Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Maciej Obara Quartet - Equilibrium (Fonografika, 2011)

Maciej Obara Quartet (band)

Maciej Obara - alt sax
Dominik Wania - piano
Maciej Garbowski - bass
Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums

Equilibrium (Ars Cameralis, 2011)

Maciej Obara, altoist, though young has already recorded significant albums. Check for example personnel on his last two discs: "Four" (2010) and "Three" (2010). You will probably find it astonishing with whom he already collaborated with! But it shall be less surprise if you know that few years before he was picked up by Tomasz Stańko for his New Balladyna Project. And since you can put two and two together from the list of those names you will already know that he prefers to walk on free side of jazz. With this album however he goes back to different kind of free: rooted rather in Jimmy Giuffre than in Ornette Coleman tradition. That is due to his partners, musicians with whom he already recorded his first two discs: "Message From Ohayo" (2007) and "I Can Do it" (2009). Krzysztof Gradziuk, a drummer, and Maciej Garbowski, a double-bassist, have made their own great careers specializing in merging cool and free elements in jazz and are universally recognized as one of the most exciting rhythm sections in Poland. They are best known from excellent RGG trio and if you check such albums of this band as stunning "Unfinished Story" (2007) dedicated to legendary cool jazz pianist Mieczysław Kosz, fully improvised "True Story" (2009) or recent "One" (2011), you will understand why Polish audience believe that this is probably the only trio in this country to be seriously compared to famous Marcin Wasilewski Trio. Finally, Dominik Wania completes this quartet, who got behind him valuable projects as sideman with Bronisław Suchanek, Jacek Kochan and Tomek Grochot (check "My Stories"), excellent education and immense talent predisposing him to as significant career as those of other members of this young "dream team" of Polish jazz.
But at the end of a day the most important is of course music. And it may be well described by applying a title of first track on this album which is "Cool Madness". It bursts with inner energy and reminds me of some battle between basic elementals, fire and ice, as impersonated by Obara's alto and Wania's piano,  submerged in cool and deep space for improvisation as created by Gradziuk's drums and Garbowski's double-bass. Whether they all succeed in finding so much sought equilibrium between those ever conflicting forces is for you to decide... 

This sample of music of Maciej Obara Quartet:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

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