Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wojtek in Bangladesh!

Fot. Paweł Joźwiak
Bangalore may be the rock capital of the country, but its jazz enthusiasts have a plenty of reason to rejoice — a performance by Wojtek Mazolewski and his quintet was recently held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in the City. The concert was a delightful one, because unlike most other fusion performances, this one was pure jazz. The concert was held as a part of the Bangalore School of Music’s silver jubilee celebrations.

The quintet comprised Oskar Torok on trumpet, Marek Pospieszalski on saxophone, Joanna Duda on piano, Michal Bryndal on percussion and Wojtek himself on double bass. They formed quite a picture on stage — especially the pianist, who despite being attired in a dark suit, had a blonde mohawk and turquoise Wayfarers.

With no preamble, the quintet began their first piece for the evening, a melodious tune with long-drawn notes and soft accompaniment on the piano. Wojtek proved to be master at manipulating his instrument — he pulled the strings in such a way that they created harsh, almost digitalised notes. The saxophone was especially a delight to hear. 

The composition was such that each instrument was given its moment in the sunshine, while the others took the background. The trumpet and saxophone were especially mesmerising. At the end of the piece, the drummer asked for his sound to be adjusted, and then delighted the crowd with a quick bow and a namaste.

Next up, they played a Polish dance number, a folksy piece which went down well with the audience. The drummer switched his sticks for soft, tasselled ones, and created very unconventional noises on the drums — at times gentle tapping the cymbals, and otherwise merely drawing the sticks over their length to produce a hushed, barely-audible noise. The trumpet was clearly the star of this piece.

After this, they delighted the audience by playing their composition ‘Smells Like Tape Spirit’ — an ode, it would seem, to Nirvana’s classic anthem. It was a delight to watch Wojtek’s fingers tripping over the strings of his instrument. The overall tone of the piece was light and deliberate, and somewhat slower than the other numbers. The play-off between the saxophone and double bass was excellent. 

They also played a ballet, which is called ‘Princess No 9 and 10’. The audience was delighted with the performance, clapping throughout. Ankur, a member of the audience, said, “I always make it a point to come for jazz concerts. This was very nice, and I loved the music on the saxophone.”


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