Sunday, April 25, 2010

Olo Walicki - Trauma Theater (2010)




















Olo Walicki is bassist and composer, born in 1974 in Gdansk. He was among those who in early 90ties created yass,  refreshing and rejuvenating movement on Polish jazz scene, taking place in Tri City (Gdańsk, Gdynia, Sopot) which  put more stress on free and improvised element in music than mainstream jazz which up-to-that-date was dominant in Poland. He collaborated with such significant figures of this movement as Jerzy Mazzoll, Jacek Olter (they played together in band called Blue Pilot), Tymon Tymański, Mikołaj Trzaska and Leszek Możdżer - all of them (except Olter who committed suicide) are now creme de creme of Polish jazz. But he never limited himself to only one paradigm, apart from yass he was also present in mainstream playing in Zbigniew Namysłowski Quartet, in free jazz Łoskot (Din) and in alternative pop Szwagierkolaska and Oczi Cziorne. So it comes as no surprise that in 2003 he began to cooperate with Ingmar Villqist, Swedish director, in order to create music for his theater productions. And although I am rather skeptical as far as theater music is concerned to be able to stand alone on itself I must admit that this music has potential to keep jazz listener attention for its own sake. At least this is exactly the story which happened with myself because from the very first notes of this album I could not stop to listen to it and then not to buy it. Strong rhythms, polyphonies, dark and ominous mood of this music captivate me and made puzzled. Whether your reaction shall be similar to mine you can check by listening to some samples of this music from artist's web page:
http://www.olowalicki.com/mp3.php?id=11

Author: Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Brotzmann, Trzaska, Bauer - Goosetalks (2010)






















This is a recording from one and only concert of this trio in Poland which took place in Dragon club in Poznań on  22th February 2008. A very special trio consisting of brass instruments: Peter Brotzmann (tenor/alto saxophones, tarogato, clarinet), Mikołaj Trzaska (alto-saxophone, bass-clarinet) and Johannes Bauer (trombone). Brotzmann, born in 1941, is an icon of European free jazz: ucompromised, aggresive and very creative he participated in countless free jazz projects in his career. He also always had an inclination toward Polish jazz and cooperated in 60ties with Tomasz Stańko. His relationship with Mikołaj Trzaska started at the begiining of this century when they created a band called North Quartet with top-rate rhythm section in person of  Peter Friis Nielsen and Peeter Uuskyla. Johannes Bauer is perhaps slightly less prominent figure than Peter Brotzmann but nonetheless he is top avant-garde and free jazz trombonist in Europe. He was born in 1954, was one of few significant jazz players in East Germany and after reunification of this country continued his distinguished carreer playing with such legendary formation in free jazz as Alexanders von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra, Barry Guy's New Orchestra, Tony Oxley Orchestra or Cecil Taylor European Orchestra.

As for Mikołaj Trzaska in 90ties he was key figure in Tri-City yass scene with such ground-breaking groups as Miłość (Love) or Łoskot (Din). It is diificult to imagine without his that this revolutionary event as yass ever took place in Poland and tgrough this participation in this event he (among others) changed the history of Polsh jazz. Fortunately he did not stop there and is continously developing his music through cooperation with such foreign top players as Lester Bowie, Jean  Luc Capozzo or Joe McPhee. He also set up 1kilogram records company to forward his music to the lovers of free jazz in Poland and abroad (http://www.kilogram.pl/).

As for music itself it is astonishing and I am sure will be interesting for all fascinated free jazz. It is very energetic, full of improvisations and yet surprisingly melodic. What I also like is that the album has idea: the musicians refer to the different birds' call. It is very inspiring, surprising and jouful attitude toward jazz :-) We have Goosetalk, Ducks Call, Two Birds In A Feather and even Peacock's Nighmare. Apart from those there is also a piece dedicated to Albert Ayler titled The 'Albert Is Missing' Signal which points out whom the musicians playing in this album treat as their main inspiration.  Those interested in samples of this music may found them on this site:
http://wsm.serpent.pl/sklep/albumik.php,alb_id,20717,Goosetalks,Christian-Bauer-Mikolaj-T

Monday, April 12, 2010

Krzysztof Urbański - Urbański (2010)






















From time to time one come across the album that would justly deserve two reviews instead of one. And this is exactly the case with this specific record. These two separate reviews might be something like these below:

"Krzysztof Urbański debut recording titled simply Urbański announces the arrival on Polish jazz scene of extremely talented saxophonist. In his playing, technically impeccable, there is present whole tradition of jazz saxophone masters in persons of John Coltrane (Urbański's interpretation of his Giant Steps  is small gem of this record), Sonny Rollins or Joe Henderson. In terms of technical ability, musicality and creativity (he composed majority of the songs present on this album) Urbański may be compared to Joshua Redman. Like Redman Urbański is devoted to traditional jazz, uncompromised by unnecessary additions from musical genres other than this which he loves most. But what is most important this straight-ahead, mainstream and bop climate always sound fresh because the attitude of Urbański and his colleagues towards jazz is joyous, daring and adventorous. This new bunch of pirates arrived on Polish jazz scene that shall bring us many more treasures in following years!"

The other review might be going like that:
"To the music which we ancounter on Krzysztof Urbański debut album one may apply such terms as mainstream, straighthead and post bop. But also conservative, predictable, obvious. Well, perhaps, my  inclination toward free and improvised face of jazz speaks here for itself but although I admire technical capabilities of musicians involved in this project I still must confess that nothing on this record suprised me. I felt like all notes and tempos were perfectly executed but I could also forsee them for ages before and, worst of all, I have a strange feeling I already met them thousands times before. Listening to this excellent musicianship in progress I could not help but see some similarities between Urbański and Joshua Redman who also is technically stellar but sounds to me always secondary to his obvious masters in persons of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins or Joe Henderson. Whether Urbański (and his cooperatives) will be able to deliver something more challenging over following years remains an open question...".
Strangely to say but I feel like both those positions are to some degree defendable in case of this album. If you want to judge by yourself please visit the site of Krzysztof Urbański and listen to some of his music:

http://www.urbanskimusic.pl/articles/multimedia

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Adam Pierończyk Quartet - El Buscador (2010)
























Born in Braniewo in Pomerania, living in Cracow, educated in Germany, exceptionally gifted tenor saxophonist Adam Pierończyk with support of American bassist Anthony Cox, Australian trombonist Adrian Mears and Polish drummer Krzysztof Dziedzic explore different places in world in search of musical inspiration. He pick ups what became an important tradition in jazz going back to late John Coltrane of venturing into East in search of spirituality, authencity and candour in music. Rather unsual move in Poland which is often treated as part of East itself but reflecting dramatic changes in country over last years. As we become more and more part of the West we lose gradually contact with the bedrock of our culture. Focused on money, career, status we build all materialistic world while estranging ourself from what is unconsciuos, irrational and childlike.

Certainly this music runs deeper than so many albums I reviewed on this site but it is only possible because it is executed in excellent way by musicians whose style fit one to each other perfectly. Adam Pierończyk deserves highest praise for being able to secure cooperation from artist of such a calibre while special gratitude shall also go to organizers of 2005 Leipziger Jazztage who gave Adam carte blanche to put together a project of his own for this event. Another bow also for Austrian Jazzwerkstatt record company who took on itself the task of printing this record which was accomplished perfectly. My strong recommendation!







Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jurek Jagoda Trio -Songs Without Words (2010)
























I was very skeptical about this album but only up to the point when I put CD in my Marantz CD player and started to listen to the music itself. Certainly it is not avant-garde or ground-breaking but it is nonetheless unpretentious, communicative and charming. The trio consists of the pianist Jurek Jagoda, Marek Ałaszewski on bass and Paweł Gębicki on drums. I found that it is their second album but I treat it as debut because up to this point nobody I know heard anything about them. This record was attached to March copy of JazzForum magazine so they immadietely got recognized by jazz audience in Poland.

Exactly as title of the album suggests this music is constructed around tunes. It reminds me somehow debut disc of Manu Katche Neighbourgood where melodies also played main role. I must admit that Jurek Jagoda compositional talent is exceptional and all his melodies are colourful and captivating. It is interesting where his road now shall lead him. I would expect from him and his collaborators to focus more on interplay between musicians, on rhythm and improvisation. All in all we welcome with this disc new interesting pianist on Polish jazz scene whose developments I will observe with interest. 



By Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html


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