Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wojtek Mazolewski - Grzybobranie (2009)

Wojciech Mazolewski - bass

Candelaria Saenz Valiente - vocal, tuba
Irek Wojtczak - saxophone
Tomek Duda - saxophone
Kamil Szuszkiewicz - trumpet
Tomasz Ziętek - trumpet
Marcin Masecki - piano
Łukasz Moskal - drums
Kuba Staruszkiewicz - drums
Konstanty Czartoryski - voice
Wojtek Zralek Kossakowski - voice

Grzybobranie (2009)

This is the debut solo album by Polish bassist / composer Wojtek Mazolewski, well-known as the founder / leader of the legendary Polish Jazz ensemble Pink Freud, which managed to achieve considerable success on the local and international scene. He is supported on this album by a group of musicians, who were at the time members of Pink Freud or were associated with the group in one way or another. They are: trumpeters Kamil Szuszkiewicz and Tomasz Zietek, saxophonists Irek Wojtczak and Tomasz Duda, pianist Marcin Masecki and his wife Candelaria Saenz Valiente, who provided the vocal parts, drummer Kuba Staruszkiewicz and percussionist Lukasz Moskal. The album includes nine tracks, which although not specifically accredited to Mazolewski on the album's cover, are his compositions.

Recorded shortly after the excellent "Alchemia" album, which Mazolewski recorded with Pink Freud, this solo album is in many respects a continuation of the musical direction initiated there, i.e. a return to highly improvised Jazz. The music is not completely free and is based on pre-composed motifs, but with a lot of freedom awarded to the individual musicians, leading to lengthy expanded improvisations. Being very atmospheric, it develops slowly from delicate hints and low volume statements, gradually arriving at magnificent crescendos, with all the musicians playing together. There are many World-Music influences, some more obvious than others, like the distinctive Flamenco feel on the pieces featuring the Spanish vocals, which Candelaria delivers with a chilling sensitivity.

Although all the performances on this album are truly outstanding, I personally think that the work done by Masecki is the dominant factor, which turns this music from excellent to absolutely brilliant. The piano parts just keep everything together, filling the blanks and hinting towards the possible directions to be taken by the entire ensemble. Although not really up-front most of the time, his contribution is simply invaluable.

This is a complex album, which requires several (if not many) listening session in order to truly digest it and to appropriately comprehend its depth as well as appreciate its beauty. Regardless of one's favorite Jazz sub-genre, there is definitely something for everybody here, without compromising the quality or musical truthfulness herein.

This is something no serious Polish Jazz lover should ignore, so if you don't have it yet, get it as soon as possible. This stuff is timeless and although only a few years old, already feels like a classic.

By Adam Baruch

Tracklisting: 1. Grzybobranie [07:26] 2. Roztrojenie Jaźni [03:09:00] 3. Unde Melum [06:14] 4. Rezerwat Dzikich Stworzeń [05:41] 5. Aprowizacja [05:16] 6. Picada [03:00] 7. Zyzn eto smiesznaja i głupia sztuka [04:16] 8. Spacer Po Trawie [04:18] 9. Unde Bonum [10:01]

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