Friday, September 30, 2011

Tomasz Licak & Artur Tuznik Quintet feat. Anders Mogensen - Quintet (BlackOut, 2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Tomasz Licak & Artur Tuźnik Quintet feat. Anders Mogensen (band)
Tomasz Licak - tenor saxophone
Tomasz Dąbrowski - trumpets
Artur Tuźnik - piano
Andreas Lang - bass
Anders Mogensen - drums

Quintet (BlackOut, 2011)


Danish Carl Nielsen Music Academy in Odense has become quite popular among young Polish students lately. Thus the tradition of Polish-Scandinavian jazz links, dating back to Krzysztof Komeda times, is continued and not only by great masters like Tomasz Stańko (check his last "Dark Eyes" with new quintet) but also by young generation. Let me then briefly introduce players: Tomek Licak plays on tenor saxophone while Artur Tuźnik on piano. This is their second recording made together, of which I am aware of, after last year debut album "Last Call". That recording session was a prize for winning in the Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa festival. I wrote a favourable review of this album which featured Scandinavian rhythm-section (Emil Brun Madsen, Rasmus Schmidt) and was assertive mainstream jazz with clear hard bop roots. With minor changes, Tomek Licak replaced by saxophonist Maciek Kądziela, this group won this year in another top festival in Poland namely Jazz Nad Odrą (check this link for details). On "Quintet" we see following changes in personnel: rhythm section remains Scandinavian but musicians changed to Andreas Lang on bass and Anders Mogensen on drums plus Tomek Licak is joined by Tomek Dąbrowski who is rising star among Polish young trumpeters noted already by promising play in Magnolia Quartet or in OFF Quartet (review of this album soon on our blog). All above mentioned musicians are either students or teachers (Mogensen) at Odense. 

So now what is music on this album? When compared to "Last Call" it gives even more punch thanks to inclusion of fifth player, and Dąbrowski on trumpet is not a shy guy, but first of all because of changes in rhythm section.  Pulse as supplied by Andreas Lang and, most of all, Anders Mogensen is varied, energetic, colorful and creates challenging background for horns. And these young Polish horns are great at moments, especially when they play free, wild, unrestrained as in splendid "Uwaga!", "Złooo" or "Last Call" (all compositions by Tuźnik). This last tune features great solo by Dąbrowski but Mogensen drumming is phenomenal as well. "Hobbit" is Tomasz Licak showcase (btw it's his composition) with edgy and aggressive horn interweaving with excellent Dąbrowski trumpet. Last "Flow" shows perhaps what is the future for these players: less structure, less copying of old masters, less boundaries and more...yes...flow. Hopefully this will be direction these promising young musicians will take even more decisively in their next undertakings. Check music to draw your own conclusions:


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


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zbigniew Namysłowski - Kuyaviak Goes Funky (Polish Jazz Vol. 46, 1975)

Zbigniew Namysłowski - alto sax
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor sax, soprano sax
Wojciech Karolak - electric piano
Paweł Jarzębski - bass
Czesław Bartkowski - drums

Polskie Nagrania, 1975



One of the best, though short-lived groups led by Namyslowski was the 1974-76 Quintet with Karolak, Szukalski, Jarzebski and Bartkowski. These excellent jazzmen were lucky to record, in March 1975, rather unusual music by Namyslowski: the highly original pieces that sparked again the touchy problem of Polish folklore presence in jazz. Namyslowski had already earlier intrigued sensitive listeners with his probably unconscious infusing into his music some characteristics of the Polish Mountainers' folklore ("Siodmawka","Piatawka"),but only now this side of his creative imagination showed itself so strongly. The centerpiece of this record is the three-movement title composition in 15/8 meter. Here we can enjoy contrasting tempos and moods, mediations and chantings, bass ostinatos, obstinate shifting of two chords, and, in the last section, rock-like repetitive rhythm-patterns, moving back into pensive, melancholy chants that finally fade away to end the piece. But even here the folk colouring stems not form any methodical background studies or intentions.

Namyslowski simply allows his musical nature to pronounce itself freely, and exactly such a spontaneity is what makes it precious from the jazz standpoint. In "Sad Little Johnny", the first pastoral section is followed by the busy funk rhythms and free sax improvisations. Also in the "Quiet Afternoon" the prolonged and beautiful immersion in poetic meditation finds its momentary contrast in the ragged alto solo, backed by electric piano and drums, after which the music returns to the dreamy mood. "Little Lamb Lost" strayed obviously somewhere in the Polish Tatra Mountains, for in spite of rock rhythms (even with their help) the motifs and scales of Podhale region are very much evident.

Small sample of magnificent music from this album:


Author of text: Andrzej Schmidt

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Relacja z koncertu Lean Left w Dragonie



Poznański Klub Dragon powoli staje się centrum jazzowej awangardy w Polsce, jakim niegdyś była krakowska Alchemia. Choć może lepiej powiedzieć, że to centrum znajduje się po prostu tam, gdzie chce pracować Ken Vandermark, a dzięki Wawrzyńcowi Mąkini i Tomkowi Konwentowi chce w Poznaniu. Wielka chwała im za to, bo Ken jest często porównywany do Johna Coltrane’a i słusznie. Zachwyca jego bezkompromisowa kreatywność, całkowite poświęcenie muzyce, niewiarygodna wprost aktywność wyrażająca się w dziesiątkach projektów, w których uczestniczy i których jest siłą napędową. W piątkowy wieczór 16 września 2011 roku publiczność w Dragonie miała okazję słyszeć go grającego z zespołem o nazwie Lean Left, w skład którego wchodzą ponadto Paal Nilssen-Love, legenda awangardowej perkusji, a do tego dwóch graczy mniej mi znanych: Andy Moor i Terrie Hessels, którzy przeszli długą drogę, od momentu gdy w roku 1979 zaczęli grać punk w ramach formacji o nazwie The Ex. Zgarniając po drodze wpływy związane z noisem, rockiem, muzyką etniczną, doszli w końcu na Everest muzyki improwizowanej, bo granie z Vandermarkiem i Nilssen-Love tak właśnie trzeba określić.

Opisywać tę muzę na poziomie etykietek byłoby profanacją, poszukam zatem metafor. Ściana dźwięku jaką na początku stawiają muzycy zszokować może nawet zaprawionych w bojach „metalurgów”. Człowiek czuje się jak niedźwiedź wyrwany w środku zimy ze snu przez atak pancernej dywizji strzelającej ze wszystkich luf! Ale jednocześnie muzyka ta poprzez swoje wyrafinowanie, techniczną perfekcję wykonania i niezwykłe nowatorstwo lokuje się o lata świetlne od zwykle nieporadnych i trywialnych wysiłków większości kapel rockowych, noisowych czy metalowych. Wszyscy muzycy zamiast oczywistych i wielokrotnie powielanych schematów poszukują nigdy jeszcze nie słyszanych dysonansów, polirytmii, pulsu łączącego afrykańską dzikość z industrialną powtarzalnością.



Osią tej muzyki zawsze pozostaje Ken, jak wódz pośród swych legionów, pewnie i z wdziękiem steruje tym tsunami dźwięków za pomocą saksofonu tenorowego, a niekiedy także klarnetu. W centrum natarcia znajduje się zestaw perkusyjny Paale Nilssena Love, który jak artyleria, bombarduje publiczność decybelami precyzyjnych eksplozji. Na skrzydłach atakują zaś na swych gitarach elektrycznych Moor i Hessels jak jeźdźcy apokalipsy, kawaleria porucznika Custera czy szwoleżerowie pod Samosierrą. 

Po koncercie czułem się jak wrak człowieka, wata w uszach sprawiała, że siedzący 20 centymetrów ode mnie Tomek Łuczak musiał krzyczeć, żebym zrozumiał, że chce mnie poznać z Wawrzyńcem Mąkinią. Nie wiedziałem czy to moje nogi się trzęsą, kręci mi się we łbie czy też może budynek wzruszony do głębi tą wybuchową mieszanką zaczął się kołysać i chwiać w posadach. Na szczęście instynktownie włączyłem dyktafon i dzięki temu mogę teraz napisać słów parę o planach Multikulti. Przede wszystkim nowa Hera, kwartet Wacława Zimpela podobno tym razem wzbogacony o dodatkową osobę i brzmienia orientalne. Ale to jeszcze nie koniec jeśli chodzi o tego muzyka, bo w kolejce do wydania czeka jego kwartet z Perrym Robinsonem grający muzykę Żydów z Jemenu. Następnie płyta z udziałem Andrzeja Przybielskiego i dwoma młodymi muzykami: kontrabasistą Jackiem Mazurkiewiczem i grającym na perkusji Pawłem Osickim. Ponadto kwartet z Per-Akke Holmanderem, Robertem Raszem i Robertem Kusiołkiem, którego pamiętamy z doskonałej płyty wydanej na początku tego roku, a zatytułowanej „Nuntium”. Niewykluczone jest też pojawienie się płyty, na której zagrają razem Agusti Fernandez i Mats Gustaffson.

Jak już wspomniałem wyżej oprócz opanowania sztuki czynienia nieziemskiego wprost hałasu wielkie wrażenie w trakcie tego koncertu wywarły na mnie precyzja tej muzyki i wspaniałe zgranie muzyków. W trakcie rozmowy po zakończeniu koncertu uzyskałem od muzyków, w tym Kena, prostą odpowiedź na pytanie skąd takie porozumienie: kilkanaście lat wspólnego grania! Tyle lat wspólnego muzykowania pozwala Lean Left swobodnie szybować ku free jazzowym chmurom i nie bać się słońca. W którego żarze, jak w brzuchu martenowskiego pieca, z punkowo-noisowskiego ołowiu powstało czyste złoto muzyki improwizowanej w duchu naszych czasów…


Autor: Maciej Nowotny


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Light Coorporation - Rare Dialect (ReR Megacorp, 2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Light Coorporation (band)
Mariusz Sobański - guitars
Michal Fetler - baritone saxophone, alto saxophone
Michal Pijewski - tenor saxophone
Robert Bielak - violin
Tom Struk - fretless bass
Milosh Krauz - drums

Rare Dialect (ReR Megacorp, 2011)

More and more the PR & commercial factors decide what we think about music. Let me give you an example: such albums of this 2011 year as Tfaruk's "Love Communication", Daktari's "This Is Last Song About Jews Vol. 1" or Contemporary Noise Sextet "Ghostwriter's Joke" got a lot of attention from critics and public but they are definitely no better than this one by Light Coorporation titled "Rare Dialect". Perhaps on contrary! But those three previously mentioned albums were much more aggressively advertised, more skillfully maybe. I wish Light Coorporation had the same support because their music certainly deserves it!
Musically verging between progressive rock aesthetics and jazz open structures it shall sound attractive to all those to whom name likes Jim Black or bands like Mars Volta sound familiar. Leader of the band is guitarist Mariusz Sobański whose guitar blends music with all originality and bravery necessary to make this recording memorable. He is accompanied by pack of young musicians that are completely unknown to me. They probably are altogether new faces in world of jazz but they play really well. Still I feel like there is plenty of space to make this music even better, more refined, more spontaneous, deeper. This space is created mostly by leader who composed whole music but other players do not always go along him: pulse might be more diversified, horns less obvious, violin more passionate but all in all this is definitely successful debut and my credit for Light Coorporation is extended to their next recording...
PS. I would also like to stress very decent level of recording and mixing of this music and exceptionally high level of publishing. 

Check video for music from this album:



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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Andrzej Przybielski & Oles Brothers – De Profundis (Fenomedia, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Andrzej Przybielski & Oleś Brothers
Andrzej Przybielski - trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet, pocket trumpet

Marcin Oles - double bass
Bartlomiej Brat Oles - drums

De Profundis (Fenomedia, 2011)

(Editor) Already described on this blog this recording deservedly receives a lot of attention as much in Poland as worldwide. That is evidenced by this very favorable review by Israeli-based Adam Baruch (check his music boutique http://www.jazzis.com/):  

Recently deceased Polish trumpeter / composer Andrzej Przybielski was without a doubt one of the greatest Polish Jazz musicians of all times. This fact is known only to a very small group of "insiders", familiar with his playing and his role in history of Polish Jazz, mostly on the avant-garde scene, but nevertheless is an undeniable fact. Przybielski was a genius in every respect. His eccentric personality, erratic behavior, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of basic life and organizational skills have placed him on the outskirts of society and only when on stage or in a recording studio his figure would be surrounded by a divine aura and his trumpet would utter some of the most profound sounds ever produced by a human. It's hardly surprising that his recorded legacy is truly pitiful and a "career" spanning over 50 years did not produce even one proper recording as a leader. I feel especially lucky in this case, as Przybielski did play on my "The Book Of Job" production, contributing another small document of his amazing talents.

In the last decade of his life Przybielski was associated with the Oles Brothers: bassist Marcin Oles and drummer Barlomiej Brat Oles, Poland's most formidable Free Jazz rhythm section. This album features a live trio performance by Przybielski with the Oles Brothers, recorded in April 2010 (10 months before his death). They perform five pieces, three of which are credited to Przybielski and the other two to the trio. The music is perfectly suited for the extended improvisations by all the participants, which are the basis of this music. The recording and sound qualities are very good, which adds greatly to the overall effect. The level of musicianship is of course phenomenal and this album ranks among the best Free Jazz albums recently recorded that I happened to listen to. Every moment is simply breathtaking, every sound just right, every note magnificent. Having said that, the fact that Przybielski is no longer with us makes me franticly regret the fact that more such music was not recorded. This is an absolute must and all those Tomasz Stanko fans out there, please listen to this music and discover his unknown soul brother. Brilliant!

"Afroblue" from this album:



Author: Adam Baruch
http://www.adambaruch.com/

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Legendary Jerzy Mazzoll is back!!!

Jerzy Mazzoll was one of protagonist of yass movement in Poland in 90ties in previous century. His recordings like this one with Arhythmic Perfection titled "A" and released by Gowi Records in 1995 were arguably among the best during this so creative and tumultuous period in Polish jazz. Many things has happened in Jerzy Mazzoll life since then, some good especially in music where he was constantly searching for new inspirations and exploring restlessly what is surprising in jazz, but some bad as problems with health which effectively stopped his career for few years.
Now he is back and like before the range of his interests is breathtaking! Check just these two projects out of many. First, this one features Jerzy Mazzoll on clarinet, Henrik Frisk on saxophone while I/DEX provides electronically generated sounds and landscapes. Above mentioned artists are supported by inspiring visuals by Analog Visuals group.



Another project features Jerzy Mazzoll along famous singer Sainkho Namtschylak and pianist Piotr Rachoń. Outstanding!



All in all, I believe to be not only one waiting for Jerzy Mazzoll new recordings, hopefully coming yet this year...

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


Friday, September 23, 2011

Helikon: where underground met with heaven in jazz!

(Editor) I welcome warmly among writers on this blog Philip Palmer. In his first text he sheds light on relatively unknown but crucial role of famous jazz clubs in development of Polish jazz scene... Fascinating reading indeed!!! 

The thriving jazz scene in 1960s Krakow mainly centred around three venues. Students tended to catch their jazz at their official club, Pod Jaszczurami, or at Piwnica Pod Baranami. But musicians tended to opt for Helikon, one of the few places in Poland where the artistically inclined could speak their mind without fear of retribution. For this reason, membership was strictly limited to musicians, artists and people who could prove they were ardent jazz fans. The initiated gained entry by whistling ‘klezmer style’, at which point the barman would remove the sofa which blocked the door from the inside and let them in.

Until recently, it was difficult for the curious to find out more about Helikon. But that changed last year with the publication of a collection of contemporary eyewitness accounts given by musicians, their wives, political activists and artists. Helikon (PWM, 2006) was compiled by original club member, Grzegorz Tusiewicz.

Tusiewicz clearly remembers the anxious wait in the autumn rain as the club committee carefully perused his membership application and the jubilation when it was granted. For becoming a member of the Helikon was like being invited into an underground network of anti-establishment musicians, artists and thinkers.

The members of the club were united by an interest in modern art, intellectual freedom and political jokes of the kind that had to be whispered into ears in public places. They had a certain manner of dress, a way of combing their hair. According to the account in Tusiewicz’s book by political activist, Adam Macedoński, listening to jazz “was a protest against communism, its rules, the morals it endorsed, the un-Polish culture, or rather the anti-culture of the Soviet paradise.”

The exclusivity of the club extended to performance. Standards were high, especially after bassist, Jan Bryczek took over in 1962. Stanko told Radio Krakow about his first visit to the the club. Krzysztof Komeda was at the piano.

“We weren’t even bold enough to approach him, but I remember his distinctive frame hunched over the piano with that half-mocking, half-derisive, half-serious smile on his face.”

Stanko’s band ‘The Jazz Darings’, featuring Janusz Muniak on saxophone, would eventually take the club by storm with their take on The New Thing. Other revered regulars included Andrzej Kurylewicz, Andrzej Trzaskowski and Zbigniew Seifert.

The reminiscences in Tusiewicz’s book corroborate each other to a remarkable extent. People remember how cramped the club was, especially with musicians sleeping on benches and under the piano. They remember the message-laden prints by Wieslaw Dymny that adorned the walls, the thick smoke, the biting cold (there was no heating) and the thin stream of light filtering down from one small window. But what they most remember is the extraordinary atmosphere generated by uncensored discussions on jazz and politics and of course the intimate performances by jazz greats that still inspire them to this day.

Unlike Pod Jaszczurami and Pod Baranami, which still operate today, Helikon was unceremoniously shut down by the communist authorities in 1969. Tusiewicz attended the sad closing ceremony as the keys were handed over to the local magistrates.

Originally published in the September 2007 edition of Jazzwise.

Author of text: Philip Palmer 

(Editor) As musical accent please listen to Polish Radio Big Band from their album issued in 1965 under Andrzej Kurylewicz who was one of most famous residents of Helikon club in Cracow...

   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Biotone - Unspoken Words (SJ Records, 2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Biotone (band)
Michał Tomaszczyk - trombone
Przemysław Florczak - saxophone
Andrzej Zielak - double bass
Sebastian Kuchczyński - drums

Unspoken Words (SJ Records, 2011)



This is certainly successful debut as leader by young trombonist Michał Tomaszczyk. BTW he is not the only interesting young trombonist that should be noticed in our country: check for example interesting recent releases by Grzegorz Rogala - "Enthuzjazzm" (2011) and "Straying To The Moon" (2010). All musicians taking part in this recording are very young and just graduated from musical academies all over Poland but some of them already made first recordings as Andrzej Zielak who played in Przemysław Strączek Trio on "Earthy Room" (2007) or Sebastian Kuchczyński who collaborated with Strączek as well on "Light & Shadow" (2010) and with Wierba&Schmidt Quintet on recently issued "Black Monolith" (2011). 

Taking all these into account it should not surprise us that this music sounds a bit like graduation recital: full of technical mastery displays, impeccable phrasing and dedication to great masters of American jazz of 50ties and 60ties last century. Each young players deserve words of praise: Michał Tomaszczyk sound  on trombone is sweet and mellow, Przemysław Florczak saxophone soft and compassionate, Andrzej Zielak double bass distinct and clear, Sebastian Kuchczyński drumming precise and yet never too obvious. Michał Tomaszczyk should additionally be commended for composing all tunes on this album which are definitely strong side of this CD. What I admire in this music is that though clearly rooted in jazz tradition it radiates with enthusiasm, commitment, love. 

Ability to saturate music with emotions are clear signs of talent of above mentioned young musicians but of course since we are all so well aware how big competition in now on Polish scene (not mentioning world) question remains open when they all will go from this promising starting point? I hope that they will be capable of finding their own unique language and one day become truly matured artists telling audience their own story. All these great things lie ahead of them and wait for those who dare to reach for them...


Check tune titled "Another Space" from this album:



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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rafal Mazur / Keir Neuringer - Improwizje (2010); Rafal Mazur / Michal Dymny - Extension (2009); Eve Rise / Rafal Mazur - Elan Vital (2009)

Since his album "Unison Lines" issued in 2010 by Not Two label I've become a great fan of avantgarde bassist Rafał Mazur.  I therefore am waiting impatiently for his new records which unfortunately are still not coming. So in a meantime I was very happy to discover on one of many fast-developing net labels named INSUBORDINATIONS couple of his earlier recordings, available for free rehearsal.

"Improwizje"

Rafał Mazur  - acoustic bass guitar
Keir Neuringer - alto saxophone

On "Improwizje", recorded in Crracow in venue called Bunkier Sztuki on 22th April 2006, once again we meet the same artists as on above mentioned "Unison Lines", that is Rafał Mazur and Keir Neuringer. Mazur bass and Neuringer saxophone harmonize perfectly: while Mazur line is edgy and stumbling, never obvious, always restless and searching, Neuringer alto saxophone yearns, wails, squeals, full of raw emotions and crystal clear communicado. This 18:35 long improvisation proves that there are few duos in Poland, if not in Europe, that can conjure in musical dialogue emotions stronger and more primal than these two musicians.

Check this link for music or download.

"Extension"

Rafał Mazur - acoustic bass guitar
Michał Dymny - electric guitar

On this album, 33:10 minutes long, recorded on 15th May 2008 in Cracow, we got intimate and subdued conversation of two guitars: Mazur - acoustic bass and Michał Dymny - electric one. Regardless change of style for more "cool" we still get here immensely creative work with Michał Dymny eloquent electric guitar being more than enough challenge fo Rafał Mazur bass pulse. Ambiguous and unsettled it all the same provides very rewarding music indeed!  

Check this link for music or download.

"Elan Vital"

Eve Risse - grand piano
Rafał Mazur - acoustic bass guitar

Finally this one recorded 21.06.2008, Centre of Contemporary Arts, in Kraków, lasts 22:52 minutes. Let me quote few lines from its review: "This experimental net label is always reliable for fascinating avant-garde improvisations and Elan Vital is no exception. With the work being totally acoustic, the two artists delicately weave a pattern of fragmented phrases, staccato lines, and soft tones into a fairy tale piece of art. The two musicians pluck through the session on bass and piano strings for approximately two thirds of the time, then change to bow and keyboard for a decidedly more tense interaction. It is a very interesting work that shouldn’t be too odd for the avant-garde music novice. This is another highly recommended online album from the always exploring Insubordinations net label."

Check this link for music or download.

Summarizing, this three albums from highly original bassist Rafał Mazur shall keep us busy while waiting for his new material after above mentioned excellent "Unison Lines" recorded with saxophonist Keir Neuringer last year for Not Two label.

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

Monday, September 19, 2011

Leszek Mozdzer - Komeda (ACT, 2011) by John Fordham

Leszek Możdżer - piano

Komeda (ACT, 2011)








(Editor) Leszek Możdżer newest album "Komeda" remains in focus of public and critics not only in Poland but also throughout Europe which proved by many reviews, among them this interesting one recently published in Guardian:

Germany's ACT label seems to be on a mission to introduce the world to Europe's rising newjazz-classical pianists. Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer is classically trained, but discovered jazz in his late teens. His solo debut for the label is, fittingly, a homage to one of Polish music's legends, the short-lived jazz pianist and movie-score composer Krzysztof Komeda. All eight pieces are Komeda's, and Możdżer gives them a romantic sheen (though one that's abraded by a dissonant urgency) the composer would have understood. The opening Svantetic develops from brightly dancing lines to demonic chordal percussiveness. Low, booming resonances softly boil beneath the tricklingly poignant, then threateningly spiky Sleep Safe and Warm (written for Polanski's film Rosemary's Baby), while the skipping, boppish Cherry is a rare upbeat number. Możdżer's swaying swing and slow-melody nuances suggest Keith Jarrett at times, but his outbursts of percussive playing, flinty treble-note sparks and staccato drum-pattern sounds are all his own. The pianist stops dead in the midst of the closing Moja Ballada, as if in acknowledgement of Komeda's sudden (and mysterious) death in 1969, at the age of 38.

Please listen to tune titled "Sleep Safe And Warm" from this record:


Text: John Fordham

Saturday, September 17, 2011

DM&P - Insular Dwarfism (Audiotong, 2011) by Stephan Moore

DMP Trio (group)
Pawel Dziadur (electronics, wave_attack software)
Slawomir Maler (sax)
Philip Palmer (sax; found sounds)

Insular Dwarfism (Audio Tong; 2011)




(Editor) Stephan Moore from befriended JazzWrap blog on highly inspiring hard-core electronic and experimental music from recently hyper-active Audiotong label:

DMP Trio and their debut Insular Dwarfism are probably one of the most daring albums I've listened to this year. Originating out of the experimental scene in Krakow, Poland, DMP have strived to achieved a balance between distinct patterns and expressionistic thought.

There are moments where DMP remind me of John Zorn's Painkiller group. It's a very difficult listen but extremely rewarding. I do think we all need challenging music like DMP to ask ourselves what more can be done with sound. And where can it go?

DMP utilize the unique combination of two saxophonists, electronics and what Pawel Dziadur has termed "wave_attack" software, by which he can manipulate "real time" instrumentation without predetermined construction. In short, an even more advanced thought on improvising. The results are fascinating.

"Sea Serpent Fiesta" opens slowly with a modular soundscape that builds into a double barrel cacophony of saxophones and electronics before gently returning to its quiet origins. "Trepanning For Dummies" continues on the same theme but adds an additional level of crackling white noise that could suggest an influence of artists such as John Cage, John Zorn and Faust. The dueling match between Palmer and Maler is quite beautiful and worth your making the journey through this piece with multiple listens.

DMP really works well as a unit. Dziadur's electronics alongside the full-throttle charge of Palmer and Maler at first brush may sound devastating to the ear. But just as early Archie Shepp or recent David S. Ware, you will find the melody and art laying not too far from the edges. "The Worm And A Dip Pen" is another example of this unified display of electronics and horns. Moving swiftly between high pitch and soaring counterpoint, the trio displays a forward thinking range and calmness within a swirling series of thoughts and patterns.

"UV Mother DP" and "Reason In Question" both see the horn section taking the lead with Dziadur adding subtle and accumulating effects around the sides. There is a point at which on "UV Mother DP" rises and never comes back. You just have to follow the journey upwards.

DMP Trio have created a debut that lifts sound investigation to a new level. The main reason why I've fallen in love with Insular Dwarfism is because of the sheer uniqueness of the instrumentation and the recording process. This is challenging music for challenging thinkers. Enjoy...



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

Friday, September 16, 2011

News from Rafal Gorzycki!!!


Rafał Gorzycki, a drummer, improvisator, member of such great bands as Sing Sing Penelope or Ecstasy Project informed us about his plans for future. 
First, Gorzycki will continue to record with his quartet with Kamil Pater, Paweł Urowski and Irek Wojtczak (who substituted Olek Kamiński). In 2010 he released with this band CD "Dziki Jazz" (2010) which collected very favorable reviews and they plan new album for Autumn 2011. 
But this no the end of good news and in Autumn we shall also be able to listen to new CD by Ecstasy Project, another of Rafał Gorzycki's bands. His recordings with this collective (check for example "Reminiscence") were very well received as in Poland as abroad and I am waiting impatiently for both these albums...

Listen to Ecstasy Project from their last album "Reminiscence":

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Irek Wojtczak - Direct Memory Access (Nasiono, 2011)

Irek Wojtczak - reed isntruments
Tomasz Ziętek - trumpet

Direct Memory Access (Nasiono, 2011)






Irek Wojtczak, reedist, is player whom I hold in high esteem. Only recently he took part as sideman in such successful projects as free jazz "Freeyo" (2009) with Michał Goś and Wojtek Mazolewski, mainstream on Krystyna Stańko "Secretly" (2010) or ethnojazz Wojciech Staroniewicz "Afreakan Project" (2011). I only mentioned few out of many and it is then no surprise he came to conclusion that time has come for project under his own name. In this undertaking he is backed first of all by trumpeter Tomasz Ziętek who is not only playing on this album but also together with Wojtczak arranged more than half of all tunes. They are backed by magnificent pack of Polish jazz players with names like Przemek Dyakowski, Kuba Staruszkiewicz, Michał Goś, Adam Żuchowski, Piotr Mania, Tymon Tymański, Sławek Jaskułke, Leszek Możdżer, Dominik Bukowski appearing. The only musician not present here is Tomasz Stańko, I am joking of course, but judging by list of players who took part in this recording it should be one of the best albums in recent years. List of players is yet incomplete because "Direct Memory Access" provides kind of ethnojazz music we find here also quite numerous pack of Polish folk players, few musicians with African background and even a choir of Tibetan monks! And string quartet!! I wonder how Irek Wojtczak managed to finance this incredible cast? This is truly fantastic organizational achievement!!!
But from musical point of view it is unsatisfactory. Strange blend of music genders, featuring crowd of players, it leaves impression of chaos and lack of direction. Arrangements are pop-like, music is written to be easy-to-listen and one wonders for what purpose all these fantastic players were gathered here? To play such trivial, shallow and uncomplicated notes? Doubtful as doubtful is artistic effect of all this tremendous effort...

Check video from concert featuring music from "Project Łódź" which eventually led to recording above-described album and which in fact sounds much better than final product because it's coherent (played by one band):

No Flash

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Krzysztof Herdzin Trio - Capacity (LEMCD, 2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Krzysztof Herdzin - piano
Robert Kubiszyn - bass guitar, double bass
Cezary Konrad - drums

Trio (LEMCD, 2011)





Krzysztof Herdzin is a busy man: pianist, composer, arranger, conductor and educator he is active not only in jazz but also in classical music ("Symphonicum") or pop music. He has recorded up to this moment more than 160CDs but for last few years I was waiting for exactly such a project as this one: 100% focused on jazz. I was pretty sure that taking into account his stunning technique, great musicality and compositional talent he would easily make his way back to the very top of Polish jazz trios. And that exactly what has happened with "Capacity" as this is definitely as good as last recordings of other great Polish trios as Marcin Wasilewski Trio ("Faithful"), RGG ("One") or Piotr Wyleżoł Trio ("Children's Episodes").    
Krzysztof Herdzin play on piano is impeccable, for listener as I am who was brought up on classical music, it is pure pleasure to hear with what easy and perfection he handles piano, this total control of instrument let him concentrate on making his notes singing and dancing. And they really do! Robert Kubiszyn is versatile player who is able to play on bass guitar like, say, Marcus Miller while feeling equally at ease when taking double-bass and playing like for example Marc Johnson. Cezary Konrad is mainstream drummer whom I recently heard with Piotr Lemańczyk, Włodek Pawlik or Krystyna Stańko. Both Kubiszyn and Konrad are not my favourite kind pf players since they are a bit predictable and easy-to-read  and once I heard that they were Krzysztof Herdzin picks for this album I was worried what will be outcome of such decision. But I proved to be wrong since while directed by Herdzin and playing his music their undisputable technical mastery is fully exploited to advantage of music. I want especially to stress Kubiszyn performance: his switching between bass guitar and double-bass is very appealing and changes my up-to-this-moment rather skeptical appraisal of this player (though on Tomek Grochot's "My Stories" he already made good impression on me).
Very strong side of music on this album are compositions: all originals except "Prayer For El Salvador" by Russell Ferrante whom we know well from famous Yellowjackets. Music is coherent, diversified, charismatic showing from first note that it was written and arranged by someone with immense skills and experience. 
Well, all in all this is piece of gracious and lighthearted music which shall appeal to all who like fusion and go back with pleasure to music of Return To Forever, Weather Report or early Pat Metheny. But in the end I want to say that appreciating Krzysztof Herdzin performance on this album I simultaneously would expect on his next record some material that he never covered, new stylistics, musicians of personalities strong enough to challenge his own ideas, perhaps from other generation, other countries. Certainly his talent is of such immense capacity that it calls for such opportunities! 

Check promo video for this album:


Author of text:
Maciej Nowotny

Monday, September 12, 2011

Janusz Trzcinski - The Book Of Job (1985-2007)

Krzysztof Zgraja (flute and piano)
Andrzej Przybielski (trumpet)
Zbigniew Wegehaupt (bass)
Janusz Trzcinski (drums)
Mieczyslaw Litwinski (sitar)
Milo Kurtis (percussion, Jew’s harp and trombita)
Andrzej Mitan (vocals)
Adam Baruch (narrator hebrew)
Juliusz Berger (narrator hebrew)
Ignacy Machowski (narrator german)
Jerzy Radziwiłowicz (narrator english)
Zdzisław Wardejn (narrator polish)


(Editor) This special recording is as interesting from musical as from historical point of view because its story is reflecting dramatic events in Poland after Solidarity movement became subdued through imposing martial law in 1981. All this in fascinating narration by Adam Baruch (his musique boutique www.jazzis.com):  

The tale of The Book Of Job project originates in 1981, when a group of Polish jazz musicians, actors and other intellectuals decided to stage a production based on one of the most dramatic biblical stories – the story of the sufferings God decided to put on Job to test his faith. To understand the context, one has to remember that at that time Poland was being torn apart by political and social upheaval, led by the “Solidarnosc” movement, in protest against the socialist regime. The political struggle included many strikes and demonstrations, some of which led to violent clashes with the police and people being shot or beaten to death. The biblical story of Job’s suffering seemed to many Poles as an allegory reflecting their situation. 

The project involved a musical suite written especially for the project and performed by top Polish jazz musicians, with fragments of text from the Book of Job being recited by actors. The premiere performance was presented during the 1981 Jazz Jamboree Festival in Warsaw, with further performances scheduled all over Poland. However, on December 13, 1981 the Martial Law was announced in Poland as a last resort to save the regime from crumbling and all art activities were put on hold, with tanks occupying the streets of Warsaw. It seemed that the project was dead after just one performance. The Martial Law was finally lifted in 1983 and it was only a question of time when the Soviet Block was about to disintegrate, but the socialist government stayed in power till the end of the decade. 

In 1985 I received a call from some musician friends in Warsaw, inviting me to come over and co-produce a recording of “The Book Of Job” as well as take part in the expanded multi-lingual version of the project, by reciting the text in Hebrew (in addition to Polish, German and English). As much as I understood the Polish background and circumstances surrounding the project, my interior motives to take part in the project were quite different. I always considered the Book of Job as the closest biblical allegory to the fate of the Jewish People with the Holocaust symbolizing Job’s sufferings and the birth of the State of Israel as the outcome. Therefore realizing this project in Poland, where most of the Holocaust took place seemed more that appropriate to me. I was very excited by the prospect, but the possibility to actually undertake the venture seemed utterly impossible. I left Poland in 1967 and never visited the country since. My Polish citizenship was taken away when I left Poland, and at the time (1985) Poland and Israel had no diplomatic relationships. Poland and all other Socialist countries severed they diplomatic ties with Israel following the 1967 Six Days War, which meant there was no Polish Embassy in Israel, where I could get a Polish visa. In general no Polish visas were issued to Israeli citizens, especially those of Polish origin. My Polish friends started to thread the winding path of Polish bureaucracy and for some strange and completely incomprehensive reasons the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided to grant me a visa for a few days, which I had to collect in Germany, something that was completely unheard off at the time. 

Finally in the bitterly cold late autumn (October) of 1985 I made the trip to Warsaw via Frankfurt and stepped on Polish soil for the first time in 18 years. I still remember the face of the Polish border police officer when I presented my Israeli passport at the Warsaw airport. I was of course a total nerve wreck, considering the fact that Poland was still very much a police state at that time, and constantly imagined that I could get arrested under any pretext at any given moment. For a few days I never stopped looking around trying to figure out if I’m being followed. Eventually the nervousness disappeared, mostly due to the warm reception I received from my friends, old and new alike. I flew to Krakow, where the production team and the musicians and actors assembled and we started rehearsing and then recording the music and the recitations. The recordings were done in a well-equipped studio, which was located behind the stage of the “Teatr Stu”. Everything went pretty smoothly and I stayed on for a couple of days to mix the tapes for the final master. After the production was over I went for a few days to visit Silesia, the southern, coal-mining part of Poland were I was born, and later on returned to Warsaw. I couldn’t take the master tapes with me, as these would surely be confiscated as illegal political unauthorized contraband, but I was promised they would be sent to me, as I planned to release them on my own Jazzis label, which I planned to start soon after. The producers also promised to release the album in Poland. 

A few days later I was back home in Israel and although I visited Poland many times later, I never heard about the project again. I lost contact with my Polish co-producers and although the tapes did land in my lap many years later, I left them untouched. Imagine my surprise when upon my recent visit to Poland a friend told me that the album was finally released just a few days before I arrived and even some reviews appeared in Polish papers (mentioning me) on the day I arrived. I was flabbergasted, angry for about 10 seconds (for not being consulted about this) and of course ecstatically happy to see this baby finally being born, after a 22 years long pregnancy. Especially so when I saw that the album was beautifully packaged in book format with splendid historical photographs (mine included, looking much younger of course). So much about the background of this album, and as to the contents, listening to it for the first time in so many years I must admit I’m more than proud to be associated with its creation. The music, performed by a wonderful septet of Polish jazz musicians, including Krzysztof Zgraja – flute and piano, Andrzej Przybielski – trumpet, Zbigniew Wegehaupt – bass, Janusz Trzcinski – drums, Mieczyslaw Litwinski – sitar, Milo Kurtis – percussion, Jew’s harp and trombita and Andrzej Mitan – vocals, resembles in spirit the Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew sessions, with plenty of space for solos performed over spacey / funky rhythmic patterns. The recitations are used as overlays, switching between the various languages, creating a dramatic collage effect over the music. Quite ambitious and far reaching in any respect and considering the fact that it was done 22 years ago, I’d say it was well ahead of its time. I suppose not everybody can enjoy this kind of creation as much as I do, but nevertheless it is a momentous piece of intellectual significance, cutting deeply into the listener’s soul, if listened to carefully and attentively.

Check music from this album:


Author of text: Adam Baruch

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sza / Za (Szamburski, Zakrocki) - Przed Południem, Przed Zmierzchem (Lado ABC, 2009)

SzaZa (band)
Paweł Szamburski - violin, viola, drums
Patryk Zakrocki - clarinets, voice

Przed Południem, Przed Zmierzchem (Lado ABC, 2009)

One of the most astonishing albums recorded in recent years in Polish avantgarde music is little known in Poland, with only few and positive in the country and with virtually no reviews abroad. It's beyond me! Where all these people, critics included, have their ears? How can pure beauty go near them but they remain deaf when it sings for them? This text is my humble and certainly inappropriate attempt to change this state of affairs.
Duo Sza / Za is arguably the best Polish avantgarde duo along with Mikrokolektyw (check their "Revisit") or Jachna / Buhl ("Unfinished Books"). This music is so original, so fresh, so innovatory that no labels may well described it. Only for the reason it puzzles, it disorientates, it pushes boundaries forth it may be called jazz but otherwise it has few if any features of typical jazz music that you might know up to this moment. What is it then like?    
I would compare it to moments of day-dreaming, in minutes of greatest August haze at midday or when twilight comes and all people look suddenly terrified by something unknown and odious. What is most astonishing is that these splendid two CD albums contain music composed for two theater performanes "Before Noon, Before Dusk" (album's title translated) and "Sentimental Piece for 4 Actors" both directed by Paweł Cieplak. But very rarely as in this case thetare music stands entirely for itself and separated from stage communicates so well with a listener. There is not any scratch, cut, roughness which will indicate that this music was rearranged and adjusted to needs of a double CD.
Let us finally ask most important question: who are those artists resposible for such a heavenly music? Paweł Szamburski and Patryk Zakrocki - rememer their names - as they at all probability will be in years to come most original vioces in Polish contemporary music. In fact they already have impressive streak of projects and records they took part in. Szamburski's clarinet may be found on such excellent albums as "Branches Of Dirty Delight" (2009), "Itstikeyt / Fargangenheit" (2010) or "Lark Uprising" (2010). As for Zakrocki's violin on this blog you find him on recording by Tupika (2006) but he is very well known as animator of Warsaw avantgarde and underground scene with more then 10 albums he already appeared in.
Magic music, great muscians, powerful jazz. All is in this music to be wholeheartedly recommended!

Pure magic...check it ot please...


Author of text: Maciej Nowotny



Friday, September 9, 2011

Nucleon - Fitoplankton (Audio Tong, 2011)


Nucleon (group)
Aleksander Papierz (sax)
Michal Dymny (guitar)
Tomek Gluc (electronics)
Jakub Rutkowski (drums)
Andrzej Sawik (piano)

Fitoplankton (Audio Tong; 2011)

(Editor) Stephan Moore (check his excellent blog: JazzWrap) sheds light on this very interesting third release by Nucleon:

With a combination of traditional fusion and a modern rock aesthetic, Nucleon are building an exciting book of material that we should really take note of. The group, developed by founding members Jakub Rutowski and Andrzej Sawik, quietly (or loudly) built a huge following within their home country of Poland. Their self-titled debut ("Nucleon") was fantastic and had all the elements of a young group searching through their influences but also creating its own identity.

The ensemble suffered a major loss last year with the unexpected passing of the classically trained co-leader, Sawik before the group could finish its next record. But Nucleon forged on and created the beautiful, Fitoplankton, an album that explodes through the speakers with vibrancy and urgency. With a sound that is reminiscent of King Crimson, Headhunters, Last Exit and ironically, Nucleus, Nucleon is that "something different" you've been looking for the last couple of weeks.

"Where R U Going Boy?" rambles ans swirls with almost 'third stream' quality in the outset with Papierz and Gluc leading the charge. Sawik, whose piano parts are sampled in perfectly, joins in as the rest of group follow. It's an heavy laden groove that has lots of funky moments but the standout performances lay between Papierz, whose delivery is on fire along with Rutkowski's pulsating timing that never lets the group simmer down. "Metalug", another bristling piece highlights the groups rock influences with a cavalcade of chords in its opening that never really lets up. It's a short piece that soon rolls into the quiet and evocative "Sola W Occie" which is driven by Sawik's classical keys and gently moves back and forth between ambient and experimental thought. Papierz delivers some nice almost Coleman-esque solo passages with Gluc and Rutkowski adding eerie direction just underneath his notes.

"Fitoplankton" presented me with thoughts of Red era King Crimson mixed with the keyboard psychedelics of Headhunters. The group mix a sense of raw, gritty energy thorugh Dymny and Rutkowski but tempered by some buoyant floatation from Papierz.

Nucleon are a group that I hope will soldier on after the lose of their influential co-founder. They found a way to intermingle Sawik's pieces into this power record which keeps his name alive. But it also gives the group a new point of direction for the future. 

Check music from this inspiring CD:



Author of test: Stephan Moore
http://jazzwrap.blogspot.com/




Thursday, September 8, 2011

Piotr Wojtasik - Hope (Power Bros, 2003)

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet, fluegelhorn,

David Liebman - tenor saxophone
Clarence Seay - bass
Ronnie Burrage - drums
Leszek Możdżer - piano
Maciej Sikała - tenor saxophone 
I am probably the only reviever in Poland that do not share common admiration towards this music. In my review I will put forth reasons for such a opinion especially in view that this music has multiple strenghts. First of all there could be no stronger line-up in Polish jazz than that gathered for this recording. Trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik, saxophonist Maciej Sikała and especially pianist Leszek Możdżer are real stars and leaders of important bands on their own which played a big role in history of jazz in Poland (like Miłość for example). No less prominent are foreign players: double-bassist Clarence Seay is mostly educator, but he also was playing with Wallace Rooney or Wynton Marsalis. Ronnie Burrage, a drummer, is very similiar story, definitely great instrumentalists and worthy sideman (he played with Archie Shepp and numerous others big names) although he wasn't able to build any coherent career  as original artist on his own. On the other hand Dave Liebman is real star name in world of jazz, well remembered from his cooperation with Miles Davis but since then he consistently builds his reputation as top saxophonist active as well in mainstream as in avantgarde projects.

Therefore one should not wonder that music is really very, very well played. It sounds especially well when it's uptempo reminding great albums of the masters of bop trumpet like Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham or Freddie Hubbard. When down-tempo music loses a bit of its appeal but remains solid enough to keep listener's attention until bop storm returns again. 

Another strong side of this album are all original composition which fill this CD. Some of them are really good ones though unfortunately they do not go away even for an inch from typical jazz structure with theme, improvisations and reprise. And this is my my only but serious objection to all albums as exemplified by this so good one: what is the point to record yet another albums that sounds exactly like the best bop albums of the past? Jazz is not classicical music and I do not seek in it rehearsals of old music. I am looking forward to music that sounds fresh and reflects present time. So this is basically great piece of retro-jazz...so much and yet so disappointingly little... 

Different staff and tunes and yet style very similar as on most of Piotr Wojtasik recordings:


Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

Monday, September 5, 2011

Profesjonalizm - Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Profesjonalizm (band)
Marcin Masecki - piano
Kamil Szuszkiewicz - trumpet
Michał Górczyński - clarinet, saxophon
Tomasz Duda - saxophone
Jerzy Rogiewicz - drums 
Wojciech Domagalski - double bass
Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011)

The leader of Profesjonalizm is pianist Marcin Masecki whose talent may be compared only to the greatest in history of Polish jazz as Krzysztof Komeda (pianist himself), Zbigniew Seifert or Tomasz Stańko. I observe his artistic development for more than ten years! He started as child prodigy playing in jams in legendary (now gone) jazz club Akwarium; through his first steps as professional musician taken within Grzech Piotrowski's Alchemik Band ("Sfera Szeptów") when nothing heralded he may once be such a great individuality; then through later recordings with Grzech like "Dracula In Bucharest" when his style began to dominate over music of his senior partner; to astonishing piano solo recordings like "Bob" or "John" which may be seen as last stage in moulding of his unique style. I jump a lot and omit important stages but the point is that Masecki industriously and patiently was building his own language for the most time either misunderstood or even mocked by both other musicians and audience. What was only a promise however on all previously mentioned albums has been fulfilled on "Chopin Chopin Chopin"... 
Before I briefly analyse this fascintaing music let me stop for a moment on other members of this sextet. Drummer Jurek Rogiewicz is a leader on his own (check fantastic "Levity"), his personality, his ubounded energy and enthusiasm are simply beyond description. He is supported in rhythm section by Piotr Domagalski, Rogiewicz partner from above mentioned Levity. No less prominent is brass section which consists of creme-de-creme of young avant-garde players in Polish jazz: trumpeter Kamil Szuszkiewicz ("Kapacitron"), clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Michał Górczyński ("Lark Uprsisng" or "Istikeyt/Fargangenheit") plus Tomasz Duda ("ŚĘ" or "Alchemia" among many others) playing an baritone saxophone.
As far as music is concerned it is fully composed and certainly deserves thorough analysis that would take much more than it is possible for short note on internet blog. However even brief review of influences is truly breathtaking: Bach whose "The Art Of The Fugue" or "The Well Tempered Clavier" are clearly present here; Thelonius Monk with his dissonant yet infinitely precise harmonies; Archie Shepp obsession with marches; Albert Ayler attitude toward composed element in free jazz; but also names from modern classical music should be mentioned as John Cage or Conlon Nancarrow. This picture is complemented by obvious Polish music roots as evidendeced in album's title and last composition on album which is variation on Chopin's Polonaise (B-dur so-cold "Children's"?) and clear Komeda notes scattered all over this CD but not in style, attitude or sound but in ability to establish relationship with present generation, its tastes and preferences.This list is by far incomplete and too simplified, there is much more in here, from tunes from Soviet cartoons ("Wilk i zając") to pre-bop, dense and scurvy sound of big bands from the era before stereo recordings.
I therefore stop here leaving more careful analysis to jazz critics because what I want to say is as simple as this: it is a piece of great modern entertainment nonetheless it is ambitious and deep enough to satisfy even most demanding jazz connoisseurs. It's Polish jazz at its best!!!

Check this video for sample of music:



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

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spejs - Rozwinał mi sie turban (Biodro, 2010)

Spejs (band)
Tomek Glazik - sax, electronics
Karol Szaltis - keyboards
Jacek Buhl - drumms
DJ Awry Sz
Audun Ramo - bass
Sebastian Gruchot - violin

Rozwinął mi się turban ((Biodro, 2010)

This project definitely deserves close examination! Musicians involved are first rate: Tomek Glazik is excellent sax-man who played with such good avantjazz groups as Sing Sing Penelope or Contemporary Noise Sextet; drummer Jacek Buhl is crucial player in Polish avantgarde and his latest release "Unfinished Books" is among top three best Polish jazz albums this year; Sebastian Gruchot is talented violinist who as Glazik is associated with Sing Sing Penelope. The project begun in fertile musical scene focused around legendary Mózg club located in Bydgoszcz.

What kind of music this Polish-Norwegian band delivers? It is deeply rooted in yass movement with its iconoclastic yet self-ironic attitude therefore it sounds fresh and brave. It is also very noisy, with strong electronic component, often chaotic and unstructured which may sound for unprepared ear difficult and edgy. There is plenty of improvisation on this record which is inspiring but it doesn't necessarily mean that this collective freedom brings much beauty to the surface. In fact it often doesn't which is to certain extent deliberate but it is also good example of what Tomasz Stańko once described (having in mind some of his own albums from 70ties) as type of free jazz "interesting for one or two movements but tiresome in the long term". As you probably know I am rather critical toward typical mainstream jazz as it is too predictable but I am also distanced from free jazz that chooses to be uncommunicative. Still, I feel like there is great potential in this band if they stop to stick too closely to long gone yass heritage and engage in dialogue with present audience that looks in jazz less for revolution but more for good, classy yet ambitious entertainment.

Check following video for sample of this band's music:


Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Jak dałem pierwszy w życiu autograf czyli weekend z jazzową awangardą

 


Ponieważ jazzowa awangarda to muzyka, która stawia wszystko co znane na głowie to i ja zacznę ten tekst… od końca. A ów weekend z awangardą skończył się w niedzielę krótko przed północą, tuż obok olśniewającego budynku Centrum Nauki Kopernik, gdzie stałem przechylony przez barierkę i gapiłem się jak pusta butelka płynie brudną Wisłą, a obok ludzie puszczają małe balony z zapalonymi świeczkami w środku, które szybko unoszą się ku niebu i nikną w chmurach, by tam się spalić.

Nad brzeg przyszedłem z Cudu Nad Wisłą, modnej ostatnio warszawskiej knajpy, położonej tuż nad rzeką, z maleńką scenką w przerobionym kontenerze i z publicznością rozłożoną na europaletach pokrytych sztuczną trawą, kocykami i poduszkami. Ta publiczność to głównie młodzież z położonego w pobliżu Uniwersytetu, uśmiechnięci, lekko zblazowani, eleganccy, wręcz wykwintni, nowi młodzi piękni dwudziestoletni. Na tym targowisku próżności, na którym snobizm mieszał się w wyrafinowany sposób ze skrajną dezynwolturą, miał zabrzmieć free jazz najczystszej wody i trudno było o miejsce bardziej odpowiednie i równocześnie nieodpowiednie.

A grali: legenda polskiej awangardy saksofonista Mikołaj Trzaska i młody, obiecujący kontrabasista Jacek Mazurkiewicz. Koncert zakończył się bisem, który był zasłużony, bo muzycy rozgrzewali się w miarę grania. W tej drugiej części Trzaska czarował swoim chropawym, pełnym intensywności altem i klarnetem przypominającym jako żywo brzmienie Jimmy’ego Giuffre z wyraźną jednak klezmerską nutą, a Mazurkiewicz nie ustawał w udowadnianiu, że gra na kontrabasie to zupełnie inny sport od tego, który uprawiali Scott LaFaro, Dave Holland czy Gary Peacock.

Nie chcę przez to powiedzieć, że pierwsza część koncertu była nieudana, chociaż słychać było, że muzycy dopiero szukają wzajemnego porozumienia. To jest wszakże całkowicie zrozumiałe w tym czystym jak łza free, gdzie niemal nic nie jest z góry zaplanowane. Zresztą na początku publiczność zupełnie nie wspierała artystów – ktoś czytał książkę, ktoś podrywał dziewczęta, ktoś śpiewał 100 lat solenizantce, ktoś jeździł dookoła na rowerze (teren jest dość duży).

Przed koncertem miałem okazję porozmawiać o muzyce tak z Mikołajem Trzaską jak i z Jackiem Mazurkiewiczem. Mikołaj Trzaska zaskoczył mnie stwierdzeniem, że gra jazzowy mainstream, a Jacek Mazurkiewicz – zapowiedzią swojej płyty nagranej z Pawłem Osickim i – uwaga! -Andrzejem Przybielskim. Więcej o tym koncercie i rozmowie z artystami w artykule, który ukaże się wkrótce…

Przenieśmy się teraz do warszawskich Złotych Tarasów, które poprzedniego, sobotniego wieczora opuszczałem z głową pełną sprzecznych uczuć. Z jednej strony nie mogłem wyjść z zachwytów nad pięknem inspirowanych folklorem sefardyjskich Greków pieśni Jorgosa Skoliasa i klasą gry sekcji rytmicznej tworzonej przez Bartłomieja i Marcina Olesiów. Z drugiej strony nie mogło chyba być publiczności bardziej obojętnej na to co się działo na scenie. Letnia bowiem scena w Złotych Tarasach mieści się wprost na patio modnej galerii handlowej w Wawie pośród stolików mających tam miejsce pięciu restauracji. Przy jednym ze stolików, tuż obok mnie, siedział łysy osiłek, obwieszony złotymi łańcuchami, którego ręka miała większy obwód od obwodu mojego uda. Znajdowaliśmy się może 5 metrów od sceny, przy czym on odwrócony był plecami, ale ani razu się nie obejrzał na grających muzyków! Przez cały ten czas z bardzo znudzoną miną dłubał w zębach srebrną wykałaczką, a ja nie mogłem wyjść ze zdumienia, bo przecież nawet małpa w ZOO obróciłaby się choć raz, z ciekawości!!!

Trudno znaleźć słowa odpowiednie by opisać jakość muzyki tworzonej przez Jorgosa i braci Olesiów, bo jest tam wszystko by długo nie wyjść z zachwytu: wielka muzykalność, żywy element etniczny, mainstreamowa przystępność i awangardowa odwaga. A to wszystko łączy się w spójną całość dzięki niezwykłej technicznej maestrii tak grającego na kontrabasie Marcina Olesia, jak na perkusji – Batłomieja Olesia, a nadto głosu Jorgosa Skoliasa, który osiągnął ten najlepszy wiek w życiu artysty, gdy dojrzałość wyraża się w swobodzie improwizacji . Udowodnił to w drugiej części koncertu, gdy w jednym z utworów połączył w jeden zapierający dech w piersiach wokalny popis pieśń sefardyjską, włoską piosenkę („Nel blu dipinto di blu” Domenico Modugno) i amerykański rap!

Zbliżamy się do końca mojej relacji, proszę zatem przeczytajcie, co zdarzyło się w przerwie między pierwszą i drugą częścią koncertu, gdy udało mi się zamienić z Marcinem Olesiem parę słów. Dowiedziałem się od niego iście sensacyjnych rzeczy, bo oto wiosną przyszłego roku ukaże się płyta braci Olesiów z Theo Jorgensmannem w prestiżowym wydawnictwie HatHut Records, a możliwe jest także wydanie innego materiału nagranego z tym samem muzykiem i z Chrisem Dellem dla kanadyjskiego Red Toucan Records. Doczekamy się także być może nowej płyty braci w duecie, po tym jak ich wydana kilka lat temu płyta DUO wielkie uznanie zyskała u smakoszy jazzowej awangardy. Kto wie może ziszczą się też plany nagrania materiału z saksofonistą Gregory Tardym, a jakby tego było mało już w listopadzie bracia wchodzą do studia oczywiście z Jorgosem Skoliasem , a ich płyta ma być wydana przez legendarne wydawnictwo Tzadzik Records . Natomiast jeśli zmaterializują się plany nagrania płyty z genialnym Matthew Shippem, który to projekt realizuje Matusz Walerian, to po prostu będzie to wydarzenie jakiego nie było w polskim jazzie od lat!!!

Podczas tej jakże interesującej pogawędki podeszła do nas młoda niewiasta i zażyczyła sobie od Marcina autograf, a potem ku wielkiemu mojemu zdziwieniu poprosiła i mnie o to samo! Chciałem oczywiście wyprowadzić ją z błędu tłumacząc, że pomyliła mnie z Bartłomiejem Olesiem, z którym wspólny mamy jedynie wysoki wzrost, design okularów i fryzurę (a raczej jej brak). Ale Marcin powstrzymał mnie władczym ruchem ręki i powiedział: „Dziecku się nie odmawia”. Po odejściu dziewczynki siedzący przy stoliku artyści bezwzględnie zaczęli się ze mnie natrząsać, a Bartłomiej Oleś stwierdził, że skoro za niego rozdaję autografy, to w takim razie bardzo proszę, oto jego pałeczki i marsz do perkusji, na sławę trzeba zarobić! „Ależ panowie!” – krzyknąłem w przerażeniu – „zrobię wszystko co chcecie tylko oszczędźcie mi tego!”. Marcin Oleś mrugnął do brata, a ja domyśliłem się jak mogę wykupić się z grania na Bartłomiejowej perkusji…

Na koniec posłuchajcie jak to brzmiało -jakość nienajlepsza, ale myślę, że jednak warto posłuchać, aby odczuć atmosferę:


Autor: Maciej Nowotny
Fot. Blanka Tomaszewska


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