Monday, February 27, 2012

Bartek Adamczak interviews Mikolaj Trzaska

Bartek Adamczak: For many years you've been playing almost exclusively with foreign musicians, now ever more often you work withyoung polish ones. From my perspective it seems the improvised music scene here is growing strong, do you agreewith that, do you feel you've contributed to this development?

Mikołaj Trzaska: It is fascinating what's been happening in Poland in recentyears. There are so many musicians so I will use the exampleof the Clarinet Quartet. Those guys have very differenteducational backgrounds. Michał Górczyńsk i and WacławZimpel are classicaly trained. Wacek (Wacław) comes fromMozart, Michal studied Stockhausen and Xenakis. Szambi(Paweł Szamburski) is a klezmer music master. Those areyoung cats, each one's a distinct character. All perfectlyeducated, quite unlike me. When I play with such people I find Istill have a lot of energy in stock, and I learn so much fromthem. You wouldn't find guys like these 10 years ago, withsuch musical conscience and skills set.

My contribution is maybe more the intellectual and energeticinput, but the language, its richness – this is all young guysnow, or young in spirit at least. What's happening in Wroclaw – the things done by Artur Majewski and Kuba Suchar(Mikrokolektyw duo), what's Rafal Mazur doing in Kraków, all things happening in Warsaw – Paweł Szpura, RaphaelRogiński, and he's alltogether a different case, all those things are incredibly inspiring, cause those guys don't just playimprovised music but they do a whole lot of other stuff.

You know, we played with Ircha (Clarinet Quartet) in Prague, Trevor Watts and Veryan Weston had played before us. AndTrevor said afterwards he could hear this was music from Poland. In our sound, in our attitude, he said it was unbelievable.

I understood also what does Slavic sensibility mean, it's very profound, very special. And the reason is our culture was a'victim' of so many changes, so many new influences. Maybe we don't have jazz, I mean it's not our base. I'm inclined nowto think that Jewish music is my jazz, my base. Jewish melodies are a mine „My Funny Valentine”, „Adon Olam” is mine„You don't know what love is”. This is my standard. Mosha Bieregowski's collection is my Real Book. Because that's themusic I feel, I understand better. When I listen today to jazz standards I'm not particularly interested, but when I listen to THISmusic that's when I think : „this is mine”.

And I think that polish music begins to sound loud in us. This is something we don't control, we don't have any power overthe culture, we're trying to deny it but it is there. This struggle, this effort to cancel one's own cultural history – Russian jazzmusicians do it, Romanian jazz musicians do it, it's a mistake. Countries with such rich cultures, and they've given thissupposedly so cool jazz thing.

Only now I see this, when I play with guys from the States – they've grown with this music, it's something utterly different, it'sa natural thing to them, the language, the form, and we have yet to learn it all. Meanwhile we have our own form. And I find itvery important that, the thing we're doing with Ircha, that this is Slavic, that this is really our own music.

Full text of interview available at:

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