Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Michał Wroblewski Trio - I Remember (2011)

I like debut recordings since they are like green apples: sour, hard-to-bite but full of fresh flavors difficult to find in  ripe ones. So what flavors are present in this standard cool jazz trio? Surprisingly varied proving that Wróblewski succesfully assimilated all major influences in modern jazz piano in persons of Hancock, Jarrett or Mehldau. What distinguish him among so many young pianists (he is 27 years old) graduating every year from Katowice Music Acadamy is his compositional talent: tunes are varied showing great span of his musical interests from traditional stride piano, bop and cool jazz styles to Monkish broken rhythms, Polish folk as well as free jazz (like in last tune on this album titled "Open Take"). One must be under impression at ease with which he merges all these influences, transforms them and accordingly sings his own, original song. 
In this journey Michał Wróblewski is accompanied by Michał Jaros whose line is impeccable timely and Michał Bryndal who is playing with excellent Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet ("Smells Like Tape Spirit") but up-to-this point was not associated by me with mainstream jazz. But they never fail Wróblewski meanderings accross vast tradition of jazz piano and sound as if playing together already for a long time.  
Summarizing, it is definitely strong debut by Michał Wróblewski (deservedly rated five stars by Ryszard Borowski from Jazz Forum magazine). But question remains open how even such talented pianist may reach audience in country where in one generation so gifted pianists like Leszek Możdżer, Marcin Wasilewski, Przemysław Raminiak, Piotr Wyleżoł, Sławek Jaskułke or Mateusz Kołakowski are active? In a view of so strong competition even a very promising debut like "I Remember"  may be too little to single himself out among such a magnificent pack. I wish Wróblewski to remain persistent (and even more daring...) going his own way since by this record he proved to have at least same talent and musicality as his already more famous predecessors...

Check following link for music from this album.

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Avantgarde Jachna/Buhl to issue new record soon!!!

Trumpeter Wojtek Jachna, known from Sing Sing Penelope or Contemporary Noise Sextet, and Jacek Buhl, associated with Variete or Trytony, formed duo in 2009 which recorded in this year interesting album titled "Pan Jabu". Verging between avantgarde, pop and electronic dance music idioms, this duo shall deliver album that is enough challenging for more ambitious listeners and yet easy-to-listen to appeal to wider  audience. From what we know the end of June shall bring premiere of this promising album...  
Please check this link for music from their last record.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Skalpel - Polish Jazz EP (2001)


Probably the most famous EP in Polish nu jazz history. Recorded in 2001 and sent to many recording labels, it secured a contract with famous Ninja Tune lable for Skalpel. Duo of DJs from Wrocław: Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudło made subsequently such great recordings for this label as "Sculpture" (2003), "Skalpel" (2004) or "Confusion" (2005). And after such a splendid beginning 5 years of silence followed. Fortunately last year Igor Pudło issued his first album solo so this story continues. Check his "Breslau" one of the best nu jazz recording in recent years in Poland.

Down there you can find two tunes from this EP by Skalpel. Many years passed and this is home-made recording but it still sounds fresh and attractive :

Uptempo:


Downtempo:


Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Władysław Sendecki - Piano (2007); Solo Piano At Schloss Elmau (2010)

Again I owe to Adam Baruch for his kind consent to re-publish his texts about Władysław Sendecki solo piano albums. You can find originals at his website https://www.jazzis.com/shop/.

Vladyslav Sendecki - Piano (2007)


Polish pianist / composer Wladyslaw Sendecki is one of the finest representatives of European Jazz. As a child prodigy he started his classical studies at the age of 11 and performances at the age of 15. Once he discovered Jazz, his passion for music concentrated in this field and he became involved with the Polish Jazz scene, playing piano in famous Polish groups like Extra Ball and Sun Ship, both of which pioneered the Polish Jazz-Rock Fusion movement. In 1981 Sendecki left Poland (as did many gifted musicians at the time) first to Sweden and later settled in Switzerland. In 1990 he moved to Germany (Hamburg) and took the resident piano chair with the excellent NDR Big Band. He played with other Polish expatriates (Leszek Zadlo, Bronislaw Suchanek and Janusz Stefanski) in the Polski Jazz Ensemble, which also visited Israel by my invitation. This beautiful piano solo album was recorded 20 years after his last recording as a leader and is a most welcome return and a great opportunity for new listeners to get exposed to his great talent. He composed most of the music, including the three parts suite dedicated to painter Marc Chagall and the Art of painting. Three pieces by other composers are also included, reflecting his love of music by other talented composers. The album is an absolutely stunning piece of music, performed with virtuosity and deep musical sensitivity. Sendecki keeps his brilliant technique “in check”, not letting it overshadow his delicate and impressive improvisational exploits. For well-trained listeners, the Polish musical tradition, especially the piano legacy of Frederic Chopin, is quite evident (Chopin’s romanticism and soul-searching qualities influence all Polish piano players to this very day). The music flows beautifully from one piece to another and for me it was all over much too soon, which means it will be played again many a time. The sound quality of the album is (not surprisingly) excellent, as all the other recordings on the Provocateur label. Piano lovers, Jazz lovers or just plain music enthusiasts should find plenty of content here and even if the Artist’s name is completely unfamiliar to them, it is absolutely worth investigating. I for one am proud to have such a superb musician for a friend. Hopefully we won’t have to wait for 20 years to enjoy another album of his.

Vladyslav Sendecki - Solo Piano At Schloss Elmau (2010)


This is a wonderful live recording of a solo piano concert by my friend, the great Polish pianist Wladyslaw Sendecki. Sendecki, now living in Germany, is active in various settings in addition to his piano chair with the excellent NDR Big Band, probably the best European Big Band at the moment. This solo piano recording follows his previous solo piano album recorded three years earlier and is as beautiful. He plays mostly self-composed material and his incredible virtuosity and sensitivity as a player are truly overwhelming. An absolute must to all piano lovers!

Author of text: Adam Baruch (http://www.adambaruch.com/)

Check this splendid tune for a little sample of Sendecki talent:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Przemek Strączek Trio - Earthy Room (2007)

Przemek Strączek (guitar)
Andrzej Zielak (double bass)
Sebastian Frankiewicz (drums)








Back in 2007 I simply overlooked this record which is debut album of guitarist Przemek Strączek as a leader. The trio plays fine and image from cover containing a promise of cool jazz music is certainly fulfilled. But I would not probably decide to go back to this record, since in his newest outing "Light & Shadow" Strączek delivers much more interesting music. The reason for this rehearsal is recent concert of Strączek I attended, during which a beautiful tune from this CD was played titled "Osorno" (volcano located in Chile). I recommend to check YouTube film to listen to this gracious tune. 
Summarizing, this album shows how rapid is development of Strączek career: he started with "Earthy Room" in trio format, a good disc containing mostly standards; then he recorded "Light & Shadow" with even better cast and featuring string quartet, containing mostly originals and displaying his significant compositional talent. Next he plans to add saxophone to his band and perhaps move more toward improvised music. Fare well on this noble errand Przemek!

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html)




        

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Władysław Sendecki scoops prestigious Award!!!


The source for this information is ACT recording company which issued last album by Sendecki "Solo Piano At Schloss Elmau". It reminds me that my blog lacks review of this interesting album: a mistake I should amend soon. 




Vladyslav Sendecki wins Hamburg Jazz Award 2011

The pianist and ACT artists Vladyslav Sendecki has received the prestigious Hamburg Jazz Award 2011 (“Hamburger Jazzpreis”). The jury, consisting of musicians, journalists and other important personalities of the cultural sector stated: „Vladyslav Sendecki impresses with the depth of his musical performance, his versatility and sovereignty. He has godlike playing skills and eared international recognition as an outstanding pianist. For the city of Hamburg, Vladyslav Sendecki showed a great deal of dedication in initiating musical projects and exchange programmes between young Polish and Hamburg based jazz musicians making him an important role model.” Vladyslav Sendecki lives in Hamburg since 1995. He is a permanent member of the NDR Big Band since 1996. His recent album “Solo Piano at Schloss Elmau” (ACT 9485-2) is an amazing document of his status as one of Europe’s greatest jazz pianists.
The Hamburg Jazz Award comes with a prize money of 10.000 € and is presented by the “Dr. E. A. Langner-Stiftung” - a foundation aiming to sustainably support Hamburg-based jazz musicians. The award is presented under the patronage of Nils Landgren who was appointed head of the jury in 2007. This year’s edition of the Hamburg Jazz Award will be officially handed over to Vladyslav Sendecki in May 2011.

“One of the world’s top five jazz pianists!”
- New York Village Voice

„A fascinating solo-CD!“
- Der Spiegel

"One of the most powerful and imaginative solo-pianists of our time."
- Süddeutsche Zeitung



Monday, May 23, 2011

Obywatel "Płaszczak" w Eterze...

W roku 1884 Edwin Abbott wydał książkę „Flatlandia”, w której po raz pierwszy użył pojęcia „płaszczak”. Ów płaszczak to stwór znający jedynie dwa wymiary (szerokość, długość) i niepotrafiący sobie wyobrazić trzeciego (wysokość): na przykład dla płaszczaka powierzchnia kuli będzie nieskończoną płaszczyzną, po której poruszając się będzie czuł się wolny i niczym nieograniczony.

Śmieszne? Nie bardzo. Fizycy tworzą teorie, które postulują istnienie większej ilości wymiarów niż cztery, które znamy (plus czas) i twierdzą, że bez nich nie da się zrozumieć tego jak zbudowany jest wszechświat.. Jednak kiedy mój umysł dyletanta stara się zmierzyć z ideą pięcio, sześcio czy nawet jedenastowymiarowej przestrzeni, to mimo szczerych i wielkich wysiłków nie potrafi jej uchwycić.

Nie inaczej było podczas środowego koncertu Music In Movement Electronic Orchestra, w przepięknym wrocławskim klubie Eter, który odbył się 18 maja 2011 w ramach trwającego od 13 do 21 maja festiwalu Musica Electronica Nova. Jak to wyglądało? Dziewięciu muzyków (Ch. Fennesz, P. Durrant, T. Lehn, K. Matthews, G-J. Prins, P. Rahberg, K. Rowe, M. Schmickler, R. Toral), których nazwiska nic mi nie mówią, ale podobno to wszystko premier league, siedzieli dookoła sceny przy małych stoliczkach, na których mieli porozkładane różnego rodzaju urządzenia napędzane prądem elektrycznym. Dominowały laptopy i rozmaite przetworniki dźwięku, ale zauważyłem także szczoteczkę do zębów, wiatraczek, a nawet ucięty kawałek gryfu gitary ze strunami, na który patrzyłem niemal ze łzami w oczach jak na rozciągnięty na krzyżu symbol minionych czasów.

Koncert polegał na tym, że artyści katowali swoje dziwaczne elektroinstrumenty, przetwarzając następnie tak uzyskane fale dźwiękowe, by otrzymaną w ten sposób ścianą dźwięku atakować trąbki Eustachiusza przybyłych na te tortury słuchaczy. Wytrzymałem około pół godziny, aż w końcu pokonany, niczym ranne zwierzę, zmuszony byłem zaszyć się w najdalszym zakątku klubu, aby ocalić moje uszy od kompletnego zniszczenia. Mylilibyście się wszakże sądząc, że mam generalną niechęć do eksperymentów elektroakustycznych. Znam i cenię bardzo dokonania jazzmanów wykorzystuących elementy tej estetyki takich jak Rob Mazurek czy Evan Parker, nie wspominając o Autechre. Ale chociaż mam wiele grzechów na sumieniu, nie uważam jednak, że zasłużyłem na tak okrutną karę jak zbyt długie słuchanie tej kakofonii!

Po koncercie, rozmawialiśmy z Marcinem Kicińskim z Impropozycji o tym wydarzeniu i przyszło mi do głowy, że tą ciekawą dla mnie dyskusję bardziej zapamiętam niż muzykę, która była pretekstem dla naszego spotkania. „Jak nic jesteś płaszczakiem” – pomyślałem o sobie ze smutkiem – „drobnomieszczańsko postrzegasz wyjście na koncert jako miły relaks po dniu ciężkiej pracy, który sprzyja interesującym spotkaniom towarzyskim okraszonym kuflem dobrego piwa…”. Z drugiej strony, jakiś przekorny duch bronił się przed takim potępieniem: „Jeśli obcowanie z muzyką ma być podobne do milgramowskich eksperymentów z aplikowaniem publiczności rosnących w siłę szoków elektrycznych, to ja dziękuję za taki jazz i wolę zostać w domu!”. „Który pogląd jest mi bliższy?” – łamałem sobie głowę wracając do domu pełnym rozbuchanej wiosny i zakwitających dziewcząt Wrocławiem…








Autor: Maciej Nowotn

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jaskułke & Wyleżoł - Duodram (2011)

Piotr Wyleżoł and Sławek Jaskułke are both prominent figures in Polish mainstream jazz so it is not surprising that this record was one of the most expected this year. Before I comment on music let me shortly introduce players. Piotr Wyleżoł leader career is somewhat more consistent and exquisite. His long collaboration with bassist Michał Barański and drummer Łukasz Żyta resulted in streak of excellent albums with "Piano Trio" (2006) and "Children's Episodes" (2010) being simply one of best cool jazz trios ever in Poland. As for Jaskułke his leader career is not equally convincing for me but I must admit that as sideman he brought a value to every project he was involved in with spotlight on such noteworthy albums in recent times as Krzysztof Pacan's "Facing The Challenge" (2011), Zbigniew Namysłowski's "Nice & Easy" (2009) or Wojtek Staroniewicz's "Alternations" (2008).
Also as for music styles this meeting seemed very promising indeed since Piotr Wyleżoł is master of silence, thoughtfulness and wamp melodies while Jasułke is much more bop-oriented, extravertic, vehement. I felt like it may be very interesting meeting of so different styles and yet so gifted pianists and musicians. So what is the outcome of such an enterprise?
The program of album is very interesting and begins with Kenny Wheeler's "Kind Folk" which is simply breathtakingly played (previously used by Wyleżoł's trio in rare concert with this English master of trumpet). Then alternating follow compositions by Jaskułke "My Way", "Preludiosum G" inspired of course by Chopin, "Movement I" and by Wyleżoł "Piece For Wietek" and "Prelude op. O". And as expected while Jaskułke pieces are warlike, agressive with a lot of thumping and beating of excellent Steinway piano, Wyleżoł's are filigree, delicate and refined. 
But of course I waited most for those moments when both players cooperate like in "Preludiosium G" which is all about dialogue between the artists. What is my impression? Positive but not without some minor objections because it somehow turned out that these duo efforts are almost entirely dominated by Jaskułke and his outward style while I believe it should be reverse. Wyleżoł play is at least equally interesting as Jaskułke and while Wyleżoł easily adjusts to Jaskułke noise style, Jaskułke is not able to follow Wyleżoł in his masterful excursions into silence like in "Prelude op. O" where Jaskułke ostinato rhythm support is oversimplified and sounds mechanical.
But regardless these minor objections I may recommend this album to any mainstream jazz lover, especially  since piano duos are not so often met nowadays.
PS. I would like to note very high editorial level of this issue by Fonografika recording company.  

Please, listen to fantasic opening tune by Kenny Wheeler titled "Kind Folk":


Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Slug Duo - Fully Improvised Sets From Falanster 2009 ( 2010); Slug Duo - Organic Stone (2010); Mikrokolektyw - Revisit (2010)

This essay of Stef Gijssels (I want to thank him for permission to republish it here - make sure to check his fantastic web site http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/) treats about jazz duos: great topic especially as far as free jazz is concerned. Since duos are for free music the same as trios for cool jazz or quartets and quintets for bop. As examples to clarify his ideas he uses three very interesting, avantgarde albums issued last year in Poland. Although I would rate them a bit higher (especially in Mikrokolektyw case), I believe this text gives valuable insight into one of main free jazz genres and some of most interesting recordings in Polish avantjazz last year...

"The Art Of The Duo

In the earliest days of mankind, next to more functional and formal language utterances, our distant ancestors did something special: they made music, creating melody over rhythm and sharing the experience together, creating, communicating and enjoying it, listening and interacting, possibly dancing too. Unlike any other art form, this is still magic today. There is nothing comparable to the completeness of that experience: pure, social, expressive, and lifting the individual high above himself or herself, becoming part of a communal experience, something spiritual, something bigger than life.
This feeling of communion and spontaneous creation is the essence of free music. That's why I like horn-percussion duets because they embody this in its perfect form of freedom without becoming the chaos of too many voices conflicting, because it allows for more precise and attentive listening. 
That's what I felt when I heard this Polish duo for the first time some weeks ago. The Slug Duo is Jakub Suchar on drums, percussion, moog synthesizer and elctronics, and Gerard Lebik on tenor sax, contra alto clarinet, generators, DIY, and electonics.Surprisingly enough, the duo released two albums this year on the same Polish label.


Slug Duo - Fully Improvised Sets From Falanster 2009 (Vytvornia OM, 2010) ****


The first album was recorded live at the Falanster Club in Wroclaw, Poland, in November of last year. The music is mainly acoustic with ongoing superb and varied free improvisation : from incredibly playful and rhythmic interaction, over fierce and wild moments, they can easily switch to more sensitive slower passages and back. It is all very straight-ahead, without too many pyrotechnics, and it is really a joy to listen to from beginning to end. It is pure, unadultered fun. The audience, though limited in number, claps and cheers, adding some value to this performance. It is so good, that it is real easy to recommend. 

Slug Duo - Organic Stone (Vytvornia OM, 2010) ***


Their second release, "Organic Stone", is a little bit of a different beast. Recorded in the studio, it starts well, with a deep slow and free interaction between howling tenor and thundering drums. On the third track the electronics enter into play, and then this guy's attention starts to drift off. Yes, there is some drumming to be heard under the crackling noise, but we are far away from the pristine joy of celebrating music in its simplest form. We have left the realm of "close celebration" and we have entered the realm of "distant posture", with sounds that are made of plastic instead of made of wood. The same holds true for the rhythms, why would you process them into an endless repetitive beat if you can add lots of variation and subtle changes with natural playing. Luckily, the natural sound dominates most tracks and the playing is really good. 

Mikrokolektyw - Revisit (Delmark, 2010) ***


We find drummer Kuba Suchar back on this new album on Delmark, with Artur Majewski on trumpet and electronics. That it appears on Delmark is no real suprise, since the influence and support of Rob Mazurek is quite clear, not only because of the format, but also through the use of electronics in processing the sounds. But both Mazurek and Majewski have influences that go back to Don Cherry, which is obvious in the joyful free and melodious playing that Majewski demonstrates. 
But then the whole thing falls flat on its face at moments because of the use of silly electronic sounds. And don't get me wrong : there are tracks with electronic processing that really sound good. I have always been a fan of Mazurek and the Chicago Underground Duo, for whom electronic processing is almost a must, but you have to know how to use it, and to which degree. It should be functional for the overall listening experience, and not disturb the rest of the sound. 
This is again one of those albums that sound great if you just select the better tracks. And if the electronic part is used sparingly, the result is really powerful, like in "Running Without Effort", or very functional as on the title track or on "Tiring Holiday", it works to perfection. 
Maybe I'm getting too old, but why would anyone want to ruin the good ideas they have? An album with great moments, but unfortunately insufficiently consistent."



Author of text: Stef Gijssels (http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Christof Griese & Leszek Możdżer - 52nd Return (1996)

Możdżer is a giant on Polish music scene but sadly he has been moving away from jazz idiom in recent years. He started his career as free jazz player and was one of protagonist of yass movement in Poland. Around 1996 however he started to move towards mainstream and this recording is good example of this change. 
I wonder what the title of this album refers to: either 52nd Street in New York known in mid 20th century for the abundance of jazz clubs hinting at renaissance of jazz in Europe or at Bud Powell's "52nd Street Theme"? If you listen to the original version of this tune and imagine how it would sound when played by John Coltrane group featuring McCoy Tyner on piano, you shall cath perfectly the sound and mood of the first half of this album.


However in second half of the album musicians all of the sudden turn toward free jazz, and instead of following Trane go after Ornette Coleman and one must admit that they do that in a same graceful manner. The high level of playing is secured by Christof Griese on sax (and flute in one tune), Leszek Możdżer on piano swithing at keyboard with Kirk Nurock, excellent Ed Schuller on double bass and Niko Schauble on drums. 
This free jazz-bop transitional stage in Możdżer  play evidenced also by another recording with Griese "Words" (199) but first of all by outsanding recordings with Adam Pierończyk like "Talk To Jesus" (1996) or "Live In Sofia" (1998) by regarded by many as the best in his career. But Możdżer decided that he needed to go even further towards pop music to win audience that was yet unconquered by jazz players. And he again succeed which proves that for artist with such a immense talent as he has, everything is possible if he remembers to express message in his own words. And Możdżer has never failed to do that...

I haven't got a film with music from this album but check the video from series of great concerts Możdżer gave with jazz stars from all around world in Gdańsk last year:

Nana Vasconcelos i Leszek Możdżer w Gdańsku przez mmtrojmiasto  

Author: Maciej Nowotny

Raphael Rogiński solo Pod Zegarem...


Myślałem już, że mój kolejny wypad do Poznania zakończy się jazzowym fiaskiem. Bo wbrew wielkim nadziejom nie udało mi się pójść na koncert bandu o nazwie Magnolia Quartet, który miał się odbyć w klubie Blue Note. Zamiast bujać się w rytm nieco pokręconych rytmów jakie serwuje ta interesująca młoda kapela, zasnąłem w pokoju hotelowym pokonany narastającą od 5.00 rano sennością i godzinami spędzonymi na biznesowych mityngach.

Zgorzkniały udałem się do pracy następnego dnia, pewny, że wieczorem czeka mnie jazzowa pustka i wieczór spędzony na oglądaniu w TVN rytualnego tańca śmierci wokół smoleńskiej katastrofy. Na szczęście stał się cud! Rozproszyła się ta smutna mgła, a to za sprawą Mateusza Blocha, niedawno poznanej w grodzie Przemysła bratniej muzycznej duszy, związanego z wytwórnią płytową pitupitu recordz!, który poinformował mnie, że tegoż piątkowego wieczoru w znajdującej się w Cesarskim Zamku Sali Pod Zegarem odbędzie się koncert Raphaela Rogińśkiego.

Nie mógł mi doprawdy sprawić milszej niespodzianki, bo Rogińskiego nigdy nie słuchałem na żywo, a jest to postać bardzo ciekawa, jeden z najjaśniejszych punktów naszej jazzowej awangardy, którego usłyszeć można chociażby na zeszłorocznym podwójnym albumie grupy o nazwie Cukunft zatytułowanym "Itstikeyt / Fargangenheit" lub na o rok wcześniejszym "Bach Bleach". I właśnie do tej ostatniej płyty najwięcej miała podobieństw muzyka grana na tym koncercie: wykonywana solo, na preparowanych gitarach, chwilami bardzo awangardowa.

Z muzyką współgrał odlotowy entourage: Sala Pod Zegarem znajduje się w wieży poznańskiego Zamku Cesarskiego, gdzie wasz korespondent ostatnio katował się koncertem Conteporary Noise Sextet w położonym w kotłowni tegoż Zamczyska klubie Blue Note. Wydaje się, że dostanie się do położonej na drugim piętrze niewielkiej salki koncertowej nie powinno dostarczyć żadnych emocji. A jednak było inaczej: wspinałem się w górę klatką schodową iście gargantuicznych rozmiarów. Te dwa piętra szalony teutoński architekt rozciagnął na może 15 metrów tworząc przestrzeń przyprawiającą o zawrót głowy, wręcz groźną. Przypomniał mi się film Hitchcocka zatytułowany "Vertigo" z Jamesem Stewartem i Kim Nowak: wieża, jestem pewien, rozmyślnie zbudowana została w ten sposób by w gościach monarchy, przed spotkaniem, wzbudzić lęk i drżenie. To samo wrażenie potęgowały barbarzyńsko szerokie korytarze i barczyste odrzwia sal jakby prowadzące do izb kaźni lub biur gauleiterów nazistowskiego imperium.

Piszę o tym wszystkim, bo w tym będącym w polskim władaniu wykwicie germańskiej megalomanii Wilhelma II, jakimś niesamowitym wręcz zrządzeniem losu, zabrzmieć miała muzyka teatrzyków żydowskich okresu dwudziestolecia międzywojennego, wykonywana przez gitarzystę polskiego, lecz wychowanego i wykształconego w Niemczech. I nie można było sobie wyobrazić lepszego podkładu muzycznego do tego węzła gordyskiego pogmatwanych tożsamości polsko-żydowsko-niemieckich, bo chociaż awangardowa i improwizowana, gra na gitarze Rogińskiego nie zatraciła nic z charakterystycznego dla muzyki żydowskiej pełnego żalu, skargi, wręcz patosu, brzmienia. Zdumiewająca jest zaiste umiejętność tego wybitnie utalentowanego artysty łączenia bardzo nowoczesnego, trudnego języka z tradycją i to w taki sposób, że tradycja zostaje odświeżona, a nowoczesność oswojona i nasycona sensem.

Mamy wśród naszych młodych muzyków freejazzowych wielką osobowość, choć uczciwie trzeba przyznać, że jego muzyka jest trudna, niełatwa w odbiorze, wymagająca niejakiego wysiłku. Doceniła to garstka zaledwie publiczności, może około 30 osób, zatem Fryderyki raczej Rogińskiemu nie grożą, ale jak to powiedziała pewna moja znajoma z FB, może to i dobrze... Brawo Raphael! 

Próbka muzy z "Bach Bleach":


Autor tekstu: Maciej Nowotny

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

RGG - One (2011) by Stephan Moore

RGG (group; formed 2001)
Przemyslaw Raminiak (piano)
Maciej Grabowski (bass)
Krysztof Gradziuk (drums)

One (Fonografika)




Here's the thing. This year has started off with some really incredible albums. Many of which I would never have heard or at least spent months trying to find. One of the groups that I was turned on to this year was RGG out of Poland. RGG are arguably one of the best kept secrets on the global jazz scene. Their latest album, One, is a great example of how outstanding the group has become. They have been grabbing attention since they made their major debut at the 2002 Bielsko Jazz Blizzard Festival (for the uninitiated this is one of the best jazz festivals in Europe).

There have been many trios over the last decade with great ideas and impressive efforts. Comparisons of RGG and fellow countrymen, the Marcin Wasilewski Trio always come to the forefront when both groups put out an album (in this case within weeks of each other). I believe the difference lies in the compositions and production. RGG have been able to expand and take the listener on various journeys over their career. I'm not saying MWT haven't done the same. I'm saying MWT have taken a more direct contemplative approach. RGG continue experiment (loosely put) on each record.

With five albums under their belt, all of which have featured expansive themes, intimate performances, and some fully improvised works, RGG have returned with One, a more focused and extremely balanced session. Opening with the warm and melodic title track, RGG set a mood similar to that of Tord Gustafsson or EST. "One" contains a beautiful passage from Maciej Garbowski on bass and Raminiak's keys turn the melody into an intimate observation of a rainy day. "Around Again" (a Carla Bley composition) is the perfect showcase for RGG's ability to stand apart. Like the original there is a real sense of vibrancy that the listener will connect with immediately.

"Almost Blues" really shines. The group are in full force as a unit with each member getting an opportunity to let loose. Gradziuk's solos are fierce and really exciting--keeping the tune humming, despite its short length. "C.T." is dedicated to Cecil Taylor and highlights the improvised nature of the trio. This was brought out in previous albums but in this Cecil Taylor inspired tune you can see the band stretching and having a lot fun doing it. "On The Way To Road 11" is simply a beautiful ballad that reminds me of the some of the more intimate and intricate Keith Jarrett trio pieces. 

With One, RGG have managed to combined elements of each of their explorations from albums past into a bold and impressive outing that should be on everyone's wish list this year. In a very short time period they have become one of my favourite groups. If you have the chance you must seek out RGG's One. Highly Recommended.



Author of text: Stephan Moore (http://jazzwrap.blogspot.com/)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Orkiestra Świętokrzyska - Wykłady z geometrii muzyki (2003)

Well, this is a project that could be very interested indeed but it turn out to be disappointment. Intended to be nu jazz and clearly referring to music of Nils Petter Molvaer it sounds however like karaoke jazz: oversimplified, uninspired, predictable. Surely lovers of more accessible music may find this attractive but only provided they are indiscriminate and were not exposed to what is the best in nu jazz.

Sadly, this recordings is so mediocre that even the presence of the artist of highest callibre could not save the day with one exception however: Andrzej Przybielski play on trumpet in "Równoległość" transcend this mundane sounds into celestial harmony. But as soon as his immortal trumpet fades karaoke returns again...

The song with above mentioned magic trumpet of Andrzej Przybielski:


Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jan Bokszczanin - Komeda Inspirations (2010)

Adam Baruch is well-known jazz writer and creator of Jazzis site where you can find a very interesting selection of music from all over the world. I want to thank him for consent to publish some of his excellent texts on this blog thus allowing us to spread word about Polish jazz even further: 
This magnificent album is an astonishing tribute to the music of the great Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda, the Godfather of Polish Jazz and one of the most important figures of the European Jazz scene. Organist Jan Bokszczanin, born in Russia and living in Poland, famous for his Church Organ performances and recordings of Classical Music, undertakes here an unprecedented project of presenting the music of Komeda in a completely new light, transposing it into contemporary Chamber-Jazz, quite afar from it´s Jazz origins. Of course Komeda´s music is often played by Jazz musicians (sadly mostly only in his native country), but such ambitious undertaking, as presented here, has never been attempted so far. In retrospect, this project proves the true greatness and depth of Komeda´s music, which transpires as being beyond and above any genre classification. The album includes thirteen pieces of music, eight of which are original Komeda´s compositions and the rest are new pieces composed by contemporary composers, who were inspired by him and his music. Bokszczanin carefully assembled a group of instrumentalists, mostly Jazz players, which consists of trumpeter Robert Majewski, saxophonists Pawel Gusnar and Tomasz Szukalski and flautist Ryszard Borowski. Four of the tracks include vocals, performed by the excellent Grazyna Auguscik, who not only sings the song´s lyrics (written by Polish poetess Agnieszka Osiecka) but also adds some vocalese a la early Urszula Dudziak. The album was recorded at the Reformed Evangelical Church in Warsaw, with the majestic sound of the organ serving as the base element of all the music, with the other instruments playing on top of this basic sound layer. The sensitive and intelligent arrangements were written partly by the participating musicians and partly by other contemporary Polish composers / arrangers. Overall this is obviously a work of love, admiration and respect, a tribute in the true meaning of the idiom. For people familiar with Komeda´s music, this is a revelation, for those unfamiliar with it; this is a heavenly gate which marks a great entry point towards it. It is a rare occasion indeed that an album gave me so much pleasure upon first listening and I´m sure to return to it repeatedly in the future. It goes without saying that I recommend this music to anyone with a pair of ears and some gray matter between them. If anything is essential, this is it!

Check this film for sample of music from this album (The tune is Komeda's "Rosemary's Baby")...
 


Author of text: Adam Baruch (http://www.jazzis.com/)


Friday, May 13, 2011

Wojciech Majewski Quintet - Zamyślenie (2003)



This is very beautiful CD, full of great melodies and of blues, the best so far, in my opinion, in discography of pianist Wojciech Majewski. Fortunately it is accompanied by very good review by Michał Okoński, which luckily was translated into English and available on Wojciech Majewski web page. Enjoy both music and text... (Maciej Nowotny)

The poem of Czesław Miłosz entitled "Spotkanie" (Meeting), especially the last verse, seem to patronize the latest album composed by Wojciech Majewski Quintet. After a few weeks break I once again started to listen to this record, when I heard that Czesław Niemen passed away.
Not only because of the touching interpretation of "Bema pamięci żałobny rapsod", with heart breaking saxophone tone played by Thomas Szukalski. The melancholy, sadness, farewells and thoughts about the past filled every song on this album. This is very characteristic for Wojciech Majewski; in the first place he released an album with jazz interpreted songs of Marek Grechuta, and this time he reached for the work of Czesław Niemen or Krzysztof Komeda. He also placed a few of his own compositions, like the dramatic "Pamięci Strawińskiego", or the album ending, with words taken from one of Bolesław Leśmian's poems, "Boże, pełen w niebie chwały".
Is it a moment to catch breath from modernity? Of course, and I don't mind that. I listen to pure jazz, being played by a classic, and yet acoustic quintet (sometimes played by a grand piano solo or along with the saxophone). I think that in the shade of Leszek Możdżer, we can notice the evolution of a young and very promising pianist. Internally concentrated, following own path, and maybe, having something in common with Keith Jarrett (after all it is Jarrett's bassist Palle Danielsson who played with Wojciech Majewski on this record). So you must admit that such features aren't so bad at all. Tomasz Szukalski plays as he used to back in the old days, Michał Miśkiewicz on the drums, Palle Danielsson creates a wonderful rhythmic with him, and th Wojciech Majewski and Robert Majewski duo in "Tjoonk blues" leaves no doubts that brothers are playing.
"Bema pamięci żałobny rapsod" and "Boże, pełen w niebie chwały" played along with Grzegorz Turnau are the greatest compositions right from "polish jazz" environment.

Please, take a little while to listen to composition "Tjoonk Blues" from this album:


Author of text: Michał Okoński (Tygodnik Powszechny)


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dominik Bukowski- Times Get Changed (2008)

Ecnalubma (2008)

Dominik Bukowski (v)
Piotr Wojtasik (tr)
Łukasz Poprawski (as)
Jacek Namysłowski (tb)
Maciej Szczyciński (db)
Sebastian Frankiewicz (dr)



Dominik Bukowski, vibraphonist, is one of best young sidemen in Poland. He played in countless projects and he always brings a lot of value to any recording he takes part in. Just from very recent times one may quote such interesting discs like Piotr Lemańczyk "Naha Poeple" (2009), Krystyna Stańko "Secretly" (2010) or Wojtek Staroniewicz "Afreakan Project" (2011). 
But he already has quite a impressive achievements as a leader starting with "Dominik Bukowski & Projektor" (2005) with this record "Times Get Changed" (2008) as second and continued with "Vice Versa" (2009). Though young Bukowski managed to build such a reputation that he easily convinces top Polish jazz players to take part in his projects. On this record he is accompanied by a very strong line-up composed by Piotr Wojtasik (tr), Łukasz Poprawski (as), Jacek Namysłowski (tromb), Maciej Szczyciński (db) and Sebastian Frankiewicz (dr). The band produces impeccable sound, playing as meticolously and precisely as one could wish which fits well with elegant compositions of the leader .
As far as music is concerned it is mainstream jazz and if in the end I was to find some minor objection to this album I would say that it sounds a bit too conservative, predictable and cautious. Since Bukowski already proved that he is great instrumentalist and able composer let us hope that in future he will also find in himself enough strength to search for his own, individual and unique musical vision...

Check Dominik Bukowski website for audio samples of his music and/or watch this video with music from his last album "Vice Versa":



Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Robert Kusiołek - Nuntium (2011) by Stephan Moore

Robert Kusiolek (accordion, electronics)
Anton Sjarov (violin)
Ksawery Wojcinski (bass)
Klaus Kugel (drums)

Multikulti Project (2011)






Courtesy of JazzWrap we we able to to post this very interesting review of one of the most intruiging issues in Polish avantjazz this year: 

Another big thank you to the excellent Polish Jazz blog for turning me on to another emerging artist on the global scene. Nestled somewhere between the works of Kronos Quartet and ECM's "New Series" lies this rewarding and inventive piece of modernism by accordionist, Robert Kusiolek.
Obvious Astor Piazzolla comparisons would arise when listening to a piece composed by an accordionist but let's truly take Kusitolek's Nuntium debut on its own merits. Kusiolek is a well studied and uniquely gifted musician, composer and improviser.
Combining a classical tradition with avant garde aesthetics his quartet build a deeply melodic but emotional responsive album built on seven "chapters". Each chapter finds the group experimenting with different sound structures that are beautifully executed and set a lovely and relaxed mood. "Chapter III" and "Chapter VII" both present an exploratory vision of Kusiolek's thoughts as a composer he's combination of chamber music and minimalism wrapped in long verses and tightly interwoven storytelling.
Both Sjarov and Wojcinski shine in a dueling interchanges with Kusiolek on "Chapter V" which moves up and down in pace. Sjarov adds that free jazz movement in his subtle but highly effective basslines. "Chapter V" really is where the group lets loose in dramatic fashion with Kugel and Kusiolek ripping through chords with reckless abandon. "Chapter VI" brings things to bit of a more level tone but still with a sense of freedom and adventure led by some fine improvisation by Kusiolek and Sjarov.
Moving through various themes and patterns in just under 50 minutes, Nuntium is relaxing, thought-provoking and beautiful. In the same manner in which Kronos Quartet have been destroying the thoughts of classical music for decades, Robert Kusiolek's arrive shows that there are more musicians thinking how modernism can continue move upward and beyond. Nuntium may not be every one's cup of tea but if you are a fan of avant garde and improvised chamber music, Robert Kusiolek has created brilliant work that is a serious must listen.



Author of text: Stephan Moore (JazzWrap)


Monday, May 9, 2011

Andrzej Jagodzinski - Muzyka Polska (2011)


Andrzej Jagodziński is mixing in this pot all usual ingredients he likes so much: philharmonic, folk, jazz vocal with a bit of blue note as played by his trio (Jagodziński plays on piano, Adam Cegielski on bass, Czesław Bartkowski on drums). But the dish tastes rather unattractive: conservative, luscious, sloppy. Music was recorded on account of approaching Poland's presidency (starting 1st July 2011) in the E.U. with intention to remind Europe what is best in Polish folk music. Perhaps the E.U. has granted some money to finance this project and CD will be given free? Only in such a case may I recommend you to come into possession of this average outing...
Finally, let me inform you that singer Grażyna Auguścik took part in this recording and was responsible for some of the arrangements as well. She is good singer indeed but in my humble opinion even her inspired singing could not actually save this album...

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

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Levity - Levity (2009)

Levity - rarely the name of the band so well reflects the music it plays: gracious, light-hearted, joyful! While most of Polish jazz trios imitate Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Esbjorn Svensson or Brad Mehladau, Levity takes a little from each of them but manages to sound completely fresh and original. How it is possible? 
The explanation may be such that the rhythm is treated here as in electronically inspired dance music. In order to enliven it it's played acoustically and by very exquisite musicians who blend it with typical human unpredictability. All this nuances are decorated by a set of vamp melodies making meal in this pot very tasty indeed.
Who is responsible for making this delicious music? Jacek Kita plays on piano, his phrasing unpretentious and melodious and Piotr Domagalski on double bass, creates bass line as deep that it seems it's infrared and will start shine red in darkness. But man of the day is Jerzy Rogiewicz, whom we know well from such splendid recordings as Pink Freud's "Monster Of Jazz", whose play on drums reminds me Hawaiian big waves as it is equally powerful yet allowing his partners magnificent rides.
All in all, this is definitely recommendable disc, very interesting debut indeed...
PS. Let me also pay tribute to Polish Lado ABC record company for issuing yet another excellent album!

Please, listen to 3rd tune on the album titled "Rotwang", in concert version:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ecstasy Project - Reminiscence Europae (2008)

Ecstasy Project was one of the most important projects in Polish avant-garde, featuring such artists that were to become prominent figures on Polishjazz scene as Rafał Gorzycki (Sing Sing Penelope) or Paweł Urowski (Contemporarz Noise Sextet). Fortunately Ecstasy Project's albums were recognized not only in Poland but also abroad and I am able to quote here excellent review of this album written by Ian Patterson for allaboutjazz.com:

"The jacket photography of Reminiscence Europae shows what looks like a bridge by architect Santiago Calatrava, which is appropriate. His global works divide opinion and are impossible to ignore. His architecture is largely devoid of local cultural reference; he is the architect without borders. In a way, these photos are a suitable metaphor for the music of Polish group Ecstasy Project—seemingly simple yet technically impressive and austere. According to taste, it is perhaps beautiful, and with few obvious points of departure.
The Italian song titles and chamber ensemble sobriety that dominate these live recordings allude to a classical approach, but the violin of Lukasz Gorewicz (the main voice of the group) comes from somewhere between the melancholia of eastern European folk and the animated style of violinists Jean Luc Ponty and Jerry Goodman. The vibe playing of Pawel Nowicki is utterly minimalist, atmospheric in a Zawinul-esque way, and evokes a Twilight Zone eeriness. Underpinning this esoteric face is the compelling drumming of nominal leader and main composer Rafal Gorzycki, which carries an energy and force in contrast to the edgy minimalism around him.
The pieces have a modern, avant-garde feel to them—soundtracks to European art-house cinema. The manipulation of space and silences, which lend such force to the infrequent eruptions of drums, violin and flute, are shaped by the minimal utterances of Pawel Nowicki's vibes, quietly rumbling drums, Pawel Urowski's alternately sparse and lively double-bass, and tense violin notes which are more percussive than melodic. But there is momentum to this music; the innate tension in the short staccato phrasing and the abstractness and dissonance, rises imperceptibly to crescendos that are surprising in their intensity.
On "Presto Cinque," violin and flute trace the initial lyrical melody before Gorewicz takes solo flight. Drums and bass propel the violinist into some inspired playing on a heady segment that evokes the Mahavishnu Orchestra. A brief, silent interlude follows, broken by a circular vibes motif, before Tomasz Pawlicki's flute takes center stage, the notes unfurling progressively and becoming bolder as crashing cymbals fill the air. Pawlicki's playing becomes gradually freer and breathier as the piece reaches a climax, and the guttural cry that escapes his throat reveals the influence of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, or perhaps Ian Anderson—comparisons that do not flatter him at all.
The combination of vibes and drums creates dense soundscapes on "Maestoso non troppo." "Adibitum" glides from bowed bass and violin in harmonious tandem to blistering drums to near silence impregnated by softly chattering vibes. This is music in a constant state of ebb and flow.
An accompanying DVD shows this lineup in concert, but the absence of its more animated tracks, featuring exhilarating violin and flute improvisations, provides only half the picture. The dark and edgy minimalist approach of Reminisence Europae holds a certain fascination precisely because of that juxtaposition of rationed and unrestrained improvisation. Nevertheless, admirers of modern, progressive music will not be indifferent to this challenging, original project."

Check this video for sample of music of this band:


Author of text: Ian Patterson
www.allaboutjazz.com

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kapacitron - Kapacitron (2009)


This CD does not contain even thirty minutes of music, I cannot therefore call it long play but rather half play. Despite its shortness however it contains splendid music and announces great young players coming to Polish jazz scene. Remember these names: trumpeter Kamil Szuszkiewicz, double-bassist Wojtek Traczyk ("...be like a child...") and two great drummers & percussionists Wojtek Sobura ("The Dudes") and Hubert Zemler ("Branches Of Dirty Delight") since they will play crucial role in Polish jazz in years to come.
As for music on this album it is very inspiring indeed! Yes, it is avantgarde, but composed and played with such musicality, delivering the sound so spacious, and being so fresh and creative, that I cannot stop to listen to it over and over again, simultaneously cursing artists for not recording full decent long play as they should do. Am I overenthusiastic as far as this music is concerned? I don't think so but fortunately you do no have to rely on my wrong, biased and subjective opinions entirely: there is sizable sample available in player embedded below. Enjoy!


Author: Maciej Nowotny

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Music from Możdżer new Komeda record!!!

On 2nd May Leszek Możdżer gave in Sopot's Sfinks700 club concert with music from his new album dedicated to Komeda. Thanks to Agnieszka Sawinda who attended this concert we learned that famous Polish jazz pianist played the whole program from this record containing following compositions: "Crazy Girl", "Cherry", "Ballad For Bernt", "Svantetic", "Nightime Daytime Requiem", "Prawo i pięść", "Moja ballada" and "Rosemary's Baby". For Możdżer Komeda's tunes as Sawinda states are only point of departure for his boundless creativity and are usually transformed entirely to express pianist's unique sensitivity and style. Fortunately you may catch glimpse of how it will sound on this most expected album since on culture.pl there is placed mp3 with famous "Svantetic" played by Możdżer.  

For ancores Możdżer played lovely "Sortorello", a XIIIth century tune, coming from his "Time" (2005) album recorded with Larn Danielsson (cello, bass) and Zohar Fresco (percussion, vocal):

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bennie Maupin - Penumbra (2006)

My blog is about Polish but it would be entirely justified to ask what makes any jazz recording or concert Polish?  Yeah, there is no good answer to that since jazz music is the most antithetical phenomenon of all to categorization. Therefore my criterion is simple: any recording in which Polish musicians take part in is included into Polish jazz. It is very easy to overthrow such criterion but I see no better. If you however see any  way to improve it feel free to share your ideas!
In a meantime I want to turn you attention toward an album that has little in common with Poland apart from Darek Oleszkiewicz who plays here on doublebass. His play deserves highest praise indeed! He produces warm, distinct and deep sound which endures in the air surprisingly long after a chord was stricken. 
But other artist play main role in this show, namely Bennie Maupin, whose play on bass clarinet is magnificent. Maupin is kind of jazzman in Miles Davis (with whom he used to play for example during famous "Bithes Brew" recording session) or John Coltrane style: always searching for new land, showing boudless creativity, developing his own individual sound.
Other players appearing on this album are no less prominent: Daryl Munyungo Jackson (drums) and Michael Stephans (drums), they both are working with Maupin for long time, Jackson for over 20 while Stephans more than 10 years. So interplay between musicians is no problem here : they can move freely together in this metaphysical zone between light and darkness creating one of the most rewarding music I listened to in my life! Must-have...  

Check this attractive video containing composition titled "Neophilia" from this record:



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

Monday, May 2, 2011

Piotr Baron - "Kaddish" - new album!

Fot. Stanisław Zaremba

Charismatic Polish reedist announces that his 8th album entitled "Kaddish" will hold premiere in May this year. In Jewish tradition Kaddish is a prayer recited for deceased, in this case it is Jan Mazur, journalist, Baron's long-time friend who passed away in 2008.
As I already wrote on occasion of reviewing Baron's "Salve Regina" album, Christian heritage is very important for this artist and his new release will continue the streak of his spiritual enterprises. But Baron's immense talent guarantees that apart from religious message, the album shall offer great music as well.
It will certainly be helped by outstanding line-up since saxophones of the leader will be accompanied by all star rhythm section created by pianist Michał Tokaj, double-bassist Michał Barański and drummer Łukasz Żyta. It should also be noted that playing on trumpet and didgeridoo will appear Piotr Baron's son Adam whom we know from recordings with avantgarde Pink Freud band ("Monster Of Jazz").   
We may share this information courtesy of kreatywnywroclaw.pl web site where you can find few interesting files: Polish readers may listen to interview with Piotr Baron (files 1&2), all readers - title track from upcoming release (file 3). The music on this sample track suggest meditative, serious and deep music of the highest quality and I assume that "Kaddish" with all probability will be one of the most significant jazz recordings of year 2011.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Foton Quartet - Zomo Hall (2010) by Stephan Moore

Issued just at the end of last year "Zomo Hall" remains one of the most fascinating album of this year. Please, read this review written by Stephan Moore from excellent JazzWrap web site in order to learn more about this music...

Foton Quartet (group)

Gerad Lebik (sax)
Artur Majewski (trumpet)
Jakub Cywinski (bass)
Wojciech Romanowski (drums)

 Not Two Records (2010)




The rich and versatile Polish jazz scene has gone through a big transform in interest over the last decade. Due in large part to the resurgence of the great Tomasz Stanko. Over the last few years a number of artists have leaped into the consciousness of jazz fans all across the globe. From Marcin Wasilewski Trio, Mikrokoletyw to RGG Trio, Polish artists are showing us all that great, creative and forward thinking jazz can come from more than just Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Denmark, England, U.S. and a few select countries.
One such collective is Foton Quartet and their debut, Zomo Hall (Not Two Records). Zomo Hall might sound like a trip into the avant garde for the uninitiated, its actually upon the deeper listening that you will find the detail. There are qualities here that are reminiscent of the more experimental work of Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and Art Ensemble. But the journey through these six "untitled" tracks is truly fruitful and a superb listen.
Artur Majewski (also a member of the duo Mikrokoletyw) and Gerad Lebik combine to bring forth some incredible phrasing and stellar improvising throughout this recording. Track three has a steady meditative tonality with both horns taking different patterns while Cywinski lays down a dreamlike bassline. Majewski later gains a bit of steam midway through but the track never loses its reflective aural sculpture.
Track five brought back memories of listening to Ornette Coleman's soundtrack for Naked Lunch. It's a journey through recess of my own mind that I'd rather not experience. A powerful performance from both Lebik and Cywinski, who turns his bass almost into a cello. This is the longest track on the album but its also the deepest and most creative as it takes the listener through a number of different themes all quiet in nature but adventurous in execution. Track six does stretch out with the band demonstrating that it can take the listener to far reaches of thought while still holding your interest (in only two and a half short minutes).
Foton Quartet is yet another piece of the new Polish jazz scene that must be heard by a wider audience. Zomo Hall standups against anything from rest the minimal, avant garde in other countries. And the work of Artur Majewski should really start to be noticed by more people as well. His collaborative work on the scene for me, is some of the best in Europe at the moment. 
Zomo Hall was a hard record for me to find. I had known about it for some time but couldn't even stumble across it. Then one day my good friends at Downtown Music Gallery got it in and I immediately put down the money. I suggest if you are interested in something new and creative--do yourself a favour and pick up Zomo Hall. Highly Recommend!


Author: Stephan Moore 

Strączek, Hera, a na koniec konferencja ptaków

To, że ja, stary ramol słucham jazzu, nie jest niczym nadzwyczajnym, ale jak wytłumaczyć, że jazzu słuchają nastolatkowie albo dwudziestokilkulatkowie? Kim są ci nowi piękni dwudziestoletni i dlaczego ciągnie ich do jazzu? Chciałbym znać na to pytanie odpowiedź... A myśli te pojawiły się w moim czerepie rubasznym z okazji dwóch czwartkowych koncertów, w których miałem okazję uczestniczyć, a które mogę określić mianem jazzowego dwuboju, z jedną konkurencją mainstreamową, a drugą free jazzową.



Jeśli chodzi o mainstream to przyszło mi się zmierzyć z kwartetem Przemka Strączka, którego wydana w zeszłym roku płyta "Light & Shadow" mile mnie zaskoczyła. Ostrzyłem sobie ząbki zwłaszcza na pozostające w bliskiej memu sercu stylistyce cool jazzowej, dialogi gitary Przemka z trąbką Jurka Małka. Ale zaczęło się tak sobie... głównie z powodu Andrzeja Zielnika, grającego na kontrabasie tak sennie, jakby przed koncertem przerzucił ze dwie tony koksu. Nie lepiej było z Małkiem, który przed każdym kawałkiem z rozpaczą w oczach szukał nut i Przemkiem Strączkiem, który z angielską flegmą spoglądał na te chaotyczne poczynania swoich kompanów.

Dlatego moja recepta jest prosta: od dzisiaj doktor Maciej zapisuje Panu Zielnikowi dwie tabletki Viagry, Panu Małkowi jedną, a Panu Strączkowi - pół, przed każdym koncertem. Wstyd, ponieważ to wszystko młode chłopaki, które powinny roznieść stodołę na strzępy i mają z kogo brać przykład! Bo nie najmłodszemu przecież w tym bandzie perkusiście Arkowi Skolikowi żadnej Viagry nie było trzeba! Ach, jak pięknie gra ten Pan, jak kiedy trzeba pieści swoje talerze, a kiedy należy uderza z całych sił w swoje bębenki. Wielki, wielki mistrz...

Ale tak poważnie pisząc, to koncert był naprawdę niezły, wielkie słowa uznania nie tylko dla wyśmienitych muzyków, ale i dla organizatorów, którzy do Natolińskiego Ośrodka Kultury, potrafili sprowadzić tak mocny band. Na sali uwijało się sporo młodzieży, a nawet dziatwy i ta atmosfera doprawdy urzekła mnie, a przy tym publiczność była czujna i entuzjastycznie reagowała na muzykę. Po koncercie ludzie rzucili się, aby kupić płyty i porozmawiać z artystami, a z tego co mówiono usłyszałem, że w przyszłości Przemek Strączek planuje poszerzenie składu o saksofon, a także z czasem, częstsze wycieczki w kierunku stylistyki freejazzowej. Trzymam za niego kciuki, bo artysta ten ujął mnie nie tylko swoim talentem, ale także miłym i bezpretensjonalnym obejściem...


A skoro się rzekło słowo o free, to po zakończeniu tego przemiłego wydarzenia pomknąłem do centrum Warszawy, aby zdążyć na następny koncert. Tym razem w Cafe Kulturalna, w Pałacu Kutury i Nauki, w budynku Teatru Dramatycznego, przyszło mi się zmierzyć w walce z kolejnym kwartetem czyli z Wacławem Zimpelem (głównie klarnety), Pawłem Postaremczakiem (głównie saksofony), Ksawerym Wójcińskim (kontrabas) i Pawłem Szpurą (perkusja). Wrażenia mam mieszane... kawiarnia, w której odbył się koncert położona jest obok teatralnej toalety, której stan jest także "dramatyczny". Fetor, która zalatuje z tego przybytku skutecznie wyłącza z eskploatacji połowę klubu. Wszakże w drugiej połowie lokalu i na tarasie na zewnątrz, gdzie smród nie dochodził, kwitło warszawskie życie nocne, a nasycenie pięknymi dziewczętami było na tyle znaczne, że bypassy Waszego korespondenta ledwie zipały.

Ale i fajnych chłopaków było wielu, w tym spotkany przypadkiem Kajetan Prochyra, tak iż serce rosło, gdy się patrzyło jak tylu młodych ludzi, waliło drzwiami i oknami (dosłownie!), aby posłuchać trudnej w końcu muzyki. A ta pochodziła z wydanej w zeszłym roku płyty "Hera", która jest po prostu zjawiskowa i jedna z najlepszych w historii polskiego jazzu. Czy można się dziwić, że tak bardzo chciałem być uczestnikiem tego wydarzenia i przekonać się czy dobre wrażenie z odsłuchu CD potwierdzi się na koncercie granym na żywo?

Warunki, jako się rzekło, były niesprzyjające: oprócz smrodu, o którym wspomniałem, przeszkadzali bardzo pałętający się bezmyślnie wte i wewte ludzie, którzy jakby nie zauważali, że na scenie grają artyści wielkiego kalibru. Obok przy stoliku jakiś gruby potomek faszystów z jakimś podpitym potomkiem Jagiellonów i Piastów prowadzili bardzo kiepskim angielskim rozmowę na temat... ale czy to jest istotne?! Obok się działa wspaniała, nieziemska muzyka, a Ci kretyni pohukiwali do siebie na cały głos! Naprawdę, jestem dość powściagliwy, ale miałem ochotę podejść do tych baranów i wyprosić ich z sali....

A piszę o tym wszystkim, bo muzyka była tak piękna, tak zdumiewająca, tak porażająca, że niewiele sobie przypominam koncertów w życiu, które zrobiły na mnie podobne wrażenie. Mamy skład, który gra z mocą porównywalną to bandów Dona Cherry'ego, Pharoaha Sandersa czy Alberta Aylera. W akcji były nie tylko zwykłe jazzowe klarnety, saksofony, kontrabas i perkusja, ale takie dziwne instrumenty jak długa na kilka metrów, za przeproszeniem, fujara, którą Wacław Zimpel, jak co nieco przerosniętą czarodziejska różdżką, zaklinał publiczność. Wiele jeszcze było innych dziwnych wynalazków użytych przez muzyków, ale największym zaskoczeniem było brzmienie indyjskiego sitara, który obsługiwała orientalnie wygladająca czarnulka. Bardzo ciekawy pomysł! I nie chodzi mi wyłącznie o tę skądinąd urodziwą artystkę... 

Wyszedłem z koncertu oszołomiony, na zewnątrz duszna i ciepła noc ciagnęła mnie ku sobie jak grzeszna kochanka. Niedaleko Dworca Śródmieście przechodziłem koło klombu otoczonego kepą świeżo rozkwitłych kasztanowców. Nie byłem w stanie iść dalej: mój Boże! ptaki darły się jak opętane. Zastanawiałem się jaka siła pcha je ku temu: seks, pragnienie pieniędzy, żądza sławy lub władzy? Biorąc pod uwagę wszystko, co przeżyłem tego niezwykłego wieczoru, byłem pewny jednego: wiosna mija tak szybko i byłoby głupotą jej nie zauważyć...

Autor: Maciej Nowotny

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