Sunday, August 12, 2012

Piotr Baron - Jazz na Hrade (Multisonic, 2012) by Maciej Nowotny

Piotr Baron – soprano, tenor saxophone

Adam Milwiw-Baron – trumpet
Dominik Wania – piano
Maciej Adamczak – double bass
Przemysław Jarosz – drums

Jazz na Hrade (Multisonic, 2012)

This album may be seen as a concert version of yesteryear highly acclaimed "Kaddish" (2011). Counted by most critics among top five best albums in Polish jazz that year it was exceptional mixture of top notch mainstream jazz and of modern avantgarde experiments all united naturally with leader's fervent religiosity. The outcome was breathtaking: very personal musical utterance not imitating anything, equally rooted in tradition yet facing future.

It is therefore no surprise that I was very happy when few months ago Piotr Baron sent me a sample of music from concert given for Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus at the Prague's Castle (Hrad) hinting it may be released as live album. Music struck me with power and naturalness only the best live recordings posses. It is fortunate turn of events indeed that this material was published so quickly after the event and that we can now all take part in this exceptional artistic feast.

I call it the feast for two reasons. First, though it contains mostly tunes from "Kaddish" (title track and "Modlitwa") there is also one tune - "Chrystus zmartwychwstan jest" - from Baron previous recording "Sanctus" issued in 2008. But even if you know these tracks already, they are so changed and extended that it is basically totally new and fresh listening experience. This last song, based upon Polish XIV c. Easter tune, grew from 8:25 to 19:53 in time! The same applies to other tunes. That may sound like risky decision but the result is extremely satisfying. Music gained in freedom, every detail shines clearly with this unhurried beauty which characterizes best improvised art. 

Second, this effect is enhanced by changes in line-up. Piotr Baron on saxophone and his son Adam on trumpet remain as frontmen in this band. What changed is new, young musicians in rhythm section in persons of  doublebassist Maciej Adamczak and drummer Przemek Jarosz. They brought into game a lot of vitality and agressivness augmented by equally young pianist Dominik Wania who brilliantly met the task to replace fantastic Michał Tokaj.

Finally let me observe that the band should rather be called a sextet instead of quintet. And that is because of a role played by incredibly empathic and sensitive Czech audience which supplied musicians with an energy necessary to make this evening so mesmerizing and unforgettable.

By Maciej Nowotny

Track listing:
1. Kaddish
2. Chrystus zmartwychwstan jest
3. Modlitwa (Prayer)

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