Saturday, June 30, 2012

Andrzej Olejniczak & Apertus String Quartet - Different Choice (2011)

Andrzej Olejniczak - tenor & soprano saxophones

Apertus String Quartet:
Joanna Łuczak - violin
Marta Kaliska - violin
Joanna Krysicka-Gwarda - viola
Marta Katarzyna Filipiak - cello

Different Choice (2011)

Veteran Polish saxophonist Andrzej Olejniczak, who was a member of such legendary ensembles as Extra Ball, Sun Ship and String Connection, left Poland in the mid 1980s and disappeared completely from the local scene for many years. He continued his career as a musician and educator in Spain, which is quite successful and fruitful. 

The idea to record an album featuring the saxophone playing with a string quartet and improvising to its accompaniment fascinated Olejniczak for many years and was finally realized in 2010, when this album was recorded in Poland with the Polish Apertus String Quartet. The music was mostly composed and arranged by the great Polish violinist / composer Krzesimir Debski, the leader of String Connection, with Olejniczak contributing three compositions and two additional compositions being by other composers. The overall concept is to create a synthesis between Jazz and contemporary Classical music, with Olejniczak, who plays tenor and soprano saxophones, improvising at length over a pre-arranged background performed by the string quartet. 

This is definitely "serious" music, which has absolutely nothing to do with the popular sax & strings muzak, a music which requires attentive listening and quite an intellectual effort to follow. Olejniczak is a very experienced improviser and his tangled and convoluted solos are often challenging, and with the complex layers of the music played by the strings the total musical experience might easily prove a bit too much for a casual listener. Serious music connoisseurs however, should be able to enjoy this music profoundly. It does require several listening sessions, but the effort is definitely worth it. Such musical journeys are rare and Olejniczak (and Debski, who is definitely a major force behind this music) deserves praise and respect for pulling it through and making "different choices" indeed. It won't probably prove to be a very "popular" album, but this is exactly the reason why such music should be made, especially at a time when Artistry is fighting for its very existence. Wholeheartedly recommended!

Track listing:
1. Poise
2. New Romantic Expectation
3. Radkowi
4. Viuda Negra
5. Reminiscence
6. Cantabile in h-moll
7. Music for Soprano Saxophone and String Quartet
8. Canzonetta
9. New Romantic Temptation

By Adam Baruch

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