Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Duval, Rosen, McPhee, Trzaska - Magic (2009)

I decide to look back a little because I finally laid may hands on this fantastic recording issued last year by Polish label Not Two. It is double CD album recorded live in legendary Alchemia jazz club in Cracow. The history of cooperation between Joe McPhee (tenor sax), Dominic Duval (bass) and Jay Rosen (drums) dates back to 1990 when the trio assembled for the first time on occasion of the gig given at The Vision Jazz Festival. Joe McPhee is of course most famous figure of those three, born in 1939 in Miami, he is best known for his glorious streak of concerts and recordings with elite musicians of international free jazz and avant-garde scene. Among them we may enumerate such personalities as Don Cherry, Carla Bley, Steve Lacy, Anthony Cox or Evan Parker. Always focused on creative and improvised side of jazz McPhee and his partners, since then called Trio X, met in 2006 Polish alto saxophonist Mikołaj Trzaska who along with Adam Pierończyk is without doubt best Polish modern free jazz saxophonist. His standing in Poland is exceptional because he is one of the founders of revolutionary yass scene in Poland in 1990s (located in and around city of Gdańsk) and key figure in the band called Miłość, clearly the most important cooperative in history of Polish jazz since Komeda quartet or Stańko quintet/quartet. Despite the end of yass movement and disintegration of Miłość Trzaska's talent continued to develop rapidly, he recorded a lot and like before was able to establish relationships with significant musicians. And this is exactly the case as far as this recording is concerned, a second in the row, after critically acclaimed Intimate Conversations ( and well received concerts throughout the world ( The music on this album although free jazz in the tradition of Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Albert Ayler or Archie Shepp, that is energetic, warlike, uncompromising, is still very spacious, sensitive and open to silence. If I was to catch this "magic" which is rightly put in the title of the album I would point exactly at this astonishing contrast which shows that great free jazz masters tend to mature in a very attractive manner making the music much less chaotic but condensed, concentrated and yet very sharp, revealing the guts of jazz, leaving the experienced listener astonished and puzzled by its freshness and intensity. Masterful recording! For those interested in more info please visit For those interested to buy this record Unfortunately I found no music samples from this record but if you like free jazz you surely would not be disappointed. 

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