Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ircha Clarinet Quartet - Zikaron, Lefanay (2012)

Ircha Clarinet Quartet

Mikołaj Trzaska - bass clarinet
Wacław Zimpel - clarinete, toragato, bass clarinet
Michał Górczyński - bass clarinet
Paweł Szamburski - clarinete, bass clarinet

Zikaron - Lefanay (2012)

Majority of what people treat as jazz is not jazz in my eyes/ears. Jazz is becoming (does English grammar allow such a use of Present Continues with this verb?) more and more spiritual affair for me. It is the most serious of all my entertaiments. And I enjoy as much its seriousness as its playful character. Yet to succesfully mould those two elements in album or during concert is extremely rare indeed! I rehearse perhaps thousands of records every year and pay visit to tens of concerts but at the end of year I can barely name 10 albums or concerts that could be included into this "spiritual" category. This CD however enters this exclusive category effortlessly. And it enters not only into category of the best of albums of 2012 but in fact of the best of couple of last years.

Its uniqness manifests itself in number of aspects. It is third release by Ircha Clarinet Quartet after "Lark Uprising" (2010) and "Watching Edvard" (2011). For all these albums the same line-up of musicians is responsible: Mikołaj Trzaska, Wacław Zimpel, Michał Górczyński, Paweł Szamburski (although it should be noted that on their first disc legendary Joe McPhee appeared as a guest). It is obvious that this third album by this collective benefits greatly by experience they gathered by performing concerts together for this whole period. If quality of jazz may be measured by depth of interplay between members of the band this recording is very good example of that. There are moments when it is difficult to discern who is playing. They sound as if one, homogenous being using some strange four-pipes-differently-tuned-instrument!

Although Zimpel (check for example his latest "Where My Complete Beloved Is"), Górczyński (in Masecki's "Chopin Chopin Chopin"), Szamburski ("Przed Południem, Przed Zmierzchem") are cream-of-the-cream of young Polish jazz it is Mikołaj Trzaska who few years ago gave this ensamble the direction. The legend of Polish yass, this self-taught saxophonist has gone a long way from being an amateur despised by many professional musicians to being one of the greatests of Polish jazz along with Komeda, Namysłowski, Stańko, Seifert and others.

But he also went a long way personally when few years ago he publicly declared his Jewish roots and consciously started to explore this side of his background. The result surpassed all expectations! What we got here is neither mainstream or free jazz, or avantgarde, or folk, or Klezmer, or classic music, though it can very well fit into all these categories. But at the same time it is also something more: the art that trasgresses  artificial boundaries of music genres and first of all transcends tragic history of Polish Jews proving that it is possible to say something new, fresh and inspiring on this so intensively exploited field...

By Maciej Nowotny

1. Night Fly To The City
2. Red Shoes
3. Builder-Block Pampim
4. Upper Trias Caspian Fuge
5. Inner Uprising / Akhtamar
6. In Side Your Bely
7. Climbing And Sliding / Nigun Number 115

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