Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Włodek Pawlik Quartet - Waning Moon (Universal, 1999)

The Western Jazz Quartet is a peripatetic group, traveling to other countries and recording with other artists. Their visits to Poland have resulted in a number of recordings, the latest of which results from collaboration with a local pianist. The Wlodek Pawlik Quartet has released The Waning Moon (Mercury 546739-2), featuring the leader's compositions as well as his piano, with Trent Kynaston on tenor and soprano saxes, Tom Knific on bass, and Tim Froncek on drums. Pawlik's compositions cover a wide range of moods and influences, drawing on a variety of Polish folk music sources, but also on Chopin and Monk. The complex compound folk rhythms of the pianist's native land are used to good advantage on "Pieniny" (a mountain range) and "Polish Folk Dance;" the visiting Americans handle these difficult tunes with ease. The delicate ballad "Almost Nothing" reminds one of another Polish composer-pianist, Krzysztof Komeda, and Kynaston even recalls somewhat Bernt Rosengren, the Swedish tenor man who performed and record often with the famous film score writer. Both saxophonists share an admiration for Stan Getz. Knific also shows his perfect taste and intonation on a lovely solo on this ballad.

The musicianship on The Waning Moon is first rate, and the compositions are superior. As good as all of this is, to me the outstanding contributions are by Kynaston. A fabulous saxophonist, who is equally at ease in the classical as well as jazz repertoire, Kynaston seems to have found a perfect context to put all his skills together. On the ballads he transmits a poignant sense of love and desire; on the swingers he digs in to explore all the corners of the music handling the most difficult passages with ease. But he outdoes himself on "Kadysz," Pawlik's tribute to the history of the Jews of Poland. The tenor saxophone solo on this piece makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck — it is a cry over desolation, desecration, and loss that is pure poetry, saying things that cannot be said with words. 

The music sample comes from album titled "Anhelli" but is very similar to that on above described album:

Author of text: Piotr Michalowski (Semja Update)

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