Saturday, March 13, 2010

Obara, Alessi, Waits, Helias - Four (2010)

This is the album I bought after concert that took place on 7th March in Warsaw at Teatr Wytwórnia. It concluded short tournee of only three gigs in Poland, including Wrocław and Katowice, given day by day by these FOUR truly exceptional artists. Ralph Alessi, Nasheet Waits and Mark Helias all work together in School Of Improvisational Music and play important role in New York avant-garde scene playing with musicians of such a renown as John Zorn, Uri Caine, Steve Coleman, Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch or Jason Moran to name just a few.
Maciej Obara on the other hand is very promising young Polish altoist who up to this date recorded two albums Message From Ohayo  and I Can Do It  showing consistently over years dedication to free and improvised side of jazz. This recording owes a lot to the key figure on Polish jazz scene that is Tomasz Stańko with whom Obara worked together 2 years ago in his New Balladyna Project. On the recommendation from Stańko he was invited to New York for scholarship where he met above mentioned musicians and so it began.
The music on the album is first class in all possible aspects and I can only cite Tomasz Stańko who commented on it with following words: „As early as I heard first sounds from the newest Maciej Obara album I felt deeply moved and echanted by this music. (...) His music is strong, mature, deep, full of charm and beautiful. It is his own".
Finally let me write few words about the concert who took place in excpetional venue, small post-industrial scene, located on the verge of famous Warsaw factory of vodka and liquers called "Koneser". The audiance was small, of approximately 100 persons, but I think that all of them carefully decided to be present at this specific concert. Famous Polish jazz pianist Marcin Wasilewski emerged, together with Maciej Grabowski and Krzysztof Gradziuk who play in excellent RGG trio and who worked together with Obara in aforementioned Tomasz Stańko New Balladyna Project.
Unfortunately musicians showed up late due to problems with delayed train and from the beginning they seemed a bit disconcerted. The gig had its great but also weak moments, generally speaking it did not match the level of interplay we could find on the CD. Nonetheless it was pure pleasure to listen to this FOUR although they are still in process of becoming ONE team. It would be great if they can continue their work together in future because the potential that lies in their cooperation is obviously immense.
To sum up it is clear that Maciej Obara has tremendous talent and can accomplish great things in future.  I am also sure that his new FOUR album will be seen as one the most importantd recoding in free jazz in 2010 in Poland.

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (

To make you feel the touch of Obara style I recommended to see first video:

while second one is an interesting evidence of the collaboration between Obara and Stańko:

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