Friday, October 26, 2012

Janusz Zdunek / 4 Syfon – Baterie (2001)

Janusz Zdunek - trumpet
Tomasz Glazik - saxophone
Wladyslaw Refling - bass
Jacek Buhl - drums
Krzysztof Gruse - vocals


By Adam Baruch

This is the 3rd album by Polish Jazz trumpeter / composer Janusz Zdunek and his quartet called 4 Syfon, which also included saxophonist Tomasz Glazik, bassist Wladyslaw Refling and drummer Jacek Buhl. Of the fifteen relatively short tracks on this album, six were composed by Zdunek, three by Buhl, another three (or in fact one repeated three times) by guest vocalist Krzysztof Gruse, one by Refling, one is a folk tune and the remaining one is by Krzysztof Komeda, the Godfather of Polish Jazz.

Although recorded after the heyday of the Polish Yass movement, which happened in the late 1990s, Zdunek continues the nonchalant, almost Punk attitude towards Jazz on this album. Based on simple, repetitive rhythm patterns, which originate mostly in Rock, the melody and the improvisation is played on top, sometimes by one instrument and sometimes by both soloists. A few tracks are pretty "free" (written, not surprisingly by Buhl, who would be drawn towards the Free Jazz movement later on in his career), but they are definitely exceptions.

The group's treatment of the Komeda tune is perhaps the most typical example of the idea behind this music; rhythmic simplicity and improvisation on top, with some Rap elements and overall atmosphere of "we do our thing and don't give a fuck what you think about it". Strangely enough it works just fine. It's pretty obvious that these are greatly talented musicians, trying very hard not to show it.

Over a decade after it was recorded, this music definitely lost some of its initial innovative approach and edge, but most of it still sounds pretty cool today. Not for everybody, but there are enough weirdoes out there to enjoy this stuff immensely forever.

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