Sunday, August 14, 2011

Czeslaw Bartkowski - Drums Dream (Polish Jazz Vol. 50, 1977)

Czesław Bartkowski - drums
Tomasz Stańko - trumpet
Tomasz Szukalski - soprano saxophone
Adam Makowicz - electric piano
Wojciech Karolak - keyboards
"Studio Jazzowe PR" Orchestra conducted by Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski

Polskie Nagrania, 1977

Series of vinyls which were issued as Polish Jazz series  (check this fantastic website for more info) by Polskie Nagrania is indeed inexhaustible for its hidden treasures. This record is excellent example of this truth for three different reasons: two are pretty much obvious, one - a bit unexpected.

First, this album features all-star band with Tomasz Stańko on trumpet, Tomasz Szukalski on saxophone, Adam Makowicz on piano and Wojciech Karolak on keyboards. Tomasz Stańko presence alone justifies enough careful examining of this album especially since mid-seventies were perhaps most creative period in whole Stańko career as evidenced by such his recordings described on this blog as "Music For K" (1970), "Purple Sun" (1973), "Twet" (1974) or "Balladyna" (1976). Taking into account that other players are no less brilliant and they subsequently developed significant careers on their own (like Adam Makowicz for example), one must not be puzzled that music on this album is simply breathtaking, forward thinking and very rewarding regardless many years that passed since its creation.

Second, and perhaps even more important is that this album stands out among many other great Polish jazz albums of that period because it's main focus is rhythm, pulse, groove. It's of course all due to fantastic play by leader, Czesław Bartkowski, one of the best Polish drummers in that age which is evidenced not only by this issue but by many others (check for example recently re-issued Zbigniew Namysłowski "Live At Kosmos").  Bartkowski talent shines throughout whole album in a manner of old masters of jazz drumming like Art Blackey, Billy Higgins or Tony Williams. Splendid achievement!

Third, most unexpected is that although 33 years passed since this album was printed, it is still carefully listened by young generation, both in Poland (as evidenced in "Polish Jazz" by duo of Polish DJs named Skalpel) and, more surprisingly, abroad. I have received recently clear evidence of that when on my mail box landed "Drums Dream" mixes made by Jason McGuiness based in Los Angeles, US. That's why I love jazz: music which appeal lays as well in respect for tradition as in strive for novelty.

Check title track from original album:


and one of Jason McGuiness remixes (more about this project here):


Author of text: Maciej Nowotny
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