Friday, December 28, 2012

The Moongang - Taxi (Allegro Records, 2012)

The Moongang (band)

Joanna Knitter – vocal
Piotr Góra – drums
Karol Kozłowski – bass guitar
Marcin Wądołowski – guitar
Hubert Świątek – piano
Roman Badeński – harmonica

Taxi (Allegro Records, 2012)

By Maciej Nowotny

The Moongang started in 2009 on initiative of harmonica player Roman Badeński. Although his main interest is in blues he was going with this band to out-step boundaries of one genre and saturate this music with elements of jazz, funk, R&B and pop. The necessary versatility gave him players known from local Tri-City jazz scene: bassist Karol Kozłowski recorded with Paul Band and their album "Second Face" was one of the most interesting releases as far as jazz rock is concerned in Poland in recent years; young guitarist Marcin Wądołowski recorded in 2011 his debut album "Git Majonez" which was kept in mainstream jazz stylistic and was warmly received by critics and audience; vocalist Joanna Knitter appeared on this year release "Take It Easy III" by veteran of this scene saxophonist Przemek Dyakowski. Other players like drummer Piotr Góra and pianist Hubert Świątek are less known to me but they fit well in overall idea of this music.

Musically there are no surprises here but nonetheless I must say that I like this album. It has some necessary characteristics of good jazz that is enthusiasm, authenticity and the spirit of collective music making. Whole album wheels around vocalist Joanna Knitter who penned texts (all English except one in Polish)  to all songs while music was written mostly by Marcin Wądołowski (8 out of 12 tunes) but also by Knitter (2), Kozłowski (1) and Świątek (1). But they seem alike, they must be a result of collective creative work and they all sound well. I am especially very pleasantly surprised by singing by Joanna Knitter who on above mentioned Dyakowski's album was rather unconvincing. It is obvious that she fells much, much better in her own material than in interpretations of old standards which she sung on "Take It Easy". She showed here sense of humour, immense energy and vitality. She obviously delights most in music that is full of emotions, concrete and wholesome and on "Taxi" she found a space and partners to do what she likes best.

The same can be said about the rest of the band as they clearly seem to relish the experience of recording this session. It sounds as if group of old friends gathered together and was exchanging as much some of their most cherished musical ideas as simply taking joy in having good time together. This mood of joy spreads over to music whose optimism is contagious soon making listener swinging hard. Good job!

1. Taxi [2:54]; 2. Rainy Day [3:26]; 3. Exaltation [4:43]; 4. Future [3:08]; 5. The Doors Are Open [3:35]; 6. The Message [3:50]; 7. Over You [3:29]; 8. Chooser [3:29]; 9. More And More [3:05]; 10. Ty [4:59]; 11. Swift [3:18]; 12. Nie całkiem smutny blues [3:00]

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