Monday, February 27, 2012

Jaroslaw Smietana – Sounds & Colors (Polish Jazz Vol.73, 1987)

Jaroslaw Smietana – electric guitar, acoustic Fender guitar, keyboards, voices

Jacek Pelc – premier drums, paiste cymbals, percussions
Antoni Debski – Fender bass, synthesizer
Piotr Baron – Selmer Mark VII tenor saxophone, soprano, clarinet, keyboards

 Sounds & Colors (Polish Jazz Vol.73, 1987)

This is an excellent album by Polish guitarist / composer Jaroslaw Smietana, his first recording under his name in the legendary Polish Jazz series, although he already released two albums with his group Extra Ball a decade earlier. Undoubtedly the best Polish Fusion guitar player, Smietana is also a great tunesmith; this album includes six of his wonderful compositions (and one standard), performed by a superb quartet, which includes side by side with the leader saxophonist Piotr Baron (one of future best Polish sax players), bassist Antoni Debski and drummer Jacek Pelc. The music is very similar to what one might expect from the best Fusion groups around at the time, especially Weather Report, which is a clear model. The guitar (and occasional keyboards) - sax exchanges could be very easily mistaken for another Joe Zawinul / Wayne Shorter dialog. But there is enough originality here, both in the compositions and the performances, to dismiss any accusations of plagiarism. These excellent musicians are not to be taken for granted and overall this album is as good, if not better, that any other Fusion album recorded anywhere on this planet. Fusion fans will definitely enjoy this album with no reservations, but the general Jazz loving public should be able to have a great time with it as well. It lost nothing of its charm over time!

Tracj listing: 1 Sounds And Colours; 2 Okapi, Pekari, Karibu; 3 Flashing Dance; 4 Every Day Niagara; 5 Turtle Song; 6 Days Of Wine And Roses; 7 Try To Make It Belter

By Adam Baruch

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