that calibre to cooperate with him? He was born in Sosnowiec in 1973 and his musical eduction was conducted by his father, himself double bass player as well. What is exceptional in his brilliant jazz career is that he started to play succesfully with creme de creme of young, unorthodox polish jazz players (Adam Pierończyk, Mikołaj Trzaska and Andrzej Przybylski) but also that he very early displayed great potential as leader and seeker of innovation in jazz. This creativity together with excellent musicianship was soon realized by players in Poland but Marcin also showed extraordinary persistence in drawing to him the great foreign personalities in world jazz. Inn result he may now boast to have recordings with such artist as Theo Jorgensmann, Jean-Luc Capozzo, David Murray, Ken Vandermark, Erik Friedlander or Herb Robertson.

What is true for Marcin Oles is also true for his twin brother Bartłomiej who plays on drums since they usually play together. I shall write about Barłomiej more extensively on another occasion just not make this post too long.

And how about music? In my opinion it's simply excellent, higly recommendable. All compositions are by Marcin Oles except Long Day and Q Square which are by Bartłomiej Brat Oles. They are as good as one can expect and I simply see no weak points in this recording. By this album Marcin Oles convinced me of his exceptional talent and I shall wait for his next recordings with impatience. He is new and significant force not only in polish jazz but in european as well.

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