Saturday, July 10, 2010

Zbigniew Seifert Quartet - Nora (GAD, 2010) by Maciej Nowotny

This album is sure winner of year 2010 in best Polish jazz historical recording category. The band was created in 1962 in Cracow by Zbigniew Seifert (as) who invited to it following musicians: Jan Jarczyk (p), Janusz Stefański (d) and Jan Gonciarczyk (b). They played together for 8 years to follow, took part in most significant jazz festivals in Poland where they made excellent impression but they appeared only in two songs on album issued in 1969 titled New Faces In Polish Jazz. Damn communist blockheads! So much loss they made to our jazz and culture because of their desire to impose on us what we should like or listen to! So only after more than 40 years later under the private initiative of few people who are in love with Polish jazz we now have a chance to listen the first, standalone album of this magnificent band.

The program on this record is simply breathtaking: it starts with two standards, East Of The Sun (B. Bowman) and Blue In Green (M. Davis) which are both very good, but the second one is truly sensational! Third is title track of the album Nora, composition of Z. Seifert, which proves to be as interesting as its more famous predecessors and they all come from concert given by the band at Jazz Nad Odrą festival on 9th March 1969. 

Next three pieces are Reminiscencje (Reminiscences - Z. Seifert), Złudzenie (Phantom - J. Jarczyk) and Taniec Garbusa (Dance of the humpback - Z. Seifert) and were recorded in Autumn the same year (Warsaw Jazz Jamboree festival 1969) and they show clear progress band made in just half a year. They seem to advance as band in leaps and bounds showing with every important concert more self-assurance, creativity, obviously being on right track to develop their unique style joining in promising melange typical Polish cool jazz with hard bop and and free jazz influences.

Last two tracks are the best proof for such a hypothesis as they contain two tracks Ten Niezastąpiony ( The Irreplaceable - Z. Seifert) and Meandry (Meanders - Z.Seifert, J. Jarczyk), which are the longest, most brooding, dense and therefore attractive pieces on this album. They show how massive was potential of this band. But soon after this concert was given in autumn 1970 on next Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw quartet was disbanded as three of its musicians Seifert, Stefański and Gonciarczyk were invited by Tomasz Stańko to form quintet, his first band after Krzysztof Komeda untimely death in Hollywood, USA. So new history in Polish jazz started, no less significant, perhaps even more, which brought soon breakthrough Music For K recording of Stańko first quintet. It is really a great and unexpected pleasure to listen to this record first and then to Stańko record and see how rapidly Polish jazz developed in those years. Zbigniew Seifert made his own great career in 70ties giving up alto saxophone for violin.

Finally let me pay hommage for people involved in this project from the side of GAD record company which made it possible for us to enjoy this hidden gem. The level of mastering the sound, of edition (great photos) and of fantastic linear notes by Aneta Norek (translated into English and German) is the highest possible. My deepest respect for all people who made this fantastic project possible! (

Please listen to first recording from this album East Of The Sun (B. Bowman):

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (

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