Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sing Sing Penelope - We Remember Krzeselko (2008) by Maciej Nowotny

One of the reasons that polish contemporary jazz scene is relatively unknown to international audience is that it is so much avant garde. The reason lays in "Brain", but I am not thinking only about this misteriuos organ located usually in our head but rather of the famous music club located in Bydgoszcz, in northern part of Poland, foggy and cold Pomerania.

So it happened in Poland that after 50ties when polish jazz was born, 6oties when it reached maturtity and blossomed, 70 ties when it went abroad and become known in other countries, in 80ties it became stagnant and closed to musical developments that took place outside the genre. It coincided of course with the dramatic situation in the country which after the Solidarity movement was crushed by gen. Jaruzelski in 1981 became very bleak, grey and uninspired place to live in. Then year 1989 happened and the communism was over but it took many years before country started to recover from the gloom of the past.

In such a dire conditions few crazy poeple like Ryszard Tymon Tymański, Leszek Możdżer, Maciej Sikała and Mikołaj Trzaska from Tricity (consisted of Gdynia, Sopot and heroic Gdańsk) formed a group called Love (Miłość) that was to change the course of history o polish jazz. As well-known critic Tomasz Szachowski once wrote: "Miłość began a creative ferment, it gathered a group of believers, it led to the creation of a new stream in Polish jazz. Today this stream gathers at least over ten musicians, it has its own record company (Biodro Records), its own festival ("Muzyka z Mózgu" / "Music from the Brain"), and a number of clubs of which "Brain" located in Bydgoszcz is the most important." This new movement was called yass in opposite to jazz and was always alternative to main stream, avant garde, experimental and free. Though Sing Sing Penelope is a band that belongs to second generation of young polish yass players it retains all characteristical features of its founders.

Sing Sing Penelope consissts of following players:

Tomasz Glazik - tenor & baritone saxophones, flute, synth
Wojciech Jachna - trumpet, flugelhorn
Daniel Mackiewicz - electric piano, synth, organ, percussion
Patryk Węcławek - bass, double bass, percussion
Rafał Gorzycki - drums
Sebastian Gruchot - violin (track 1,3,4,7)

All these guys are excellent players, very well educated, very creative and active in multiple projects and bands that play similar progressive music like Pink Freud, Contemporary Noise Quartet, Ecstasy Project or Robotobibok. These bands all form the core of polish avantgarde which is another interesting aspect of thriving polish jazz scene which cerainly should draw more attention from foreign listeners and recording companies.

Please listen to cover track from this album, a song composed on the occasion of funeral rite of little chair ("krzesełko"). This shows what young artists think about generally sad and reflective tone of polish jazz and classical music ;-)

By Maciej Nowotny

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