Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pink Freud - Alchemia (2008) by Adam Baruch

Pink Freud (band)

Wojciech Mazolewski - bass, percussion
Tomasz Ziętek - trumpet
Tomasz Duda - saxophone, bass clarinet
Marcin Masecki - Hammond B3, Wurlitzer electric piano
Kuba Staruszkiewicz - drums

Alchemia (2008)

This is the 6th album by Polish ensemble Pink Freud, which managed to gain considerable popularity on the local scene, both with Jazz and non-Jazz listeners and critics alike. Formed in 1998 by bassist / composer Wojciech Mazolewski, the group changed its lineup several times over the years but succeeded to maintain its popularity and gradually achieved a cult following and a large fan base. Musically the group offers a unique amalgam of genres and musical directions, originating with Jazz and improvisation, but also encompassing elements of Punk Rock, dub, jungle, drum and bass and electronic music. 

In many respects it is a direct continuation of the Yass movement, which flourished in Poland in the 1990s, and could be referred to as post-Yass. Since Yass was initially intended as an expression of rebellion against the established Jazz canons, which many young musicians felt to be stagnant, post-Yass took the rebellion a bit further out, emphasizing the cross-genre trend, groove and even dance elements, which resulted in the music being much more widely accessible. As opposed to the intellectual image that Jazz is usually associated with, this music is intelligent fun music, with some Jazz associations, and should be treated as such, no more and no less. 

This album, which was recorded live at the legendary Jazz club "Alchemia" in Krakow, finds Pink Freud in an expanded quintet lineup, with trumpeter Tomasz Zietek and drummer Kuba Staruszkiewicz supported by saxophonist Tomasz Duda (who recorded with the group earlier) and brilliant young keyboardist Marcin Masecki. Five of the six expanded tracks (all over 10 minutes long) on this album are originals by the band members and the remaining one is their interpretation of a Joe Zawinul tune. In many respects this album is a "back to the roots" experience for the band, which returns to extensive Jazz improvisation, which although always present at the root of their music, was often subdued on their previous albums. The special atmosphere and ambience of the club and above all the presence of Masecki transform the band into a full-fledged Jazz combo and a great one at that. The trumpet / saxophone front line enables the players to stretch out, supported comfortably by a full rhythm section, with Masecki supplying some breathtaking solo spots as well. The emotional and more importantly musical level of the band heard here surpasses everything they managed to achieve earlier, and is truly exquisite. True to their basic approach, the band emphasizes personal expression and spontaneity rather that elaborate skills or scholarly musical background. For listeners, who can appreciate such approach to music, this is quite an experience. But this music is important enough to be heard by any music connoisseur and definitely should be re-visited for in-depth listening experience. Great stuff!

1 Police Jazz 12:30
2 Punk Freud 11:29
3 Mademoiselle Madera 10:05
4 Muzyka Pięciu Przemian 10:45
5 Boogie Woogie Waltz 13:50
6 Rozmowy z Kapokiem-Noc 9:57

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