Wednesday, August 15, 2012

String Connection - Workoholic (1982)

String Connection (band)

Krzesimir Dębski – violin, piano, Polymoog
Zbigniew Lewandowski – drums
Andrzej Olejniczak – tenor & soprano saxophones
Janusz Skowron – Fender, Hammond, Polymoog
Krzysztof Ścierański – bass guitar

Mirosław Michalak – guitar (1 & 5)
Zdzisław Śróda – trombone (1)

Workoholic (1982)

String Connection is one of the top "stars" of the polish 80'. Playing hundreds of shows (not only in Poland) durring that period and recording few great albums, Krzesimir Dębski's (violin) crew managed to break into hearts of many (not only) jazz fans. Disbandment in 1988 was not yet the end of String Connection - they managed to play few shows in 1998 and decided to return for longer tour in 2011, issuing live album in 2012.

Their compositions are quite "listenable" - lots of beautiful classical influenced melodies by Dębski, strong rhythm section, great piano and sax. Much of that can be experienced on "Bokra", the very first tune from SC first album "Workoholic". Here it is:

There is a lot of dynamic, groovy playing here, still leaving place for calmer moods. The song starts and ends with orchestral-sounding section (faded out in the end), kind of unusual - 3 bars in length makes it feel like being "too short". Afterwards, the main, groovy rhythm appears followed by the melody played together by violin and sax. The tune runs like that into the next section and, after repeating the main groove, calms the mood down - beautiful sax playing here. This softer section leads the way to the soloing cycle. Piano, violing and sax solos are played over the same chordal pattern (8 bars) launched 4 and a half times for each solo - every instrument ends it's part by reaching F# minor chord, on which music morphes into the main groove (plus melody). Second and third solo (violin and sax) start with calming the music down for two turns. After the solos, the main rhythm + melody is repeated as in the begining, along with the next section, making it's way to the ending part.

Score and tab:
Score only:
Tab only:

Krzysztof Ścierański is considered to be one of the best bass players in Poland. Somebody called him "Polish Pastorius" once, but his style is quite different from famous Jaco. Ścierański, a self-taught musician, plays fretted basses (I don't know if he ever played fretless), "digs" stuff like slapping, or harmonics and likes to use bass effects (chorus, reverb, delay and so). The first "big" thing he got involved into was Laboratorium - polish jazz-fusion band of 70'-80', considered by many the best polish fusion band. Before String Connection, Krzysztof played in Zbigniew Namysłowski's fusion outfit called Air Condition and, after SC, lots of great projects, gigs and solo stuff. IMHO the most important bassist in Polish fusion. Just listen to this performance by, mentioned earlier, Air Condition with Namysłowski:

One word of explaination about String Connection album name. As you might notice, there is no such word in English as "Workoholic". "Workaholic" yes, not "Workoholic". Krzesimir Dębski explained in one of his interviews, that he made that word up - there was a trend is polish jazz then to do such things. He wanted to join "work" with "alcoholic", as he considered himself to be addicted to work (if somebody plays rehearsals at 4 a.m., like Dębski did in early stage of SC era, should be IMHO considered workaholic) and didn't know that very similar word already exists. That's why there is a "typo" in the album title.

By Brian The Fire 

Track listing:
"Bokra" (K. Dębski) – 7:10
"Cantabile in H-Moll" (K. Dębski) – 6:00
"Kill the Raven" (J. Skowron) – 3:48
"Quasi String Waltz" (K. Dębski) – 3:20
"Workoholic" (K. Dębski) – 4:32
"Seekuh" (K. Ścierański) – 3:10
"Primary" (J. Skowron) – 5:10
"Gutan Dance" (K. Dębski) – 5:30

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