Friday, December 30, 2011

Bel Air - Monday Dream (MP Production, 2010)

Bel Air
Piotr Gucia - Chapman stick, bas, sitar, Gotham 
Piotr Zabrodzki – Fender piano, Hammond organs, Moog, clavinet, guitars 
Marcin Gańko - saxophones, flute 
Jan Emil Młynarski – drums 
Jose Manuel Alban Juarez – percussion 

guests: Robert Majewski – trumpet 
Piotr Wrombel – piano
Michał Rudaś - vocal

MP Production, 2010

Good funk is a rare visitor in our country and to no surprise: right now when I am writing these words it is beginning of August and there are days when it is less than 15 Celsius degree. During daylight. In the sun... We cannot change our place on Earth for a bit warmer but we can at least play some funk! And that's exactly what Bel Air did last year, a band led by Piotr Gucia, bassist, supported by Piotr Zabrodzki (keyboards, guitars), Marcin Gańko (saxophones, flute), Jan Emil Młynarski (drums) and Jose Manuel Alban Juarez – percussion. This music is heavily indebted in fusion era, in memorable combos led by post-Bithes-Brew Miles Davis bands (or musicians who at some moment cooperated with Dark Magus) with drops of madness as supplied by Roy Ayers or James Brown influences. All musicians who took part in "Monday Dream" recording might easily repeat famous words of Marcus Miller: "In groove we trust".

On the other hand there is nothing new here, melodic lines sound monotonous at times (I believe it's probably better at concerts), and rhythm may seem full of madness and spontaneity but only for someone who wasn't in touch with New York or African (better) versions of funk. But let us not be too tedious: this is light and merry muse for holidays and as such it works perfectly. On beaches, in fancy bars, even on dance floors it shall fit well and I would like to appreciate it for this since it's quite rare in Polish modern music where such genres as trip-hop or nu jazz are sadly kind of underdeveloped.

Finally me let me add few words about guests on this album which are many and notable. I would like to single out two: first of all trumpeter Robert Majewski, truly a great virtuoso of cool jazz trumpet in Poland (check such his albums as "Komeda" or "My One And Only Love"). Yet here he plays more aggressively and I like very much this newly found energy since it's perfect complement for his generally restrained and thoughtful style. Words of praise shall also go to vocalist Michał Rudaś whose Orient-inspired vocalise on track titled "Holi" is one of the coolest moments I found on this album.

Great ride with Bel Air in piece titled "Stick Dance":

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

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