Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bemibek - Dziennik podrozy (Soundpol, 1993)

Bemibek (band)

Ewa Bem - vocal
Aleksander Bem - drums
Andrzej Ibek - piano, organ
Jerzy Bartz - drums
Paweł Dąbrowski - bass guitar
Leszek Matecki - guitar
Henryk Miśkiewicz - saxophone
Sławomir Piwowar - guitar

Dziennik podrozy (Soundpol, 1993)

Honestly speaking I am rather ill-disposed towards anything that even remotely resembles smooth jazz production. I am therefore not very unhappy that this genre so strong in the US is marginal as far as European Jazz is concerned and in Polish jazz even more. Though on Polish soil smooth jazz never indeed has taken roots too deep it does not mean that some musicians were not trying. Most of these tries as well in  past as now are easy to skip but this it is at least worthy to note that such a current is present in Polish jazz stream. This specific recording is definitely nothing groundbreaking but it is interesting from historical point of view as one of first Polish try in the territory where both pop and jazz music meet.

Bemibek was set up in 1970 by Ewa Bem (vocal) and Aleksander Bem (vocal, drums) with Andrzej Ibek (vocal, piano, organ). With addition of Tadeusz Gogosz (bass guitar) group debuted on famous Jazz Nad Odrą festival where they scooped 1st Prize, clearly a sign that critics as well as audience then were open for that kind of decently played and light-hearted muse. It is difficult for me to trace further career of this band, I am not an expert in this kind of jazz, but getting back to the music one must say that it redeems itself and may be listened to with pleasure due to awesome performance of Ewa Bem, one of the most interesting female vocalists in Polish jazz history. She is still active as much as educator being responsible for recent influx of many young, talented jazz vocalists in Poland and as an artist realeasing new albums. I hope that some of her discs, especially those more ambitious, inspired by her favourite Ella Fitzgerald, will find their way to this blog one day...

Please, listen to great bossa nova from this album:



Author: Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/

Monday, January 30, 2012

Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet (Polish Jazz Vol. 6, 1966)

Zbigniew Namysłowski Quartet (band) 


Zbigniew Namysłowski - alto sax
Adam Matyszkowicz (Makowicz) - piano
Janusz Kozłowski - bass
Czesław Bartkowski - drums

(Polish Jazz Vol. 6, 1966)

(Editor) One of the best and most significant recordings of then just 27-years old legendary Polish altoist Zbigniew Namysłowski...

"Jazz fills up my life. It means to me everything -- said Namyslowski. -- Playing in a quartet suits me best... Until recently I did not set great store by composition. But now to be successful one cannot merely play Horace Silver's themes and other people's arrangements. And so I have created my own quartet and my own music, to be able to play what I want and how I want...". 

Quoting these words I cannot help recalling a thin and insignificant looking boy who burdened with a huge cello scrambled on to the gigantic stage of the Forest Opera in order to play with the Modern Combo group, which was taking part at the II International Jazz Festival at Sopot (August 1957), as a completely unknown soloist. And yet a few years later Zbyszek Namyslowski won recognition not only with jazz fans and connoisseurs at home but also with the exacting critics abroad -- after numerous tours of his quartet in such countries as Italy, Belgium, West Germany, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Finland, USA. Namyslowski went through most suitable stages before he achieved his present-day results; he played the trombone in traditional and swing bands, for some time also the trumpet and cornet, and when there was need he accompanied the vocalists on piano. 

But the ambitious musician was never after the label of a "multi-instrumentalist". Eventually he chose the alto saxophone in which he could prove himself completely. What we appreciate with Namyslowski particularly is his equally enthusiastic attitude to all styles in jazz; he is always himself while playing hard-bop along with rhythm and blues, free-jazz and the third current along with the fringes of pop-music, and who at the same time would feel an irresistible fascination towards new ventures? A separate chapter could be devoted to Namyslowski's compositions, the more so that his ambition is to draw inspiration from Polish folk-lore which leads to the sort of music that Poland exports as her contribution to the world of jazz. 

While writing on Namyslowski we must say a few words about the remaining members of the band as they also have their say in modern jazz. The pianist ADAM MATYSZKOWICZ (b. 1940) made his first steps as jazzman within the Cracow "jazz boheme"; in 1963 he made his mark as member of "The Jazz Darlings", and already in those days critics predicted him a fine career which was to lead him subsequently to appearances in the quartet of the known Polish tenore saxophonist Michal Urbaniak. His greatest success abroad was his accompanying to the known Polish group "Novi" which won the first prize at the 15th International Jazz Festival in Zurich (1965). The percussionist CZESLAW BARTKOWSKI also became a jazzman in a student milieu having begun his career in the FAR quartet. In 1961 he made himself known to the wider public at the International Jazz Jamboree at the Warsaw Philharmonic, then he participated in the triumphant tour of Namyslowski's quartet (among others in Britain, Italy, West Germany). From time to time he joins other bands such as the excellent quartet of the Polish pianist Krzysztof Komeda. The bass player JANUSZ KOZLOWSKI (b. 1941) started, like his colleagues, as member of modern student bands. For some time he played with traditional bands such as "Warsaw Stompers", Ragtime Jazz Band, the group Bossa Nova Combo and "Pagart's" big band with whom he went on numerous tours abroad.

Siodmawka (Seven-Four Bars) -- After the composition based on Polish mountaineer's themes called "Piatawka" (Five-Four Bars) in which Namyslowski used rarely appearing in jazz rhythm 5/4, the composer went here still farther and used in "Siodmawka" the beat 714. Along with the free form we hive here harmonies of a mountaineer's tune. This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting items of the record. 

Despair -- In respect of melody and harmony, an equally interesting piece. This is a twelve-bar form of  blues, but without the use of the blues scale. 

Frances the Terror -- Here we come to know the quartet operating within free-jazz, the sort of music which perhaps does not appeal to all, but expresses, however, the artistic changes occurring in our days and the evolution of jazz. The band is improvising in two tempi, two phases, and does it very consistently. 

The Beetle Humming in the Reeds -- A folk-tune again, this time it's a Krakowiak. The quartet plays it with dash and half-jokingly. 

My Dominique -- A typical ballad of simple harmonies, in slow tempo. The composer wrote it with his little daughter, Dominika, in mind. 

The Wardrobe -- The composition, which is being played dynamically and in a "dirty" way, may be regarded as a mixture: free harmony + big beat. Let's hear what's been the result. 

Mead Drinker Lola -- A sort of Charleston, a musical joke with typical solo parts. It can do without commentary, being simply a musical relaxation. 

"Despite the comings and goings of our many American visitors in 1964, one of the most refreshing things to hit the British jazz scene last year was the visit of these four young Poles. This album... is a striking illustration of the high standard of European jazz. ("Melody Maker", London, Jan. 9th 1965) "...As an orthodox modern jazz group, they possess all the qualities one would look for in their American counterpart... As a group, the four men are obviously well accustomed to each other's playing.. In addition their music has a strange attractive flavor which one can only put down to their contact with Polish folk music...".  

(Editor) Please check "The Wardrobe" (Szafa) from this album:


Text:  original line notes from the album's back cover ("The Times", London, 18.3.1966)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nils Landgren & Tomasz Stanko - Gotland (ACT, 1996)

Nils Landgren - trombone

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet

Anders Eljas - organ
Claus Bantzer - organ

Gotland (ACT, 1996)



"For most Swedes the island of Gotland is a synonym for freedom, and they “celebrate” their summer with no greater intensity elswhere. It is also, however, a place of meditative peace. Together with Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, and organists Anders Eljas and Claus Bantzer, Nils Landgren created music of great “inner-strength”. The session is recorded in church – the most peaceful concert hall one can find. “Gotland” is the other side of the Nordic trombone funk-master." 



Source: http://www.nilslandgren.com/gotland/

Marek Napiorkowski Trio - KonKubiNap (Universal, 2011)

Marek Napiórkowski Trio (band)

Marek Napiórkowski - electric and acoustic guitars
Robert Kubiszyn - electric and acoustic bass guitars
Cezary Konrad - drums

KonKubiNap (Universal, 2011)

With this album a guitarist Marek Napiórkowski surprised me positively. He shall be placed in mainstream jazz as is evidenced by his last CD "Wolno" (2007) which is strongly influenced by  ECM aesthetics. But most of his up-to-date releases although very pretty, accessible and favored among not only jazz but also pop audience, were a bit too smooth for my taste. Fortunately this one is of a different kind! Retaining his ability to communicate with wide mainstream audience Napiórkowski shows on "KonKubiNap" sharp talons. That is due to rock drumming by Cezary Konrad and fusion influenced bass guitar of Robert Kubiszyn. Assertive and articulated pulse of this excellent rhythm section make chops of the leader sound clear, articulated and very, very suggestive. This makes whole effort of this very well cooperating trio one of the most interesting guitar led albums in year 2011 along with Maciej Grzywacz "Black Wine", Rafał Sarnecki "Madman Rambles Again" or Daniel Popiałkiewicz "Solstice".



Author: Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Opalińska & Whates announce "Lumiere" for March 2012

"Lumière" - an engaging new album from Mira Opalińska and Douglas Whates. With a lightness of touch and a darkness of sound, the piano and bass duo improvise on their unique arrangements of works by classic film and world cinema composers".

(Editor) I have recently found such a message in mailbox. I've got many similar but little music recommended in them ever find its way to this blog. With this recording however it's different! It has delicacy, intimacy and warmth fully justyfying its closer rehearsal. I am really curious how it will sound on CD realease planned for Spring this year?! In a meantime however you can enjoy full CD, for free, from this duo website. Recommended!

Inner Ear (Trzaska / Swell / Holmlander / Daisy) - Breathing Steam (Kilogram Records, 2011) by Bartek Adamczak

Inner Ear Quartet (band)

Mikolaj Trzaska - alto saxophone, bass clarinet, tarogat
Steve Swell - trombone
Per-Ake Holmlander - tuba
Tim Daisy - drums

Breathing Steam (Kilogram Records 2011)


Inner Ear group is an offspring of Ken Vandermark's Resonance Project (it's second edition to be precise, the one that resulted in "Kafka in Flight"). All the musicians involved here arrived late to Krakow the first night of the project and thus was formed the group to play the last set of the evening. Ironically enough, when the decision to reunite came and the band was to play a small tour in Poland last year, Tim Daisy and Steve Swell got stuck at the airport in Munich and couldn't show up for what was planned to be the final concert of the Autumn Jazz Festival of 2010. The other two played that night with Ken Vandermark who fortunately was still in town (more about which in this post). All the travelling - logistics problems did slow them down, but in the end the quartet got together, united by the will to play music with each other. The music on this cd was registered a week later in Radio Gdansk Studio.The cd starts with the havy kick of a sax-drums duo "Lonely Consumer". Powerfull, heavy on the bass pedal drumming against the fiery, fierce sound of the alto. The second piece ("Once Upon A Time In A Swamp") brings a complete change of the mood with cartoonish exploration of brassy whispers and glissandos courtesy of Per-Ake and Steve. Improv can be fun. "Monster Confessions" follows with a breathtaking beauty of the bass clarinet whisper, gracefully weaving its slow melody surrounded by little trombone squeaks, percussion clicks and tuba gurgles.

Once the quartet gets it going "Watch My Tongue" is bursting with instrumental chattering of the four instruments, with tuba taking more or less the role of the bass, with sax and trombone in a heated discussion over the drummed broken beats. "How Long is The Train" on the other hand starts as a peacefull meditation on silence and exercise in patience as it gradually becomes filled with inner melodies and sub-surface tensions. Throughout the 11 selections of the album the band portrays a wide range of melodic and dynamic possibilities. Yet throughout all the mode and mood changes it truly gives justice to its name - inner ear. This is the music that's comes from within the musicians themselves as well as from within the relations between them.

The musician's playing is fabulous (ckeck the bluesy trombone wailing and the tuba sound effects in "Ta-Pies"), yet it's the ensemble's unity that makes this records a success - exemplified by the perfect balance and harmony they achieve in lyrical "For Our Mothers" or the hypnotic tribal dance quality of the "Tibetan Gypsy" with Mikolaj on tarogato. This is an extremely diversified release, all the while unified by the will and focus these four musicians show in creating together. Inspiring and easily recommended. Inner music for the inner ear.



Author: Bartek Adamczak
http://jazzalchemist.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lena Ledoff - Komeda Chopin Komeda (MTJ, 2011)

Lena Ledoff - pianist

Komeda Chopin Komeda (MTJ, 2011)

The biggest advantage of this album is simple but brilliant concept to play Chopin and Komeda compositions in medley way. That nobody yet has come up with this idea in our over-chopinated and too-komedized country is really amazing! However so far as regards the implementation of this concept I remain skeptical. The reason is as simple as Miss Ledoff idea: her playing has neither so typical for jazz pianists ease of improvisation nor lightness and proficiency characteristic for best classical pianists. But that is not critic addressed towards this Russian-born artist residing since approx. 10 years in Poland and having altogether three albums recorded during her career. It would require a musician of an improvising talent of Leszek Możdżer and a technique of Rafał Blechacz all united in one person! Mission impossible and I feel we may wait for a pianist having such a profile for a long time yet... In the meantime this disc though lacking in jazz freedom and classical finesse, monotonous at moments and rough in articulation is worth checking for all those in love with Komeda and Chopin musical languages. 

Check sample of music from this album:


Author: Maciej Nowotny

Thursday, January 26, 2012

RGG - Unfinished Story (Ecnalubma, 2007)

RGG (band)


Przemyslaw Raminiak - piano
Maciej Garbowski - bass
Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums

Unfinished Story (Ecnalubma, 2007)


“(...) his life was like Ikar’s flight (...)”

Unfinished Story – Remembering Kosz commemorates Mieczysław Kosz, a young, already forgotten pianist, who died in 1973 at the mere age of 29.

His pianism had affinities to the traditions of romantic music and characteristic melodic references to Polish folklore. The concept of his play, extremely impressionistic and falling outside any criteria, was unambiguously linked with the fact that more often than not his compositions sounded like pieces in the “free” style. That is why his artistic works always called for much attention and concentration. The paraphrases played by Kosz, such as Summertime, Prelude c-minor, or those contained on the record “Polovitzan Dances” were the pieces that especially arrested the listener’s attention. Their clear-cut structure and lucidly emphasized melody allowed the audience to always feel “safe and comfortable”. However, it was much more difficult for the audience to grasp the poetic mood of his original compositions due to the fact that they sounded more like fragments of impressionistic improvisation than transparent phrases, which almost made it impossible for them to be grasped and sink in the memory. Many Kosz’s compositions, besides those that are contained on this record “Signals” and “Reminiscence”, more markedly remind of “free” style pieces, which is what plenty of them actually are.

That is why among those contained on the record the “Unfinished Story...”, only two pieces are composed by Mieczysław Kosz. However, the whole closely refers to himself and his life. Starting with “Sunrise” – and that is when the young Kosz comes into the world, through his first steps made within the area of expressing himself through jazz (compositions “Reminiscence” and “Signs”) and the first manifestations of unrestrained treatment of music – the pieces that are sheer improvisation (“Travels” and “Ikar’s Flight” – the one that symbolizes his tragic death). The piece “Lonelines” is particular – its overtone is simply triple: the title itself indicates that both in the world of music and his own life he felt lonely and alienated; this piece of music is treated very freely (despite the highlighted team and legible harmony, this composition is deprived of timing); the theme melody deliberately and consciously refers to Frederic Chopin (Prelude a-minor), and Kosz willingly paraphrased his themes. The last two pieces which come already after portraying his tragedy, show the Kosz that was remembered by the people, i.e. Kosz – the Improvisor (“Unfinished Story”) and Kosz – the Soloist (one of his favourite paraphrases “Polovitzan Dances” for piano solo).

Kosz used to emphasise: “Only Sadness Is Beautiful”.




source: link

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wlodek Pawlik Quartet feat. Randy Brecker - Turtles (Polonia Records, 1995)

Włodek Pawlik - piano
Randy Brecker - trumpet trąbka
Trent Kynaston - tenor sax
Thomas Knific - bass
Cezary Konrad - drums

Turtles (Polonia Records, 1995)





Pawlik's Turtles is marked by the collective assurance of the musicians, the mix of Americans (Brecker, tenor saxophonist Trent Kynaston, bassist Thomas Knific) and Poles (the pianist, drummer Cezary Konrad) having benefited from working together in Polish clubs just before their Warsaw record date. On a program of originals, Brecker gets ample feature space: His creative impulses are decisive and his commitment to the music total (as on Thanks A Million). Soloist Kynaston injects surprise into some of his lines, especially effective when revealing an edgy desperation on "Not Samba." Pawlik is an intelligent pianist who listens carefully to his colleagues; he shares a tough sort of sensitivity with Brecker on their duet "...Sailing," and he quietly and skillfully conjures complex feelings on "Moontide." Worthy of note, also, is the bracing, alert manner in which Konrad breaks up the time on "Not Samba" and the title track.

A large part of the album appeal comes from the way the players' considerable facility and complicated turns of thought are so readily translated into high-quality modern jazz.

You can skip first 1:30 of talking and then good music starts:



Frank John Hadley
Down Beat

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bronislaw Suchanek, Dominik Wania - Sketch In Blue (2009)

Bronisław Suchanek - bass
Dominik Wania -piano


Sketches In Blue (2009)







This beautiful bass / piano duo album presents a meeting between two generations of great Polish Jazz players. Veteran bassist Bronislaw Suchanek was one of the most prominent players on the Polish modern Jazz scene, playing with top names, like Tomasz Stanko (see the groundbreaking legendary 'Music For K' album). He left Poland during the turbulent years of Socialist regime, first to Sweden and later to USA, where he lives now. He played with other Polish expatriates (Leszek Zadlo, Wladyslaw Sendecki and Janusz Stefanski) in the Polski Jazz Ensemble. Dominik Wania is a Polish pianist, with an impressive list of musical achievements in spite of his young age. Wania traveled to Boston, to get his Masters degree in music and there he met Suchanek. This album is a result of their musical cooperation. Both players are virtuoso performers on their respective instruments and their cooperation is in perfect sync, creating great exchange of ideas and interplay. Both musicians contribute equally to the compositional content, each of them by writing four compositions and one composition being co-authored. There are some superb melodies here and of course great performances from start to finish, full of sensitivity and intelligence, typical European Jazz at its best. Wholeheartedly recommended!

(Editor) Please listen to a very beautiful tune titled "Reminiscence" from this noteworthy album:



Author: Adam Baruch

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oleś / Trzaska / Oleś - La Sketch Up (Kilogram Records, 2002)

Oleś / Trzaska / Oleś (band)
Marcin Oleś - double bass

Mikołaj Trzaska - saxophone
Bartłomiej Oleś - drums

La Sketch Up (Kilogram Records, 2002)

(Edit) One of the finest avantjazz releases in recent years: minimalistic but full of inner energy! 

The last work by the brothers Oles and Mikolaj Trzaska is a remarkable attempt to wrestle the tradition of chamber, contemplative jazz. And - it should be added - of highest standard. Trzaska proved his musical maturity with Milosc and Loskot, now he confidently leads the younger Oles brothers through the avant - garde - ethno improvisation labyrinth (...). Nine compositions begin with a thought, speed up like a railroad engine, to finally close the circle and slowly burn out in silence. The music abounds in undefined nostalgia inspired by Coltrane and chamber music minimalists, there are also distant traces of Krzysztof Komeda and his music for films by Roman Polanski. The whole sounds as a soundtrack for a film noir or a movie by Goddard.



Excerpts translated from text by: Lukasz Grzymislawski
Gazeta Wyborcza

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lars Danielsson - Tarantella (ACT, 2009)

Lars Danielsson - bass violin, cello, double bass
John Parricelli - guitar
Mathias Eick - trumpet
Leszek Mozdzer - piano, celesta, harpsichord
Eric Harland - drums, percussion

Tarantella (ACT, 2009)



Swedish bassist, cellist,composer and arranger Lars Danielsson is emerging as one of the key figures in the ACT stable. “Tarantella” is his fourth album for the label as a leader and he has also worked extensively as a sideman, most notably with singer Viktoria Tolstoy. In 2007 Danielsson released the duo album “Pasodoble” which paired him with Polish pianist Leszek Mozdzer. The record was a critical and commercial success and “Tarantella” can be seen as a development of the ideas explored on “Pasodoble”. This time Danielsson has widened his instrumental palette by expanding the line up to a quintet. Mozdzer remains on piano (he also contributes celesta and harpsichord) and a truly international line up is completed by Norwegian trumpeter Mathias Eick, British guitarist John Parricelli and American drummer/percussionist Eric Harland. It’s good to see a British musician getting some international exposure in such exalted company.

“Tarantella” consists of thirteen relatively short pieces that somehow manage to combine an almost classical structure and discipline with space for improvisation and individual impression. Despite the international line up there is still something inescapably Nordic about much of the record. Much of this is due not only to Danielsson’s writing style but also to the sound of Eick’s trumpet. The opening “Pegasus” features his breathy, lyrical sound above Parricelli’s gently circling guitar, Danielsson’s melancholy cello and Harland’s percussion shadings. It’s highly atmospheric and conjures up images of vast open spaces.

“Melody On Wood” is an inspired, lyrical conversation between Danielsson and Mozdzer. As one of several duo items on the record it can be seen as a direct successor to the music of “Pasodoble”. The brooding “Traveller’s Wife” is a solo showcase for Danielsson’s dramatic cello playing. It segues into “Traveller’s Defense”, a gorgeous melody that features Eick’s distinctive sound alongside Mozdzer’s crystalline piano. “1000 Ways” features Harland on percussion (it sounds like a ghatam or udu) and voice, his rich rhythmic patterns providing the backdrop for Mozdzer’s piano, Eick’s extraordinary high register trumpet squiggles and finally the leader’s cello. It’s an extraordinary piece and is credited to Danielsson/Mozdzer/Harland/Eick suggesting that it was born of group improvisation. “Ballet” is a return to duo territory with Danielsson and Mozdzer in typically unhurried conversation. The leaders eloquent bass frequently carries the melody in yet another beautiful example of the art of the duo. “Across The Sun” features Parricell’s conversational guitar and Eick’s highly stylised trumpet. As elsewhere the emphasis is very much on creating an atmosphere, a process that continues into the less structured “Introitus”.This eerie sounding piece is credited to Danielsson but has a decidedly improvisatory feel to it. Mozdzer takes the composer’s credit for “Fiojo”, another duo item. It is well up to the standards we’ve come to expect from this pairing with the composer’s flowing piano particularly impressive. The title track once again features ex Charles Lloyd sideman Harland on percussion. His busy undertow provides the backdrop for Mozdzer’s rippling piano and the leader’s beautifully articulated bass (his solo is astonishing). The sense of flamboyance and movement suggested by the title grows throughout the piece. Stunning. On the abstract ballad “Ballerina” Mozdzer’s sparse, glacial piano and Harland’s delicate cymbal touch combine with Danielsson’s sonorous bass and Parricelli’s guitar atmospherics to give an atmosphere of icy beauty.  Harland’s shuffling chill out drum groove provides the backbone of “The Madonna”, another startlingly beautiful piece featuring Eick’s mournful trumpet and Mozdzer’s sublimely lyrical piano. At six and a half minutes this is the album’s lengthiest piece and undoubtedly one of it’s stand out cuts.The gently elegiac “Postludium”, a duet for Danielsson and Mozdzer closes the record and adds an air of almost classical symmetry to the proceedings.

“Tarantella” is a remarkable record. Having assembled something of a “supergroup” Danielsson has totally avoided the clichés and pitfalls of the all-star jam. Instead he and his colleagues have created an album where egos are left at the door and the creation of mood and atmosphere is paramount. Each track is a self contained work of art, full of texture and nuance. The musicians flesh out the bones of Danielsson’s musical sketches beautifully, always serving the music. Eick’s distinctive trumpet sound is in the tradition of those other contemporary Scandinavian greats Henriksen and Molvaer but still with a style all his own. Harland adapts superbly to European methods of writing and playing and the versatile Parricelli is a subtle colourist. Mozdzer and Danielsson quietly dominate the record with some of their best playing and writing to date.

“Tarantella” is a quietly eloquent album that reveals new layers with each listening and is a worthy addition to the growing canon of great European jazz recordings.

Please check this film with "Fiojo" which is the only composition written by Leszek Możdżer for this album:


Author of text: Ian Mann

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Leading jazz musician Ozone to play Polish-influenced gig

"Pianist Makoto Ozone is coming up on 30 years as one of the leading Japanese jazz musicians of his generation. He'll kick off 2012 with a concert featuring guest vocalist Anna Maria Jopek and flute master Tomohiro Fukuhara in Tokyo.


Well known for his time playing with vibraphone master Gary Burton in the United States, Ozone has spent the last two decades playing gigs around the world, teaching music students and hosting his own radio show in Japan. Having just finished a one-week run providing the musical accompaniment to Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" at the Setagaya Public Theater, on Jan. 7 he will be leading a special concert at the Edogawa Cultural Center.

The sextet includes Ozone's recent collaborator, Polish vocalist Jopek, and Fukuhara. Earlier this year, Ozone played five sold-out nights in Poland with Jopek and her group to great acclaim.  "It was quite a risk for me going over there and playing this music for a fresh audience," Ozone says. "How would the local fans react to our mixture of local Polish styles with Anna Maria, alongside traditional jazz? Thankfully we communicated beautifully and ultimately couldn't get off the stage. We had to do four or five encores every night for the crowd."

The Tokyo gig will feature not only Polish folk songs and Ozone's jazz-based compositions, but also Japanese traditional melodies and Indian sitar accompaniment. It's a mixture that in some hands can get a bit too contrived but Ozone's group coalesces the diverse sounds around a jazz foundation, keeping the music grounded while still exploratory. The group heads to Shikoku for another gig in January, but no further dates are planned as of yet, so this show is a must-see.



Author: James Catchpole
The Japan Times

Janusz Mackiewicz Quartet - Uklad Scalony (Soliton, 2009)

Janusz Mackiewicz Quartet (band)

Darek Herbasz - tenor and baritone saxophones
Dominik Bukowski - vibraphone, marimba
Janusz Mackiewicz - double bass
Michał Szczeblewski - drums

Układ Scalony (Soliton, 2009)

Death of a sideman, birth of a leader. That's how in short may be described this stage of a career of bassist Janusz Mackiewicz. Few musicians are able to travel that way and even fewer, like Mackiewicz, do that with a success. His debut in this new role was "Frogsville" released in 2008 but with this album he goes even further. Where? Towards ambitious mainstream jazz, marked by interesting compositions of the leader (all originals!), high quality of interplay between musicians whose exceptional skills are beyond question and occasionally looking towards distant shore of avantgarde. What else is needed to make such a simple-minded listener as I am happy?  

Listen to piece of his music from aforementioned "Frogsville:


Author: Maciej Nowotny

Friday, January 20, 2012

Janusz Zdunek & Marienburg - Miasto Nic (Okno, 2008)

Janusz Zdunek - trąbka, organy, elektronika
Ireneusz Kaczmar - gitara basowa

Rafał Baca - perkusja
Mariusz Godzina - klarnet basowy
Miasto Nic (Okno, 2008)



(Editor) With affinities to Nils-Peter Molvaer Janusz Zdunek trumpet meanders between avantgarde, mainstream, nu jazz and pop. Sometimes successfully and in these moment music sounds otherworldly and inspiring but sometimes not and in those moments it sounds like cheap down-tempo with rhythm section unbearably predictable. It's difficult to determine which course music of this talented musician will take in future...     

Second album of Marienburg - "Miasto Nic" (Nothing Town) reflects on many experiences with film, folk music and mainstream pop, Janusz Zdunek has have in his career. Marienburg's new project combines leader's experimental soul with his love for jazz. Of course, each of the musicians involved in this project brings something of their own to the disk as well, and the musical plate seems sometimes less structured but more stylistically mixed, due to diverse upbringing of the musicians involved in Marienburg project. Irek Kaczmar (bass guitar) musical activities began in hardcore-rock-punk, alternative and folk bands. In turn, Rafal Baca (drums) worked with punk and death metal bands, when Mariusz Godzina (bass clarinet) has flourished in rock-avant guard environment. The final result on "Miasto Nic" keeps the listener engaged all the time, due to the band's authentic joy of collective improvisation.


Source: www.polishjazz.com

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Drwale, niedźwiedź i Michal Tokaj czyli co jest ciekawego w nowej płycie Petera Gabriela

Pamiętam taki żarcik rysunkowy, chyba Sawki, który wiele lat temu przyprawił mnie o agonię ze śmiechu. Otóż w gęstym lesie, w środku zimy, przy ognisku siedzi kilku drwali. Wtem podchodzi do nich niedźwiedź, grzecznie się kłania i pyta: „Przepraszam, czy któryś z Panów nie zgubił siekiery?” Nadmieńmy, że ta siekiera wystaje mu z pleców… Otóż w tej historii niedźwiedziem jestem ja, drwalem Michał Tokaj, a siekiera to najnowsza płyta Petera Gabriela zatytułowana, nomen omen, „New Blood”…

Jest to dziewiąta studyjna płyta w dorobku tego brytyjskiego muzyka, który karierę zaczynał w słynnym Genesis i jest tak znany, że nie widzę potrzeby dalej zagłębiać się w szczegóły jego biografii. Jednak mimo tych wszystkich sukcesów, milionów sprzedanych płyt, nieprzebranych rzesz fanów nigdy nie sięgnąłbym po tę płytę, bo ja… kocham jazz! Ponadto byłem przekonany, że Gabriel lata świetności ma już za sobą, że ciągle klepie to samo, że nie zmienia ani sposobu śpiewania ani repertuaru. I nie myliłem się! Wszakże tu właśnie na scenę wkracza Michał Tokaj. Czy kojarzą Państwo to nazwisko? Powinni Państwo, ale niestety nie jest to takie pewne. Zadebiutował bajecznie: jego jedyna płyta zatytułowana „Bird Alone” zdobyła w 2004 Fryderyka. Niezły debiut, ale co z tego, kiedy od tamtej pory nic nie nagrał pod swoim nazwiskiem chociaż… prawie nie wychodził ze studia. Lubią może Państwo piosenki Agi Zaryan? Nie dziwię się, bo kto nie ceni tej wokalistki powinien zająć się oraniem roli, a nie muzyką, bo nie ma dla niego nadziei, nie pomoże mu żaden laryngolog… otóż od lat Michał nie tylko jej towarzyszy, ale jest autorem większości muzyki jaką znajdziecie na jej płytach, w tym na tegorocznej „Księdze Olśnień”, gdzie skomponował wszystkie, poza jedną, melodie. Poza tym wsparł też idącego w górę Grzegorza Karnasa, dobrego jak wino co im starsze tym lepsze Piotra Barona na jego najnowszym „Kaddish” i nie można także zapominać o jego nagraniach z Bennie Maupinem, a tego typu przygody ze światowej klasy jazzem niewielu na swym koncie ma muzyków znad Wisły.

I oto spotykam tego Pana i gawędząc to o tym to o owym w końcu pytam go, jak zwykle pytam ludzi, czego słuchasz na swojej empetrójce? I tu pada cios siekierą: „New Blood” najnowszy album Petera Gabriela. „Peter Gabriel? Przecież on się skończył 100 lat temu? Czego ten Michał słucha?” – pomyślałem. Jakoś wyczytał to w moich oczach, bo z niewinnym uśmieszkiem odpowiedział: koniecznie zwróć uwagę na symfoniczne orkiestracje … Zaintrygował mnie. Zaciekawił. Wszedłem w posiadanie płyty, popędziłem do domu, włożyłem ją do mojego Marantza CD-63 mkII KI, spojrzałem z nadzieją na ukochane Tannoye i nacisnąłem przycisk START…


Pamiętacie Państwo taką przebojową, acid jazzową piosenkę kapeli o nazwie Freak Power zatytułowaną „Turn On Tune In Cop Out”? Tak właśnie wyglądała moja reakcja po włączeniu „New Blood”: nastąpił modelowy opad szczęki! Jak to możliwe? Nie chodzi bynajmniej o to, że odświeżenie sobie po latach takich nadzwyczajnych piosenek jak „Red Rain”, „Mercy Street” czy „Don’t Give Up" jest warte grzechu jakim jest niewątpliwie słuchanie popu. Bo to nie wielkie covery stanowią o wartości tego albumu, brakuje tu przecież słynnego „Biko”, „Shock The Monkey” czy „Sledgehammer”. Nie chodzi też o wyjątkowy zupełnie głos Gabriela, który bez wątpienia należy do historii rocka i będzie pamiętany długo. Nie ma on też na tym krążku przy swoim boku tak wielkich postaci jak niegdyś Kate Bush we wspomnianym wyżej „Don’t Give Up”. Cały niemal show bowiem kradnie, w jak najlepszym tego słowa znaczeniu, muzyk, który jest odpowiedzialny za aranżacje orkiestry symfonicznej, która gra po prostu główną rolę na tej płycie.

Człowiek ów nazywa się John Metcalfe i był dla mnie kompletnie nieznaną postacią, dlatego nie będę się wymądrzał wiedzą na temat jego dokonań: możecie zrobić to samo co i ja zrobiłem czyli wygooglować informacje o nim w internecie. Natomiast podzielę się moimi wrażeniami i nazwę krótko to co mnie w tej muzyce zachwyciło. A jest to jakość orkiestracji, jej oryginalność, bo najczęściej w tych symfonicznych aranżacjach muzyki popowej bądź rockowej przeważają jakieś takie nuty zbanalizowane, milion razy już zgrane, ocykane do bólu. Rzadko kto sięga do takich kompozytorów jak Wagner, Holst czy Orff. Ba! jak Mahler, Stravinsky, a nawet… Schoenberg! I przy okazji przyszła mi refleksja: ileż jest w klasyce, w muzyce tzw. poważnej, pomysłów, dźwięków, całych estetyk, do których jakże niechętnie sięgają polscy muzycy jazzowi. Po raz enty z uporem maniaka wracają do tego Szopena, do tego Prokofiewa, Rimsky-Korsakowa czy Czajkowskiego, a tyle jest ciekawego, mrocznego, brudnego, korzennego, bluesowego i…. jazzowego (przynajmniej z ducha) soundu w klasyce! 


No właśnie, na koniec powinienem zapewne wytłumaczyć się z tego co ma to wszystko wspólnego z jazzem? Odpowiem znowu, podobnie jak na początku tego tekstu, posługując się analogią, tym razem jednak z wykorzystaniem słynnego bareizmu: „każdy pijak to złodziej”. Dla mnie „każda dobra muzyka to jazz”, a na ewentualne głosy, że już Kant ostrzegał przez pułapką rozumowania przez analogie odpowiem, że w rezultacie całe życie szukał wolności, której możliwość wykluczył… być może tej wolności, którą wszyscy wielcy muzycy grający jazz uważali za najważniejszą jego cechę…

PS. Acha i wyjawię jeszcze Państwu na ucho pewną tajemnicę: Michał Tokaj zdradził mi, że ma już gotowy materiał na nową płytę! 

Autor tekstu: Maciej Nowotny

Top (20)11 Young Polish Jazz Dynamite Singles!!!

Just for fun ;-)

11. Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet - suggested album: "Smells Like Tape Spirit"



10. Monika Borzym - "Girl Talk" 



9. Light Coorporation - "Rare Dialect"

  

8. Contemporary Noise Sextet - "Ghostwriter's Joke"



7. Levity - "Afternoon Delights"




5. Jachna/Buhl  - "Niedokończone książki"



4. Maciej Trifonidis - "Roots"


3. Niski Szum - "Songs from the Woods"




2. Profesjonalizm - "Chopin Chopin Chopin"




1. Kamil Szuszkiewicz - "Prolegomena"



Author: Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maciej Trifonidis - Roots (Slowdownrecords, 2011)

Maciej Trifonidis - soprano & tenor saxophone,flute, recorder, clarinet, guitar, percussions

Tadeusz Czechak - oud
Mikołaj Wielecki -- congas, bongos, percussions
Robert Siwak - bendir, daf, riq, darbuka, cajon
Maciej Mustafa Giżejewski - doholla, darbuka, bendir, tar aissawi, tarija, karkaba, oddech
Jacek Mazurkiewicz - bass
Wojtek Sobura - drums

Roots (Slowdownrecords, 2011)

Maciej Trifonidis is a man of utmost energy, dedication, passion as much as musician as spiritus movens behind his recording label slowndownrecords and other projects. And this record is a testimony to such a trait of him: primal, organic, animal spirit that must rest somewhere deep within his personality. Brought up in Trypolis, Libya he goes back in this album to sounds and moods of his childhood but not in typical for Polish musicians artificial way but as if this African and Oriental notes were his own, were language his soul is speaking. Half-Polish, half-Greek he is in unique position to bring this mad music in its whole authenticity to our musical landscape. Certainly such attempts were already present in Polish Jazz, most famous of all being Stańko "Music From Taj Mahal And Carla Caves", but apart from this and handful of other albums, Polish music seems separated from what Trifonidis justly sees as roots of jazz: that is rhythm, whether African or Oriental, it is rhythm which since jazz came on the scene at the beginning of XXth century, has brought whole new dimension to European music.

I would very much like that Trifonidis go full throttle in this direction. He already managed to gather around himself this handful of musicians in Poland who share with him love towards that kind of music: Tadeusz Czechak, Mikołaj Wielecki, Rober Siwak, Maciej 'Mustafa' Giżejewski, Jacek Mazurkiewicz, Wojciech Sobura, all as much able as players as compassionate to Trifonidis ideas about music. He himself plays on this album on soprano&tenor saxophones, flute, recorder, clarinet, guitar, percussions and his style reminds very much that of great Pharoah Sanders and is outward, coarse, emotional.

Trifonidis is prolific, he has already released something like 10 albums, he treats these albums more like notes on a blog than definite and complete messages. But perhaps time has come for him to think about changing this formula. Because though I appreciate his albums released up to date I would be in difficult position if asked to show one who reflects the most his personality and style. With this recording it's different: it's original, it merges well both ethnic and hard rock roots of music all so important to him, and saturates them with what impression jazz music left on him in recent years. This direction has awesome potential and I would appreciate if Trifonidis somehow managed to continue on this track in years to come... 



Author: Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html

Friday, January 13, 2012

Monika Borzym - Girl Talk (Sony Music, 2011)

Monika Borzym - vocal

Girl Talk (Sony Music, 2011)









Monika Borzym’s heroes have always been trumpeters: Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Terrence Blanchard were her gateway into Jazz. While there, Borzym was captivated by the divergent voices and styles of performers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae. The Poland-born crooner studied in the United States at Miami’s Frost School of Music, furthering her love and knowledge of jazz and classical forms under teachers such as Lisanne Lyons, Larry Lapin, Ira Sullivan and Shelly Berg. During her time at Frost, Borzym met guest lecturer Matt Pierson (Joshua Redman, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny), who is Borzym’s primary collaborator on her debut album, Girl Talk.

Borzym opens with a cover of Amy Winehouse’s "You Know I'm No Good", showing off a sweet and sultry voice that would be right at home in a 1930's gin joint. Monika Borzym delivers crisp lines with a polished presence that belies her 19 years, and her instrumental accompaniment is first class. "Extraordinary Machine" finds Borzym taking on a manic, talk-sing lyrical barrage in conjunction with a minimalist arrangement. The result is an intriguing tune that will leave you dizzy yet satisfied. "Even So" stands out from a string of exceptional performances, with Borzym imparting a mature presence and seasoned melancholy in dulcet tones that will have you quietly on the edge of your seat.

The opening cadence of "American Boy" (Estelle) carries vague suggestions of Jobim's "Girl From Ipanema". This is no retread, however, as Borzym launches into a modern jazz tune that remembers its classic heritage. Borzym digs into a 1970's singer/songwriter pastiche for "Field Below", which bears a vague musical resemblance to Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade Of Pale". The song is elegant and refined, with a gorgeous melody, and Borzym walks it home like a pro. “Appletree” (Erykah Badu) shows a more modern, soulful jazz sound. It feels as Borzym is a bit rushed by the arrangement here, but it all works out well in the end. "Down Here Below" (Abbey Lincoln) is a gorgeous, blue recitative that drips with regret. Borzym's voice is never lovelier, taking on a reserved air that is full of an eloquent and desolate beauty. "Gatekeeper" (Feist) is cut from similar cloth, but woven with more subtlety.

Borzym goes Vegas on "Dry Cleaner From Des Moines", a frenetic little tune that borders on the vestiges of bebop. "Abololo" (Marisa Monte) slows things down, with a tentative piano leading the way for Borzym's lush vocal line. "Possibly Maybe" (Bjork) is well intended, but becomes something of an undirected mess in spite of Borzym's attempts to save it.Girl Talk closes on a positive note with an unconventional cover of Pink's "Thank You" that is true to the original but puts Borzym's distinctive stamp on the song.

Monika Borzym has a captivating voice, and a presence that's bewildering in one so young. This is the sort of album you simply can’t put down; Borzym’s call is like that of a gentle Siren, relentlessly pulling you in. Girl Talk is one introduction you won't soon forget, as Borzym appears poised to become one of the next big names in vocal jazz.


Author: Wildy Haskell

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Clockwork + Poprawski - Myopic (2011)

Clockwork (duo)
Maciej Wrobel - drums
Szymon Orlowski - bass
+
Lukasz Poprawski - saxophone

Myopic (2011)




When before wedding Giovanni Sforza for the first time saw his bride Lucretia Borgia he said: "You can fool one's mind or one's heart but you cannot fool one's eyes. This girl is as vicious as beautiful!" The same may be said about debut recording by Clockwork duo consisting of drummer Maciej Wróbel and bass guitarist Szymon Orłowski. They both supply dark, oneiric and ecstatic pulse into which Lukasz Poprawski adds on his saxophone lines of innocence, beauty and wonder worthy of every praise. 

Poprawski is already a significant player on Polish jazz scene. He took part as a sideman in many valuable projects of which few are described on this blog like Dominik Bukowski "Times get change" and, most of all, Paweł Kaczmarczyk "Complexity in Simplicity". Up to this moment I knew him as virtuoso and mainstream player but with this recording Popławski shows his ears are wide open and although he retains his rich articulation and impeccable phrasing he added freedom and openness to his play. I want wholeheartedly congratulate him on the performance displayed on this album. It was bold and intelligent move from Wróbel and Orłowski to invite him but their contribution is no less significant to the success of the whole enterprise. They both are accomplished musicians and what is important they have been playing together for many years. In consequence they both sound as one instrument which is characteristic only for best rhythm sections. 

Music itself is using electronics, rock and first of all jazz languages with strong groove playing the main part. But there is so much creativity and spontaneity here that I can only say that it is world in itself worthy to explore by lovers of all kinds of good music with particular emphasis on modern avantjazz. My only small complaint is that with its 35 minutes of music it's too short for my taste. But putting aside this small objection I regard this album as very succesful and I recommend it warmly to readers of this blog!



Author: Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Piotr Damasiewicz - Hadrons (Ars Cameralis, 2011)

Piotr Damasiewicz – trumpet

Maciej Obara – alto saxophone
Gerard Lebik – tenor saxophone, contra-alto clarinet
Maciej Garbowski – double bass
Wojciech Romanowski – drums
Orchestra Aukso under the direction of Marek Moś

Hadrons (Ars Cameralis, 2011)


(Editor) Recorded with creme-de-creme of young Polish jazz men and very ambitious in scope, this debut disc by Piotr Damasiewicz annouces arrival of very talented player to Polish jazz scene. 

"The idea of joining a chamber orchestra with a jazz rhythm section and three wind instruments was to create a coherent form – both in terms of expression and sound, within the fixed compositional structure of the orchestra and the improvised layer of the jazz band.

Through the title, I referred to the recent research in the area of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). I have noticed some analogy between the behaviour of hadrons in particular reactions and the progression in the sound layer of my piece inspired by the contemporary new music (especially by free jazz masters’ activity). I also became interested in antimatter viewed in the context of myself as an artist, but also in the context of consciousness of a contemporary human.

Hadrons are particles held together by the strong interaction and made of quarks. In quantum chromodynamics, quarks may exist in asymptotic freedom, interacting with each other through the so called force of strong interaction. One of the particular features of the interacting quarks is the correlation between them. The closer they get, the weaker is their interaction, while it increases with increasing the distance. In search for the analogies between the quarks’ behaviour and the musicians’ improvisation, I referred to the free jazz masters’ achievements from the 1960s. By gradually moving away from the pre-established tonal and rhythmic structure, they increased the degree of expressiveness to its peak. In order to do it, they often used counterpoints as opposite forces constructing the new dimension of a musical utterance, oscillating between a dialogue and a fight.

Physicists assigned to the particles three arbitrary colours which – according to the well established colour symbolism – are not insignificant for me. They are a reflection of character within the context of creating tensions in the composition structure. These colours are blue, red and green – from which the composition derives its three-piece order, preceded by an open, improvised introduction of the soloists. Those parts follow themselves attacca.
The orchestra performs here a form-creating role but it is not limited to this function – it has a vital impact on building and relieving the tensions, entering by turns into dialogue and fight with the soloists. According to the strong interactions theory, at times the orchestra is a strong counterpoint, and at times a background for the improvisation, providing in the meantime specific basis and direction for the shape of improvisation, the tone, and the sonic structure of the composition.
The symbolic meaning of fundamental particles emphasizes as well the importance of fundamental essence in my life. I consider it to be the spiritual way I try to follow not only in the context of my development as an artist, but above all as a man.

My music, as far as it is possible today, aspires to be an autonomous creation that works as an individual expression of what I identify with as it comes to my perception of reality, which also means art and its role in my life. Some of my suggestions related to the explanation of the composition form, its origins, as well as the analogies (also those regarding the musical content) I used here, have mainly a symbolic dimension. These inspirations and issues that are important to me show to a large degree the ideas that influenced not only the significant part of my creation process, but also me personally."

(Editor) This video comes from different project by Damasiewicz called Damas Ensemble Power of the Horns. But it shows what kind of talent this young man possesses:



Source: from liner notes attached to "Hadrons"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kirk - Msza Swieta w Braswaldzie (InnerGun, 2011)

Kirk (band)

Paweł Bartnik - electronis
Olgierd Dokalski - trumpet
Filip Kalinowski - gramophones 

Msza Święta w Brąswaldzie (InnerGun, 2011)




I would not pretend I know anything about this band: I went for this recording solely because of Olgierd Dokalski. He is a young trumpeter who has made recently good impression on me. First, because he  simply sounds well. Second, because he is open-minded person and is looking around himself wherever he can in search of inspiration. He has recently recorded an album with Daktari and this is his second release in 2011, no less interesting. And no else controversial! To be honest I do not like much either of them for different reasons. Respectively, Daktari seems to me a bit too Tzadik-klezmer-music inclined while Kirk is too heavily depending on use of electronics. Well, I do not have anything against electronics in music in principle. I am aware it may broaden and augment what sounds human beings are capable to produce. But there is a point where amount of electronics is stripping music out of its natural charm, making it monotonous and stupefying. Luckily not all album is like that because there are moments when focus is on musicians, their skills, their individuality and at these moments music is very, very promising. Summarizing, it is clear I am not great fan of Dokalski's last two releases but still I appreciate a lot his attitude towards music: creative, searching, personal. Hopefully he will remain on this track while getting better and better musically...


  

Author: Maciej Nowotny

Monday, January 9, 2012

RGG - Straight Story (BCD, 2004) by Maciej Nowotny

RGG (band)

Przemysław Raminiak – fortepian
Maciej Garbowski – kontrabas
Krzysztof Gradziuk – perkusja

Straight Story (BCD, 2004)




Second after debut 'Scandinavia' but first studio recording of now famous RGG trio confirmed the appearance on Polish scene the band of biggest caliber. No praise is too much for the elegance and refinement of this music. Rooted deeply in well-known ECM jazz idiom it fits perfectly with evening silence, deep introspection, moments of solitude and respite. If you happen not to know other their recordings then it is good point to start to get to know them, if you know them all but this one its precious complement to your RGG discography. I suppose no further comment is necessary on my side...

This tune come from their newest album "One" (2011) but style is very similar:



Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Imagination Quartet - Imagination Quartet (Ananconda, 2011)

Imagination Quartet (band)

Michał Sołtan – guitar
Damian Pińkowski – tenor saxophone
Dariusz Świtalski – bass guitar
Maciej Dziedzic – drums

Imagination Quartet (Ananconda, 2011)


The only musician I know in this debuting band is drummer Maciej Dziedzic whose play on Dwoothoo's album "Space Pressures" is however a very good recommendation. Other young musicians creating this music are "tabula rasa" for me. But Michał Sołtan on guitar, Dariusz Świtalski on bass and Damian Pinkowski on tenor saxophone they all prove to be all accomplished musicians. Music that is flowing from my speakers is more than satisfactory and it shows great potential for future. It does not mean that this album is flawless.  For example I feel that it could be shorter, more dynamic and coherent. Moreover I admire that it contains all originals penned mostly by Sołtan and Dziedzic but not all songs are equally catching. Speaking shortly, this album needs some refinement, perhaps more depth and maturity but it definitely augurs well for their next projects!


Author: Maciej Nowotny

Friday, January 6, 2012

Magnificent 7 Polish Jazz Most viewed albums!!!

Polish-Jazz blog rapidly approaches its first 100,000 pageviews. Counting started in July 2010 and amounted to 3,001 pageviews per month in December 2010. However in December 2011 this figure was indeed.. quadrupled!!! And it reached astonishing 12, 213 pageviews in this separate month only. Few more statistics... more than 50% of viewers come from Poland, rest from 112 different countries! First 7 consists of US, Germany, UK, Japan, Russia, Spain and Italy. Last seven: Rwanda, Palestine, Panama, New Caledonia (where it is located for Christ's sake?!), Mozambique, Mauritius and Macau. People form 3,089 different cities visited these pages speaking 90 different languages. At least such are data as provided by Google Analitycs. I have some difficulty to believe in them as all this started in a very modest, chaotic way and is from the beginning one big improvisation...

OK! Now the most interesting: what are MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Top Polish Jazz most viewed albums in WHOLE history of this blog:

Number 1 - link

Number 2 - link

Number 3 - link 

Number 4 - link

Number 5 - link

Number 6 - link

Number 7 - link 

Goddamit!!! That will be surprise to many.... My big thanks to all readers of this blog and I hope that you will continue to be my guests next year as well ;-)))

Maciej Nowotny
Editor

maciej.nowotny@gmail.com 

Smolik - 3 (Kayax, 2006)

Smolik

3 (Kayax, 2006)

Soul, pop and chill out. Electronic breezes, scents of jazz and those dreams..... those melodic dreams. Smooth and warm vocals, a chest full of burning soul chorus and a sax defining the beat. Ambient sounds hand in hand with dreamy and delicate whispers, subtle orchestral arrangements conducted by spoken word lullabies.This is 3, or shall I say, Smolik's third album. After two highly acclaimed albums, this producer is back with one of the best albums of the year. This time he has left most of the electronic memorabilia at home and returned with his most organic record so far. More acoustic than ever, more soul than ever, more beautiful than ever. A superbly produced album, with such guests as Novika, Artur Rojek (of Myslovitz), Marsija (of Loco Star), Mika, the Brit Victor Davies (a fantastic soul contribution to this record) or the German Maya Singh, Kasia Kurzawska, among many others, this is an album where pop music is the king.With its 11 tracks, and pearls such as Take Time, Cmyk, A Million Cheap Tricks or 50 Trees, this 3 is here to put a smile on everyone's face, to make us dream, to make us forget these blurry and dark days.

Smolik - "Time Take"





Thursday, January 5, 2012

Olo Walicki - Ewa Film Music (OWA, 2011)

Olo Walicki - double bass, bas guitar, keyboard, programming 

Kira Boreczko-Dal - soprano vocal 
Wacław Zimpel - clarinets
Sławek Jaskułke - piano
Michał Gos - drums
La So - club vocal

Ewa Film Music (OWA, 2011)

Double-bassist Olo Walicki was a key figure in Polish avantgarde movement in 90ties (called yass) and although he remains prominent figure of our free jazz (as evidenced by recent "Sun" by Łoskot) he nevertheless applies his highly individual and personal musical language to other projects as well. I was impressed by his third-stream effort "Metalla Preciosa" and in past few years he was also deeply involved in composing theater music (check very interesting "Trauma Theater") and film music. That is the case of "Ewa Film Music" which is sound track but of quality and originality fully justifying its rehearsal without moving pictures. Note also great players assisting Walicki in this project: Wacław Zimpel, a clarinetist, is person number 1 in young Polish avantgarde. Sławek Jaskulke is young lion of Polish jazz piano and to be able to make a name in jazz piano in this country means you must have extremely high skills and great will to survive. Finally Michał Gos is one of most original free jazz drummers in Poland. Summarizing, this is piece of awesome film music: chilly, mysterious, spacious and deep. Unique as like no other is Walicki's own voice...



Author: Maciej Nowotny
http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

AudioTong is not anymore?...

(Editor) AudioTong recording label released a lot of interesting albums last year: Jachna/Buhl "Niedokończone książki", Nucleon "Fitoplankton", DM&P "Insular Dwarfism" or Niski Szum "Songs From The Woods". I was therefore very sad when recently news has reached me that the label is unfortunately closing... Read text for more details... 

Q: When Audio Tong project started and why?

A: It was 2004 or 2005. Sound artist from Krakow, Lukasz Szalankiewicz (aka Zenial) and myself started meeting at concerts and other occassions and came up with an idea for an underground organization to promote music we were interested in. It was supposed to be a netlabel first which would turn into a CD label later on. Mainly though we wanted to promote concerts in Krakow which at the time had rather random music scene. Things were happening from time to time but there was no sense of long-term music-oriented activism. Krakow is a city of festivals (now even more than it used to be back then) and we wanted something more constant, something that would keep on happening regularly throughout a year.

During first 3 or 4 years of our activity we were organizing at least one concert a month showcasing experimental / noise / avantgarde musicians from Poland and – mostly – from abroad. That's how we managed to gain a rather significant audience here. Also, simultanously a pretty interesting scene of local musicians emmerged which I tried to follow as much as possible.

Still we have been researching unknown and forgotten territories – stylistically as much as geographically – having released compilations of noise music from Poland, experimental music from Eastern Europe (from Moldova to Uzbekhistan) and loads of music happening locally here in Krakow. We have also collaborated with and co-curated a number of festivals, presentations and publications.

In 2009 we decided to promote Polish experimental scene outside of the country and made two compilations of new Polish music for The Wire magazine (CD's were given away for subsribers in 2009 and 2010). This „Exploratory Music From Poland” project (www.emfp.pl) has been also continued in series of concerts in Europe (London, Brussels, Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris) as well as in Tokyo in November 2011.

Also we have started releasing music in physical format (CD's and CD-R's) with a wide range of various music not only from the region.

Although the label was rather successful, Zenial moved out from Krakow and our interests in music went into different areas. The AudioTong formula started to fade out and we need to come up with a new idea. ...which will be announced soon.

Q: Conceptual description of the label?

A: That's a difficult one. AudioTong has always been focused on showcasing music that would never find an audience any different way than through us. Helping out interesting musicians from the region and promoting them elsewhere – in fact, via Internet, worldwide, presenting demanding music to Krakow-based audience, encouraging young artists from here in their experiments, etc.

Obviously it was a suicide from the business-oriented point of view. Most of the CD's we've released didn't sell in big enough amounts to cover our expenses, even though most of them had really good reviews and those who listened to them appreciated the music a lot. But it was never supposed to be our dayjob, kind of idealistic work rather.

Stylistically we didn't know much limitations. From noise to improv, from field recordings to so-called IDM, from psychodelic music to avant-garde composition and from blues to avant-pop - anything that was interesting for us, was suitable for a release. This variety did help a lot although our catalogue seems a bit random now.

Conceptually, AudioTong was supposed to be a place of meeting, a crossing point between different cultures, genres and expectations. I believe we've mixed loads of weird shit enough by now.

Q: About your personal background?

A: Marcin Barski: "I have studied journalism and literature, although I've been doing loads of various crap to make my living and to financially back up AudioTong – translations, teaching English to kids, had an episode at advertising bussines, etc. Music became a very important part of my life very early but cannot really describe why. This experimental scene seemed to be the most interesting, the most demanding and the most clever of all music I've heard. And the most underpreciated, I thought, so I decided to help :)))"

I don't consider myself a curator even though that would probably be the best description for what I'm doing now... But I'm rather a music promotor and a publisher."

Lukasz Szalankiewicz (aka Zenial): "I'm a sound-designer, a digital music composer and historian. My family place is Sanok, but now I reside in Cracow... I'm one of the first people in Poland, who found the demo-scene on PC (the hermetic group of artists creating on computers a different kind of expression: programming [coding], graphic art, animation, music and text). Since 1994 under pseudonym ZENIAL I cooperated with multimedial groups like HYPNOTIZE and THE GRID. I'm an author of articles for disc magazines (disseminated in digital form) I also wrote for official computer press about demo-scene (for example CD - ACTION).
From 1995 to 1997 I was creating music in a special project called ANASTAZYA. In 1998 I participated in two projects: the JANTAR DC55 (ambient) and the PALSECAM (http://www.palsecam.tk/).
I was the cooperator of the net magazine Eld Rich Palmer which specializes in experimental music and of NOMAD (http://nomad.kosmoplovci.net). My current specific areas of interest include an aesthetics of noise, particularly the Japanese form of radical sounds and every symptom of abstraction and grotesque in life and art.
I actively cooperate with many kind of artists. For the time being I'm working on series of compilations , where I invite various experimental composers."
www.zenial.audiotong.net

Q: What do you consider is the first thing an aspirant of curatorial processes has to known? And wich important mistakes you consider new curators and independent spaces normally commit?

I'll answer these two questions together. Being a curator is a risky business. First of all, what does that mean, to be a curator? I've met many so called curators who believed that curating is a synonym for organizing concerts or festivals. It's not. Curating needs some expertise, knowledge and independent thinking not only about music itself but also about ideas and processes it communicates. Especially when the music does so not in a straight or conscious way.

Nowadays curators more and more often start taking artists positions, coming up with ideas and forcing them on the musicians/sound artists they work with. They invent themes and topics for their events and persuade artists to adjust. Most cases the result is shit. A situation when an artist is being treated like a craftsman is a situation where no-one has anything to say: the artist does what the curator expects and the curator in most cases hides behind the performing artist. What you get is emptiness and usually overdesigned boring bullshit.

So, the conclusion would be that a curator needs to care a lot for what artist wants to say. Listens and tries to understand. Curator should communicate with an artist rather than a crowd.

A music curator should not read too much of the most popular, trendsetting media. If something is attractive to the masses does not necesarilly mean that its artistic value is at least half as big as the piece's accessibility. You have to be careful with the audience because audience can easily fuck you. Doing what you think people want is like performing a nice fat filthy blowjob on a group of people. A simple pleasure is not necesarilly what you should give to the people, they can get it in other ways.

A curator should be brave and open-minded. Easy to say, I know. There's no excuse for not doing things you want to do and for doing things you don't really feel like doing. I know that very well, made this mistake way too many times.

Finally, a curator should not follow trends or give too much attention to what people say. You know, it's really simple: some people will get it, some people won't. If you're 100 percent sure about the message or idea you want to explore, just do it. What have you got to loose? Except for public funding, of course?

Be independent, don't be polite. Do what you believe in, not what you're being told to believe. First think, than do. Discuss. Don't push yourself in front of the artist. Give up if you don't like it. That's just about it. All other things – technical, logistics, etc. – you can figure out within an hour or two by yourself.

Q: At the end of the year Audiotong will close as a label, but keep on running on different terms... You want to advance us new strategies and activities? Why you decided to close the label ?

Reinventing the idea still. Not really closing the label – but closing it in the way it functioned until now. There will be some music coming out in that way or another from us. Too early to say much about the future. It will be different – in what way, you will see.



Marcin Barski, 13 December 2011
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