Monday, April 30, 2012

Bum i lub JazzArt Festival! Relacja z pierwszego dnia...

Bum bum bum bum! Grzmiało mi w głowie, gdy wczoraj w nocy wychodziłem z katowickiego klubu Gugalander po kończącym pierwszy dzień JazzArt Festival koncercie grupy Polar Bear. A to za sprawą perkusisty tej formacji Seba Rochforda, którego mogę określić adekwatnie jedynie słowem: "zwierzak". I nie chodzi mi tutaj o jego czuprynę wyglądającą jak rodzaj afro, w które przed chwilą uderzył piorun o rekordowym natężeniu. Tu chodzi o jego organiczne zrośnięcie z instrumentem muzycznym jakim jest perkusja, o niesłychaną swobodę gry i o rytm, który chociaż był skomplikowany jak gambit hetmański w wykonaniu Kasparowa brzmiał jednocześnie komunikatywnie i kipiał nieogarnioną wręcz energią. Gdyby nie było Rochforda pozostali muzycy tej formacji czyli grający na saksofonach Pete Wareham i Mark Lockhart, na kontrabasie Tom Herbert oraz na elektronice i gumowym baloniku John Leafcutter, musieliby go wymyśleć. Bez niego ich muzykę dałoby się zaszufladkować jako zagrany na free jazowo dość standardowo brzmiący indie pop. Z nim jednak, wraz z upływem kolejnych minut koncertu, widać było jak rosną im skrzydła. A wkrótce za nimi podążyła cała scena Gugalandera, aby powoli, ocieżale, lecz konsekwentnie, unieść się do nieba. Wtedy klęknąłem na drugie kolano i zacząłem wołać: Hosanna! Bo kocham jazz, zwłaszcza taki jak ten grany przez Polar Bear: autentyczny, ekstatyczny, swobodny i niczym nieograniczony jak skowronek na błękitnym, wiosennym niebie. 


Napisałem na drugie kolano, bo pierwsze miałem już od dawna ugięte po poprzedzającym ten koncert występie trio Neila Cowleya w innym katowickim klubie Hipnoza. To trio zaproponowało cudownie spójną, do końca przemyślaną i perfekcyjnie zaaranżową muzykę pop zagraną z prawdziwie jazzową dezynwolturą. Porażający był profesjonalizm muzyków w każdym dosłownie elemencie, a energia, entuzjazm, emocje jakie rozbudzili są niezapomniane. Prosta jak budowa cepa muzyka ta jeszcze raz konfrontuje tabuny krytyków piejących z zachwytu nad przekomplikowanymi płytami Keitha Jarretta czy Brada Mehldaua z pewną trudną prawdą: do wywołania efektu artystycznego nie trzeba wcale wyrafinowanych środków. Ludzie nie chodzą na koncerty w celu wysłuchania pełnego patosu kazania, które uświadomi im ich ograniczoność i rozbije w pył złudzenia, które pozwalają żyć. Grający na pianinie Cowley i jego partnerzy czyli kontrabasista Richard Sadler, perkusista Evan Jenkins (nie zapominajmy też o kwartecie smyczkowym, który im towarzyszył) przypomnieli nam lekcję jaką dał światu brytyjski rock i pop. Lekcję, którą rozumie każdy kto słuchał kiedykolwiek The Beatles: otóż prosta melodia i prosty tekst potrafią nieraz powiedzieć więcej o nieznośnej lekkości naszego bytu niż tysiące opasłych dzieł filizofów i teologów. 

Te wszystkie ochy i achy byłyby niemożliwe bez ludzi, którzy w Katowicach zebrali się razem, by zaplanować i wcielić w życie ideę festiwalu będącego rodzajem upamiętnienia przypadającego na 30 kwietnia światowego dnia jazzu. Piękny to przykład, gdy miasto obejmuje mecenatem inicjatywę tyleż potrzebną mieszkańcom co wartościową pod względem artystycznym. Piszę potrzebną mieszkańcom, bo chociaż termin rozpoczęcia festiwalu przypadł na początek długiego majowego weekendu to publiczność dopisała i tłumnie wypełniała sale tak w wymienionych wyżej klubach Gugalander i Hipnoza jak i w kinoteatrze Rialto, gdzie miało miejsce otwarcie festiwalu. 

Możemy dzisiaj uchylić rąbka tajemnicy i poinformować Państwa, że do końca trwała walka by festiwal otworzył się występem Roberta Glaspera. Bez wątpienia jednego z najzdolniejszych pianistów młodego pokolenia w Stanach i gwiazdy legendarnej wytwórni Blue Note. Nie udało się i zamiast niego festiwal otworzył Courtney Pine, który pokazał nieokiełznaną wprost chęć podzielenia się z nami tym jak dobrze mu się gra klarnecie basowym (rzecz nowa dla niego, gdyż do tej pory grał głównie na saksofonie). Energia tak rozpierała artystę, że właściwie nie zwaracał uwagi na swoich partnerów, którzy smętnie pobrzękiwali na fortepianie, kontrabasie i perkusji. Katowicka publiczność pokazała wielką klasę łaskawie nagradzając brawami zmagania artysty ze swoim wybujałym ego. To była druga wizyta Pine'a w Polsce, po około 10 latach nieobecności. Życzę mu oczywiście by zagrał jeszcze w naszym pięknym kraju, pod warunkiem jednak, że nastąpi to po upływie nie krótszego niż poprzednio okresu... 

Tego dnia wystąpił jeszcze polski skład pod nazwą Orange The Juice w klubie Katofonia, ale niestety nie udało mi się tam dotrzeć. Niemniej od znajomych słyszałem, że było świetnie! Jaka szkoda, że nie opanowałem sztuki bilokacji czyli bycia jednocześnie w dwóch różnych miejscach! Przydałaby mi się ona i dzisiaj, bo od rana siedzę i zastanawiam się, który z dzisiejszych pięciu koncertów wybrać: Piotra Damasiewicza z Orkiestrą Kameralną Aukso w projekcie Hadrony? Patera, Gorzyckiego, Wojtczaka i Urowskiego z materiałem z ich najnowszej płyty A-Kineton? Kwartet Larsa Danielssona? Stryjo z Kołodziejczakiem, Bryndalem i Szczycińskim? Czy kwintet Irka Wojtczaka z projektem PRL? O la la... Jedno jest pewne... będzie się działo i zapowiada się kolejna, szalona, jazzowa noc w Katowicach z JazzArt Festival!

Autor: Maciej Nowotny

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Krzysztof Komeda - Live at the Jazz Jamboree Festival 1961 - 1967 (Polskie Nagrania, 2011)

Krzysztof Komeda - piano

Adam Skorupka (tracks: CD1: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) - bass
Janusz Kozłowski (tracks: CD1: 6; CD2: 1; CD3: 3, 4) - bass
Maciej Suzin (tracks: CD3: 1, 2) - bass
Roman Dyląg (tracks: CD1: 7, 8, 9; CD2: 2) - bass
Adam Jędrzejowski (tracks: CD1: 4, 5) - drums
Czesław Bartkowski (tracks: CD1: 6; CD3) - drums
Leszek Dudziak (tracks: CD1: 1, 2, 3) - drums
Rune Carlsson (tracks: CD1: 7, 8, 9; CD2) - drums
Jimmy Gourley (tracks: CD1: 4) - guitar
Bernt Rosengren (tracks: CD1: 5) - tenor saxophone
Michał Urbaniak (tracks: CD3) - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Tomasz Stańko (tracks: CD2; CD3) - trumpet
Jerzy Milian (tracks: CD1: 6) - vibraphone

Live at the Jazz Jamboree Festival 1961 - 1967 (Polskie Nagrania, 2011)

This is absolute and pure gem as far as Polish jazz is concerned. Dug out of Polskie Nagrania vaults it was released at the end of year 2011. It brings to us mind blowing music comprising live recordings of different bands all led by legendary pianist Krzysztof Komeda which played during Warsaw's legendary Jazz Jamboree Festival from 1961 to 1967. Musicians featured in these recordings are no less prominent. As Miles Komeda could pick up whom he wanted on Polish scene and abroad as evidenced by presence of some Scandinavian players as well. Only 2500 copies are available of this 3 CDs set making it on top of wanting list for any true Polish jazz lover...


Track listing:

CD 1
Krzysztof Komeda Trio (1961, 1962, 1964)
1. This Or This
2. My Ballad
3. Love For Sale
4. Three Little Words
5. An Oscar For Treadwell
6. Basin Street Blues
7. Ballet Etude I
8. Ballad For Bernt
9. Crazy Girl

CD 2
Krzysztof Komeda Quartet (1965, 1967)
1. Kattorna
2. Nighttime Daytime Requiem

CD 3
Krzysztof Komeda Quintet (1961, 1962, 1964)
1. Ballad (z filmu "Nóz w wodzie"/from the movie "Knife in the Water")
2. Alea
zapowiedz / announcement
3. Sophia's Tune
4. Svantetic

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

kIRK - Msza Święta w Brąswałdzie (InnerGuN label 2012)

Kirk (band)

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

Msza Święta w Brąswaldzie (InnerGun, 2011)




First things first for all (myself included) who don't speak, or read, Polish - Msza Święta w Brąswałdzie = Holy Mass in the City of Brąswałd.

I always enjoying reviewing electronica albums, or anything that comes from that left field musical area. There's something fresh about hearing clear 0s and 1s coming through your speakers. This is an album for all those who enjoy trance (like) music encompassing jazz, techno and I suppose also a (sort of) ethnic feel. kIRK is a Polish collective made up of Paweł Bartnik (electronic instruments), Olgierd Dokalski (trumpet) and Filip Kalinowski (turntables) who clearly enjoy the art of mixing up various components. In their PR blurb they talk about Mary Anne Hobbs, techno and Si Begg, but to me this is actually (even if they didn't know) a more recent version of 23 Skidoo and Rip, Rig and Panic, two bands that if you don't know them .... you should!

To a certain extent kIRK comes directly from the same industrial wasteland as those two aforementioned bands. The music conjures up those same industrial soundscapes, something that many people can relate to at the present. The music is dark and minimal using the trumpet as a sort of melodic foil for the hard hitting percussive sounds coming from the two 'sound men'. From what I read the music is improvised, built from simple structures. You can certainly hear all this in the record as the music's minimal aspect hits you straight from the start. The title track is a repeated note played in a strong heavy repetitive rhythm that is neither a guitar, nor a drum, nor electronic beat, but something in-between. The music washes over you, not as dance music, but comes at you as a sort of unstoppable robotic beat, slow but never wavering full of trumpet flourishes that swirl within the sound.

Unfortunately as my Polish isn't up to much I can't tell you what the titles say but the five tracks on this LP all work more or less on the same system, not a criticism as it works very well. One hears turntable scratching and drum beats mixed with voices (in the machine), keyboard flourishes and other processed sounds providing the backdrop for the trumpeter Olgierd Dokalski blows over these rhythms spattering phrases here and there. There are no developed melodies, however Tk 2 has a vague klezmer quote (from a piece whose name escapes me at the present).

This album will certainly be of interest to those who like a more post modern approach to popular music and rhythms but still have some connection with the world of jazz, electro-acoustics and improvisation. In a way creeping into these sonic landscapes is like listening to a sort of industrial Sketches of Spain.


Track listing:
A1 Msza Święta W Brąswałdzie 10:14 
A2 Uroczysty Obiad W Dywitach 12:05 
B1 Prawdziwe Piekło 0:58 
B2 Ortodoks 12:38 
B3 Naprawdę Smutna Popijawa

By Joe Higham

Monday, April 23, 2012

Makowicz & Mozdzer - Live at the Carnegie Hall (2005)

Adam Makowicz - piano

Leszek Mozdzer - piano.

Live at the Carnegie Hall (2005)






Adam Makowicz has such phenomenal technique at the keyboard that it sometimes sounds as if he's playing with four hands. On his latest album there really are four hands at work, though two of them belong to fellow Polish piano sensation Leszek Mozdzer. Their solo and duet excursions on Chopin and popular standards, recorded live at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall last year, make for one of the most stunning showcases of piano virtuosity in recent memory.

Makowicz, a New Yorker for 25 years since fleeing his then-repressive homeland, opens the album with a pair of jazz improvisations on Chopin that steer the great Polish composer's romantic melodies through an entirely seamless web of blues, swing, and bebop, even adding a touch of stride. It's a tough act to follow, much less sit side by side with, but the thirty-something Mozdzer—a new face on the American scene, but a major figure in Polish jazz—proves he's up to the task on three Chopin duets with Makowicz.

Rather than battle with piano pyrotechnics, the two men engage in a performance of restraint, subtlety, and supreme musical sympathy, making it hard to tell where one pair of hands ends and the other begins. Mozdzer follows with a solo nod to his colleague's piano hero on Makowicz' "Tatum on My Mind. (A solo Mozdzer recital at Merkin Concert Hall last month showed him an engagingly offbeat performer—and dresser—as he dazzled the audience with more Chopin and a handful of impressionistic originals that recalled Keith Jarrett's '70s-era improvisations.)

The set closes with a half-dozen often breathtaking duet takes on standards by Richard Rodgers, Leonard Bernstein, Cole Porter, and Duke Ellington. As an encore, Makowicz and Mozdzer turn to a piece that epitomizes the album's Poland meets New York credo: Krzysztof Komeda's theme from Roman Polanski's '60s New York City horror classic Rosemary's Baby. This celebration of Poland and America, classical music and jazz, is already a platinum seller in Poland; it warrants serious attention from jazz fans around the world.

Track Listing: Frederic Chopin: Prelude 24 in D Minor, Op 28; Fantasie - Impromptu, Op 66; Prelude in G major no. 3, Op 28; Prelude in E major, no. 7, Op 28; Prelude in E flat major, no. 17, Op 28; Tatum on My Mind, Surrey with the Fringe on Top, Some Other Time, Love is Here to Stay, Begin the Beguine, Night and Day, Caravan, Rosemary's Baby. 


By Joel Roberts
http://www.allaboutjazz.com

Kormorany - Miasto (2008)

Kormorany (band)

Krzysztof "Konik" Konieczny - viola, git. elektryczna
Jacek "Tuńczyk" Fedorowicz - git. el., bass, bass bezprogowy
Piotr "Bluesman" Jankowski - gitary elektryczne
Artur "Gaja" Krawczyk - perkusjonalia, melodyka

Miasto (2008)

Although I am living in Warsaw for more than 25 years I was born and still feel in my heart to be from the city of Wrocław. Located in south-west of Poland, former German Breslau, Wrocław is one of the most beautiful places in Poland. Most importantly it has unique character unlike any other city in Poland: people are merry, open and they cherish all forms of cultural life. Among them no least important is music which in Wrocław fluorishes in every possible form. 

The history of band called Kormorany is good example of that. It was created mid-80ties in direst hours of post-martial law times as kind of reaction to the feeling of seclusion and hopelessness which dominated those times. It was less a band but more kind of movement of very young people (I was one among them) who share the same feeling of absurdity of world as created by communist government. It was therefore at the date of its conception free, rebellious and yet self-ironic. It also had a social nature which is rather rare in Poland, country of individualists.

All these features ensured that music played by Kormorany became creative enough to develop itself over the course of so many years and well after political system has changed as well as whole reality which surrounds us. Perhaps the lasting feeling of absurdity which still lingers in Poland regardless it is now fully capitalist helped Kormorany to survive? In any event their personnel and music evolved from its punk rock roots to modern European improvised music which draws as much from folk as from free jazz and any other source of fresh ideas in world of soundz. Thanks to such attitude it remains one of most inspiring bands on Polish scene for years...




Tracks Listing: 1 Budzik 3:47; 2 Majaki 4:13; 3 Pierwsze kroki 4:03; 4 Miasto 4:51; 5 Trójkąt bermudzki 3:24; 6 Po godzinach 1:38; 7 Dziennik 12:10; 8 Kanaliza 2:18; 9 Wojna 5:37; 10 Zgliszcza 0:49; 11 Na drugi dzień po końcu świata 5:31

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sing Sing Penelope – This Is The Music / Volume 1 (2012)


Sing Sing Penelope (band)

Wojciech Jachna - trumpet
Aleksander Kamiński - soprano saxophone
Tomasz Glazik - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Daniel Mackiewicz - rhodes, tabla, percussion
Patryk Węcławek - bass
Rafał Gorzycki - drums
DJ Strangefruit - live electronics
Sebastian Gruchot - violin

This Is The Music / Volume 1 (2012) 

This is the 6th album by the brilliant Polish ensemble Sing Sing Penelope, formed and led by drummer Rafal Gorzycki, which includes also trumpeter Wojciech Jachna, saxophonists Aleksander Kaminski (new member) and Tomasz Glazik, keyboardist Daniel Mackiewicz and bassist Patryk Weclawek. Two guest artists, who played on the ensemble's previous recordings, are also present here: violinist Sebastian Gruchot and DJ Strangefruit from Norway on live electronics. It seems that SSP (as they are known in this age of shortcuts) can do no wrong and this album is every bit as grand as everything else they attempted previously, which after six albums and ten years amounts both to a substantial body of music as much as their impeccable reputation. The music, contributed collectively or individually by all participants, is as usual a completely original mix of styles and sub-genres, disregarding boundaries and freely moving from one territory to another. Atmospheric / ambient electronic sounds over strong, pulsating rhythmic patterns and Jazz solos on top seems to be shortest way to describe this music, although it manages to escape any simple depiction, which of course means there is interesting stuff happening here. In many respects this album sums up the decade of the ensemble's existence, covering everything from their Jazz-Rock efforts, through the Free Jazz improvisations and recent ambient vistas. In retrospect SSP emerge as perhaps the most interesting phenomenon of the first decade of the 21st Century on the Polish scene, being the most consistent, searching and completely disregarding fads group of young musicians around. An absolute must to any serious Jazz listener, wishing to reach beyond the obvious!


Track listing: 1. Bread; 2. Blue Hypergiant; 3. Mini Song; 4. This Is The Music; 5. Vennesla; 6. Skarb

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com


Krzysztof Komeda – Przerwany Lot, Smarkula – Soundtracks From Leonard Buczkowski Movies (PowerBros, 2008)

Krzysztof Komeda (composer)

Przerwany Lot – Soundtracks From Leonard Buczkowski Movies







Although primarily identified as the soundtrack composer of the movies directed by Roman Polanski, Polish pianist / composer Krzysztof Komeda cooperated with the entire Polish film industry during the revolutionary days of the 1960s New Wave of Polish Cinema, producing a long list of incredible cinematic scores. The post-WWII Polish cinema, struggling with the destruction of the country's intellectual fabric, the Socialist regime and the economic hardships, managed to produce some of the most outstanding works of modern cinematography, equal in their power of expression and revolutionary approach to cinema as a modern cultural media to the achievement of the great British, Scandinavian, French and Italian film makers at the same time. 

Komeda's soundtracks to the Polish (and Scandinavian) films in the mid-1960s and later Hollywood movies by the end of the 1960s are all absolute masterpieces of style, expression and sheer genius in creating a story-telling, often nerve-wrecking melody lines and wonderful themes, which expanded the visual content of the films and added another emotional dimension. The music is of course strongly influenced by the Jazz idioms, often even being pure Jazz. It is performed mostly by Komeda himself, accompanied by the members of his Jazz combos at the time, like trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, saxophonists Zbigniew Namyslowski and Michal Urbaniak and others. 

Sometimes larger instrumentation is also used, especially in the later scores. What is especially surprising and magical about this music is the fact that is stands alone as well as it functions as a part of the cinematic experience. All the albums with Komeda's soundtracks are simply superb pieces of music and in retrospect constitute an incredible body of work of rarely equaled magnitude and importance. Komeda's tragic and painfully premature death ended a career, which in many respects was at its early stage. This album includes the soundtracks of two movies "Smarkula (Chit Of A Girl)" and "Przerwany Lot (The Broken Flight)" by director Leonard Buczkowski. Brilliant stuff!

Track listing: 1-28. Smarkula 32:09; 29-39. Przerwany lot 21:42

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kyst - Waterworks (Antena Krzyku, 2011)

Kyst (band)


Waterworks (Antena Krzyku, 2011)






(Editor) In Europe, including Poland, more and more jazz is seen as part of greater 'improvised music' phenomenon. This recording is perfect good example of such a process! Verging between indie pop, rock, experimental and avantgarde it shakes off all unnecessary labels to bring simply great music to any listener with rears open wide enough not to miss what is true art of sounds!

Kyst is a band of Norwegian origin, currently residing in Sopot, Poland. It’s music varies from folk and post-rock to experimental and improvised music, often influenced by the New Weird America movement. However, the musicians prefer not to limit themselves to any specific genre, considering freedom and emotional devotion being the most important musical values. Kyst played several gigs in the biggest cities in Poland and abroad (Berlin, Prague, Hamburg, Rostock, Brussels and more) and played with such artists as: Au (USA), Silje Nes (Norway), Oldseed (Canada), Mono (Japan) and the legend of Berlin experimental music - F. S. Blumm. The self-released debut LP "Cotton Touch" gathered enthusiastic reviews in Europe. The band has been compared to Animal Collective, early Akron/Family, Arcade Fire, Tortoise and Liars (amongst others). Their second album "Waterworks" has been released on 28th March 2011 on a Polish label Antena Krzyku.


Track listing: 01 Friend Now 4:18; 02 Miss The Sea 4:20; 03 Sun 1:48; 04 Colours 3:53; 05 Water 2:10; 06 Seasons / All Is Different 5:01; 07 A Postcard 5:00; 08 The Glowing Sea 4:31

source: http://www.myspace.com/kystband

Krzysztof Komeda – Prawo I Piesc – Soundtracks From Jerzy Hoffman / Edward Skorzewski Movies (Power Bros, 2008)

Krzysztof Komeda (composer)

Prawo I Piesc – Soundtracks From Jerzy Hoffman / Edward Skorzewski Movies (Power Bros, 2008)






Although primarily identified as the soundtrack composer of the movies directed by Roman Polanski, Polish pianist / composer Krzysztof Komeda cooperated with the entire Polish film industry during the revolutionary days of the 1960s New Wave of Polish Cinema, producing a long list of incredible cinematic scores. The post-WWII Polish cinema, struggling with the destruction of the country's intellectual fabric, the Socialist regime and the economic hardships, managed to produce some of the most outstanding works of modern cinematography, equal in their power of expression and revolutionary approach to cinema as a modern cultural media to the achievement of the great British, Scandinavian, French and Italian film makers at the same time. Komeda's soundtracks to the Polish (and Scandinavian) films in the mid-1960s and later Hollywood movies by the end of the 1960s are all absolute masterpieces of style, expression and sheer genius in creating a story-telling, often nerve-wrecking melody lines and wonderful themes, which expanded the visual content of the films and added another emotional dimension. The music is of course strongly influenced by the Jazz idioms, often even being pure Jazz. It is performed mostly by Komeda himself, accompanied by the members of his Jazz combos at the time, like trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, saxophonists Zbigniew Namyslowski and Michal Urbaniak and others. Sometimes larger instrumentation is also used, especially in the later scores. What is especially surprising and magical about this music is the fact that is stands alone as well as it functions as a part of the cinematic experience. All the albums with Komeda's soundtracks are simply superb pieces of music and in retrospect constitute an incredible body of work of rarely equaled magnitude and importance. Komeda's tragic and painfully premature death ended a career, which in many respects was at its early stage. This album includes the soundtrack of the movie "Prawo I Piesc (The Law And The Fist)" by directors Jerzy Hoffman / Edward Skorzewski, two soundtracks to animated movies "Sztandar (Standard)" / "Rondo (Roundabout)" by director Miroslaw Kijowicz and the soundtrack to the movie "Pingwin (The Penguin)" by director Jerzy Stefan Stawinski. Brilliant stuff!



Track listing: 1-6. Prawo i piesc 9:31; 7. Sztandar 7:35; 8. Rondo 9:28; 9-18. Pingwin 14:27

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Monday, April 16, 2012

Herdzin, Bogdanowicz, Biskupski - Seriale, seriale (1998)

Krzysztof Herdzin - piano, arrangements

Mariusz Bogdanowicz - double bass
Piotr Biskupski - drums

Krzysztof Bzówka - violin
Józef Kolinek - violin
Andrzej Staniewicz - violin
Robert Dąbrowski - violin
Piotr Reichert - viola
Jan Kuta - cello

Seriale, seriale (1998)

Polish TV series often contains awesome music. It is therefore brilliant idea to use them as springboard for  improvisations. As did Miles and other giants of jazz with American pop tunes like 'Someday My Prince Will Came" originally coming from Disney cartoon movie or countless others both from Broadway or film industry. Music is spoken in standard jazz trio language with strings, yet another good idea adding this 'soundtrack-ish lushness to the sound on the album. The overall effect is satisfactory even though most tunes are treated too straightforwardly to really make them sound entirely fresh and new. 


Track listing: 1. Wojna Domowa; 2. Polskie Drogi; 3. Uciekaj Moje Serce; 4. Czterdzieści lat Minęło; 4. Czterej Pancerni; 5. 07 Zgłoś Się; 6. Lalka; 7. Chłopi

By Maciej Nowotny

Krzysztof Fetras Trio - Night in Praha Live (2005)

Krzysztof Fetras - guitar & guitar synthesizer, composer 


Piotr Żaczek - fretless bass guitar
Grzegorz Grzyb - drums

Night in Praha Live (2005)




I wrote more about Krzysztof Fetras music when describing his debut recording 'Caravan'. This is his third album which brings much more mature music. Located firmly in mainstream jazz it brings sense of equilibrium, internal coherency, almost therapeutic effect. Unfortunately after recording this CD Krzysztof Fetras has had a break in his career lasting few years. Fortunately lately he announced his first new album in more than 6 years for Spring this 2012 year. I am waiting impatiently to see what it will bring to us. In a meantime please enjoy sounds from his last recording...  


Track listing:  1. Krzysztof FetrasFew Warm Notes 00:58; 2. Krzysztof Fetras Treaty of Joy 08:45; 3. Krzysztof Fetras We Are Together Today 07:47; 4. Krzysztof Fetras Mr. Kaz 15:38; 5. Krzysztof Fetras Night in Praha 08:26; 6. Krzysztof Fetras Don’t Go Away Now 11:51

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

Krzysztof Komeda – Jutro Premiera – Soundtracks From Janusz Morgenstern / Edward Etler Movies (PowerBros, 2008)

Krzysztof Komeda

Jutro Premiera – Soundtracks From Janusz Morgenstern / Edward Etler Movies







Although primarily identified as the soundtrack composer of the movies directed by Roman Polanski, Polish pianist / composer Krzysztof Komeda cooperated with the entire Polish film industry during the revolutionary days of the 1960s New Wave of Polish Cinema, producing a long list of incredible cinematic scores. The post-WWII Polish cinema, struggling with the destruction of the country's intellectual fabric, the Socialist regime and the economic hardships, managed to produce some of the most outstanding works of modern cinematography, equal in their power of expression and revolutionary approach to cinema as a modern cultural media to the achievement of the great British, Scandinavian, French and Italian film makers at the same time. 

Komeda's soundtracks to the Polish (and Scandinavian) films in the mid-1960s and later Hollywood movies by the end of the 1960s are all absolute masterpieces of style, expression and sheer genius in creating a story-telling, often nerve-wrecking melody lines and wonderful themes, which expanded the visual content of the films and added another emotional dimension. The music is of course strongly influenced by the Jazz idioms, often even being pure Jazz. It is performed mostly by Komeda himself, accompanied by the members of his Jazz combos at the time, like trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, saxophonists Zbigniew Namyslowski and Michal Urbaniak and others. Sometimes larger instrumentation is also used, especially in the later scores. 

What is especially surprising and magical about this music is the fact that is stands alone as well as it functions as a part of the cinematic experience. All the albums with Komeda's soundtracks are simply superb pieces of music and in retrospect constitute an incredible body of work of rarely equaled magnitude and importance. Komeda's tragic and painfully premature death ended a career, which in many respects was at its early stage. This album includes the soundtrack of the movie "Jutro Premiera (Opening Tomorrow)" by director Janusz Morgenstern and two soundtracks to documentaries "Kraksa (Crash)" / "Okolice Peronow (Near The Station)" by director Edward Etler. Brilliant stuff!


Track listing: Jutro Premiera (tracks 1-6); Kraksa (tracks 7-12); Okolice Peronow (tracks 13-17)

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Swingujące Trójmiasto (Series) - Rama 111 (Soliton, 2012)

Rama 111 (band)

Jan Rejnowicz - leader, organs, piano
Przemysław Dyakowski - tenor & sopran saxophones
Maciej Flont - sax tenor
Eugeniusz Kadyszewski - guitars
Piotr Nadolski - trumpet
Andrzej Nowak - piano
Tadeusz Petrow - sax, flute
Bogusław Skawina - trumpet
Aleksander Śliwa - bass
Andrzej Śliwa - drums

This is second release in Swingujące Trójmiasto (Swinging Tricity) series which is pressed by Soliton recording company. The idea of the series is bringing to our audience recordings made in Tri City (Gdyna, Gadńsk, Sopot) which yet either never wento to album (as this one) or were pending for reprint due to its unavailabilty. More about it you can read in review of first CD 'Baszta' (2011). As much as on aforementioned release this disc contains magnificent music evidencing how high wal level of jazz scene in 60ties in Poland. When one studies line-up it comes then as no surprise that some of musicians from this obscure band, created in 1966, which never recorded single album under its own name (apart from one with Marjanna Wróblewska titled 'Bylebym się zakochała'), are still present and significant voices in our music. It certainly applies to saxophonist Przemek Dyakowski but also to trumpeter Piotr Nadolski. All in all, this disc contains diversified music bringing to our memory what is best in tradition of mainstream jazz in Poland. 

Track listing: 1. Nasza podróż; 2. Jestem kochanką wiatru; 3. Impressions; 4. Na wszystkich dworcach świata; 5. Zegarmistrz światła; 6. Bogurodzica; 7. Romanca Cherubina; 8. A vista; 9. Alienacja; 10. Kładka na Motławie; 11. Oberczyna; 12. After You've Gone; 13. Do łezki łezka; 14. Meaple Leaf Rag; 15. Neptunalia; 16. Rozgrzewka

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

Judy Bady & Piotr Wojtasik - Blackout (2009)

Judy Bady - Vocals

Piotr Wojtasik - Trumpet and Arrangements

Francesca Tanksley - Piano
Wayne Dockery - Bass
Newman Taylor Baker - Drums

Blackout (2009)

This is one of the most interesting albums with vocal jazz recorded in Poland for years. Unfortunately it remains virtually unknown even to to local audience which is for me very difficult to comprehend. It contains everything to spark fire in every jazz man and woman soul: great musicians, marvelous tunes and most importantly freedom. This is to some degree surprising if someone is acquainted with what trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik recorded so far. Check such his albums described on this blog as 'Lonely Town' or 'Hope'. They made Wojtasik one of champions of mainstream jazz in Poland. What he displayed on these and other albums is absolute command of his instrument. Lee Morgan, Fats Navarro, Booker Little, Clifford Jordan to name just a few influenced him and he paid homage to them in one album after another as much as educator (his faculty in trumpet at Wrocław Music Academy being the best in Poland). But regardless all this perfection his music remained for me too academic, too intelectual, too turned toward the past. But this album changes that and I hope it marks major shift in Piotr Wojtasik art. Shift toward freer forms of jazz, toward more spontaneous play, more intimate interactions between members of the band.

Surely he owes a lot to his collaborators on this record. These musicians were almost totally unknown to me before I listened to this CD but they are of the highest caliber. Judy Bady has only one album released under her own name so far that is 'Blackbird'. Nonetheless she is accomplished singer bringing at least as much to this album as a leader, perhaps even more. She does not have great voice but she has what is most important in jazz that is a feeling. Emotions are abundant in her singing. She is a pure, natural, mighty force behind music on this album. This force however would never start to flow if not for rhythm sections standing behind Bady and Wojtasik back. Pianist Francesca Tanksley is known for being member of Billy Harper ensambles as much as drummer Newman Taylor Baker is. Bassist Wayne Dockery recorded with artists so very different from each other like George Benson, Eddie Henderson or Archie Shepp. 

Music on album is mostly standards with important exception of title track 'Blackout' penned by Wojtasik and 'Prayer' by Tankslew. It is clearly inspired by so called 'black jazz', full of spiritual connotations and trance grooves as evidenced by Bady's modest yet suggestive version of famous 'The Creator Has A Master Plan'. But every tune brings something unexpected and surprising, be it Duke Ellington's 'Come Sunday' or 'As One' with Bady's text and Barnaby McAll music. They are all contributing to very satisfactory listening experience indeed which I can do nothing else than strongly recommend!


Track listing: 
1. „Blackout” – muz. Piotr Wojtasik / tekst Judy Bady
2. „Prayer” – muz. / tekst Francesca Tanksley
3. “Sugar” – muz. Stanley Turrentine / tekst Jon Hendricks / extra tekst Judy Bady
4. “The Creator Has A Master Plan” – muz. Pharoah Sanders / teskt Leon Thomas
5. “As One” – muz. Barnaby McAll / teskt Judy Bady
6. “Vukani” – muz. / tekst Bheki Mseleku
7. “Come Sunday” – muz. / tekst Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington

By Maciej Nowotny

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Czy przyszłością jazzu jest muzyka ludowa?

Ostatnio w Cafe Karma miałem okazję spędzić miły piątkowy poranek na wyśmienitej kawie z muzykiem, o którym ostatnio bardzo głośno nie tylko u nas, ale i w szerokim świecie. Czy mówią coś Państwu nazwy takich zespołów jak Undivided czy Hera? Jeśli nie to koniecznie nadróbcie te zaległości, bo takich combo nie było w Polsce, ho ho, może nawet od czasów słynnych grup Komedy i Stańki w latach sześćdziesiątych i siedemdziesiątych! Liderem tych zespołów jest polski klarnecista Wacław Zimpel, który podczas naszej rozmowy wypowiedział opinię, że czuje się muzykiem ludowym. Nie dopytałem go wtedy o ten wątek, ale kropla drąży skałę i kiedy myślałem o tym w kontekście tego jak widzę przyszłość jazzu, coraz bardziej docierało do mnie, że jest w tej opinii coś niezwykle inspirującego...

W sprecyzowaniu tego niejasnego poczucia pomógł mi Jerzy Mazzoll, legenda polskiego yassu, z którym spędziłem niedawno dwa dni krążąc po warszawskich restauracjach, nagrywając audycję dla radia i słuchając tego co ma do powiedzenia o muzyce sprzed lat i tej, którą gra dzisiaj. W pewnym momencie Jerzy spojrzał na mnie uważnie i powiedział: "Macieju! Stoimy w obliczu zmian w muzyce równie istotnych jak te, które przyniosła możliwość nagrywania dźwięku. Płyta gramofonowa i jej potomkowie wyzwoliła muzykę z tyranii czasu i miejsca wykonania. A dzisiaj dostęp do internetu i wolność w korzystaniu z jego zasobów (było to na parę dni przed aferą z ACTA!) może przynieść prawdziwą rewolucję". Ponieważ na talerzu miałem gorącą kaftę wegetariańską, którą właśnie podał kelner w jednej z najlepszych restauracji libańskich w mieście, nie dopytałem go dokładnie co ma na myśli. 

Poniewczasie żałowałem bardzo swego łakomstwa i tego, że nie okazałem się bardziej dociekliwy. Czułem, że Zimpel i Mazzoll starają się powiedzieć mi coś bardzo ważnego... Usiadłem wtedy przy swoim laptopie i otworzyłem nieczytaną od kilku dni pocztę. W niej znalazłem brakujące elementy układanki i nagle zaświtało mi w głowie: Eureka! Oto być może to co czują tak Zimpel jak Mazzol, a pewnie i wielu innych muzyków z tych, co to mają uszy otwarte. Bo to się unosi w powietrzu, bo to jest coś co w języku niemieckim nazywa się... Zeitgeist! 

Po co chodzić do szkół muzycznych? - takie retoryczne pytanie zadał ostatnio goszczący w mojej audycji Jerzy Małek. Przecież wszystko jest w internecie: nuty, poradniki jak grać, a przede wszystkim muzyka, muzyka, muzyka. Tak łatwo dostępna i w takim wyborze jak jeszcze nigdy. Zdemokratyzował się nie tylko dostęp do niej, ale i sposób jej wytwarzania. Mnóstwo ludzi chce śpiewać, grać i tańczyć. Zresztą ta chęć zaczęła funkcjonować całkowicie w oderwaniu od umiejętności. Te nie są już nawet przez wszystkich wymagane. Stąd wielka popularność programów w rodzaju "Mam talent". Powody tego są oczywiste dla każdego w miarę bystrego obserwatora naszej cywilizacji: masowy konsument determinuje to co pokazują media. Media kształtują gusta publiczności. Ten samowzmacniający się mechanizm prowadzi do obniżki poziomu wytwarzanej sztuki (to już truizm), ale ma też, przyznajmy to, pewien zgoła nieoczekiwany skutek pozytywny... 

Otóż coraz większa liczba ludzi uczestniczy w sztuce aktywnie, nie tylko na zasadzie odbioru. Setki, tysiące, miliony ludzi umieszczają swoją muzykę na YouTube. A przecież są jeszcze takie dynamicznie rozwijające się miejsca jak spotify, soundcloud czy mixcloud, nie wspominając o gasnącym myspace czy nabierającym siły bandcamp. Dzięki nim można dzisiaj dotrzeć ze swoją piosenką czy albumem do publiczności całkowicie pomijając przemysł fonograficzny. Zresztą ten przemysł właśnie na naszych oczach się kończy, a dobija go tyleż piractwo (nazwijmy to wprost!) co konkurencja ze strony powstających jak grzyby po deszczu internetowych "labeli". Coraz częściej wystarczy impuls elektroniczny przebiegający między komputerem internetowego wydawcy a laptopem słuchacza i już możemy mówić o dystrybucji. Tak dzisiaj odbywa się coraz większa liczba premier płytowych...

Wracam tutaj do głównego wątku mej opowieści, którą opuściłem w momencie przeglądania skrzynki mejlowej. Znalazłem tam kilka przesłanych mi ostatnich premier płytowych, wszystkie w formie elektronicznej. Co ciekawe była to muzyka interesująca, nowatorska i o wiele ciekawiej brzmiąca niż ta, która dotarła do mnie w tak ukochanej przeze mnie formie płyty CD! Co bardzo ważne to te elektroniczne wydania były profesjonalnie i pięknie przygotowane! Tak od strony dźwiękowej, bo poziom nagrania był w pełni satysfakcjonujący, a do wyboru trzy formaty zapisu dźwięku, w tym bezstratny flac. Ale i od strony edytorskiej: gustowna okładka, mnóstwo informacji o muzyce i artystach w dwu językach, polskim i angielskim, a nadto dołączono promocyjne video z próbką muzy granej na koncercie. Tak płytę może dzisiaj wydać praktycznie każdy w miarę ogarnięty użytkownik komputera.

W rezultacie łatwości wydawania muzyki w dzisiejszych czasach zmienia się zupełnie akcent z odbioru na wybór. Dzisiaj problemem nie jest dostęp do muzyki, ale dotarcie do takiej, która odpowiada indywidualnym gustom słuchacza. Dlatego relacja słuchaczy z muzyką staje się coraz bardziej osobista. Wiele osób prowadzi blogi by powiedzieć światu jaka jest ich muza (należę do tej grupy!). Ludzie tworzą towarzystwa i kluby, by mieć miejsca, gdzie odbierają muzę po swojemu. Wielkie znaczenie mają nieformalne grupy dyskusyjne, listy mejlowe, miejsca (znów powiedzmy to otwarcie!) nielegalnej wymiany plików! 

Wszystko to, o czym napisałem i wiele z pokrewnych zjawisk, o których nie ma miejsca by w tym artykule powiedzieć, zmierza do tego od czego zacząłem: muzyka, a w tym jazz, staje się domeną ludu. Jak przed wiekami każdy może wziąć skrzypce, fortepian czy bębny i grać. I z tą muzyką dotrzeć do słuchacza! Jakby mieszkali w jednej wiosce, tuż obok siebie, chata obok chaty, dom przy domu. Umożliwia to internet, dzięki któremu ktoś kto mieszka w Hajfie, Widnes w Cheshire, Nowym Jorku czy Palo Alto i podziela moją miłość do jazzu bliższy mi jest niż gburowaty sąsiad z mojej kamienicy, który słucha Anthraxu, Kissów czy Deep Purple.

Zresztą to dopiero początek, bo jeśli prawdą jest to, że przyszłością jazzu jest muzyka ludowa, to coraz mniejsze znaczenie będzie miała ocena jej jakości pod względem formalnym, krytyka będzie obumierać. Czy zresztą mylę się, że to już następuje? Nieuchronny to proces, bo muzyka ludowa inną pełni rolę niż zaspokajanie wyrafinowanych gustów krytyków i ich mecenasów. Te gusty funkcjonują już zresztą w zupełnym oderwaniu od gustów ludowej publiczności. Oto, jak opowiedział mi przyjaciel, słuchacze wychodzący po koncercie duetu Archie Shepp i Joachim Kuhn, na tegorocznej Bielskiej Zadymce Jazzowej, kręcili nosami, że muzyka była zanadto free! Chryste Panie! A był to przecież chyba najbardziej mainstreamowy koncert jaki Ci dwaj muzycy zagrali w swoim wypełnionym free jazzem i awangardą życiu!

Ale publiczność się nie myli... nigdy... vox populi vox (i)dei... muzyka krytyków inne ma cele niż muzyka ludowa. Ta pierwsza goni króliczka nieustannych innowacji i wydumanego postępu. Ta druga ma pomóc ludziom poradzić sobie w wyzwaniach, które stawia przed nami życie. Równie dobrze może to zrobić V symfonia Beethovena jak i jakaś głupia piosenka ściągnięta z YouTube. Czasami nawet lepiej spełni tę funkcję... Najbardziej wrażliwi z muzyków czują ten duch czasów. Wspomniany wcześniej Zeitgeist. Czy nie taki charakter, ludyczny właśnie, nosi to co robią muzycy skupieni wokół Chłodnej 25 i wytwórni Lado ABC? Czy nie zapokojeniu prostej potrzeby ucieczki od rzeczywistości służy transowy charakter najnowszych albumów Hery, Mikrokolektywu czy Jahny i Buhla? Muza zaczyna przypominać ćwiczenia z medytacji, kurs buddyzmu zen czy yogi!

Może zresztą są to naciągane przykłady, może lepiej dać inny. Prowadzę blog na temat polskiego jazzu (polish-jazz.blogspot.com) i dostałem pewnego razu mejl z dalekiej Kalifornii od Jasona McGuinessa członka kolektywu analogburners.com. Zmiksował on kilka utworów z wydanej w 1977 płyty Czesława Bartkowskiego “Drums Dream”. Napisał do mnie tak: “Kochamy tę muzę. Aha! To dopiero początek: teraz pracuję nad “Alter Ego” Czesława Gładkowskiego i Krzysztofa Zgraji!”. Naprawdę tak napisał! Mam kopie mejla na dowód. Z polskimi znakami “ł”. Czy ktoś pomyślałby w roku 1964 kiedy powstawała seria Polish Jazz, że kiedyś młodzi Amerykanie będą uważali muzykę nagraną kilkadziesiąt lat temu nad Wisłą za swoją własną?! 
Autor: Maciej Nowotny



Janusz Zdunek + Marienburg - Jedzie (2012) by Maciej Nowotny

Janusz Zdunek - trumpet, synthesizers, electronics

Ireneusz Kaczmar - bass guitar, sitarra
Rafał Baca - drums, percussion 

Jedzie (2012)




As far as I remember this is third album by this band with previous 'Pop Dom' and 'Miasto Nic' (2008). This last record is described on our blog and what applied to that album roughly applies to this one as well. This music is as much inspired by jazz as (even more) by club, downtempo and chill-out music. Its overall mood is relaxing and goes perfectly with lazy morning, calm evening or night car drive. By far the biggest asset of this album is Janusz Zdunek whose line on trumpet is open and yet easily to follow. Its closest affinity is without doubt well known Nils Molvaer play. Unlike on Molvaer famous records however (e.g. 'Khmer' or recently 'Hamada') Zdunek has no enough support from rhythm section whose play is too predictable for my taste. Plus arrangements of music are not that dense and range of emotions evoked in listener consequently is more modest. 



Track listing: 1 Oj nie; 2 Past Post; 3 Jedzie Preludium; 4 Jedzie wolny; 5 Jedzie Lab; 6 Jedzie On; 7 Trytony; 8 Od ślubu

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gary Peacock – Voice From The Past (ECM, 1981)

Gary Peacock - bass

Jan Garbarek - tenor and soprano saxophones
Tomasz Stanko - trumpet
Jack DeJohnette - drums

Voice From The Past (ECM, 1981)

This is an all-acoustic group with no harmonic instruments (ex. piano or guitar) and, as such, is full of wonderful open spaces by the record label ECM, known to have the very highest standards of recording engineers and sound for many decades now.

Peacock in my humble opinion, is always at his very best on his recordings as a leader. His numerous sideman projects are all worthwhile but always venture near standards and/or piano trios. So it's always a very welcome thing to have a recording of Peacocks as the leader featuring his own compositions and using whatever instrumental combo he has in mind at he moment.

My guess is that Peacock was pleased enough with the outcome here to re-visit the same lineup: 2 horns, bass, and drums a few years later on another recording of his "Guamba", sadly which is out of print currently. "Guamba" also used the same musicians, save for Peter Erskine replacing Jack Dejohnette-who was probably busy with his incredible amount of studio and live work both as a leader and sideman at the time.

A large part of the success of this recording has to do, as mentioned, with the wonderful recorded sound- but there's also something about the totally acoustic setting. A warmth and humanity that seems lost nowadays (except for a few artists like Mr Peacock), but indeed was already lost in the early 1980's. Without playing standards or attempting to relive a bygone era of acoustic jazz or even classical music, the acoustic instrumentation certainly harkens back in time as a result of a beautiful, natural woody sound and the breath of the horns and well-recorded acoustic drums-all the while the compositions themselves are very much a part of modern jazz.

I first purchased this as a new release on vinyl back in 1982 and have now, finally, come around to picking up the CD. I'm very much looking forward to hearing this one again, and in the digital world!



1. Voice from the Past 2. Legends 3. Moor 4. Allegory 5. Paradigm 6. Ode for Tomten

By Phasedin

Monday, April 9, 2012

Ewa Braun - Stereo (2002)

Ewa Braun (band)

Dariusz Dudziński - perkusja
Rafał Szymański - gitara basowa
Marcin Dymiter - gitara, głos
Piotr Sulik - gitara, głos 

 Stereo (2002)




A bit of emo-and/or-post-rock from Poland, Ewa Braun sound every bit as good as your personally adored Dischord or Quaterstick band. Opening track "Upadek Systemu Swingu" gives Lightning Bolt a run for the money when it comes to balls-out guitar riff depth charges -- the six-minute instrumental kickstarts the record with hyper gusto and total blistering confidence. The group is equally well-footed with its numerous spare, slow grinders, like "Ptaki Czuja Jesien" -- which, like many of the tracks, sounds a bit like late-model Fugazi, with lots of jazz-infused guitar wet-noodling and frequently half-murmured vocals. Thankfully, there is no screaming. Screaming is forbidden, thank goodness. For all the music's punk-edged vitality, there's an equally serene and detached air to the playing, and this gives Stereo a feeling of effortless perfection. The songs are jammy, like good Faust material or June of 44's best experiments; Ewa Braun develop protracted rhythms that could go on forever or suddenly reverse and go in another direction.

The production is excellent. There's nothing fancy in the sound to distract from the weird introverted anti-social style of the playing. The disc seems weightless, charming and completely worthwhile.



Track listing: Side A 1 Upadek Systemu Swingu 6:12; 2 Muzyka Z Księżyca 3:15; 3 Piosenka Dla Chłopców 3:13; 4 Piosenka Dla Dziewcząt 7:14; 5 Ptaki Czują Jesień 7:07; Strona B 6 Koniec Nowego Roku 6:52; 7 Sauté Cz. III 9:03; 8 Wzmocnione Światła

By Lee Henderson

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bronislaw Duzy & Jorgos Skolias - Do It (1997)

Bronislaw Duży -trombone

Jorgos Skolias -vocals, percussion


Do It (1997)





One can pretty easily imagine an album made solely by a singer and a trombone player being nothing but an hour of goose farts. These two Polish jazz heroes perfectly avoided that trap and made just one goddamn groovey and enjoyable piece of record. Shame it didn't make it to vinyl...


Track listing: 01. Afryka [06:00]; 02. Piec napiec [05:07]; 03. Kolo [06:08]; 04. Bluesdla [07:06]; 05. Imena [04:55]; 06. Zolo [03:34]; 07. Foxy Lady [03:43]; 08. Zeimbekiko [06:19]; 09. Pentagon [05:52] 

By Pan Mietek
http://panmietek.blogspot.com

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski - Sweet Beat (Gad Records, 2012)

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski – sax, flute, clarinet

Włodzimierz Nahorny – organs, piano
Bronisław Suchanek – double bass
Janusz Stefański – drums
Józef Gawrych – percussion
Janusz Hojan – trumpet
Benon Hardy – accordion

Poznańska Piętnastka Radiowa -  dyr. Zygmunt Mahlik (1-11)

Sweet Beat (GAD Records, 2012)

(Editor) From original notes to album which was released in 1972 but is now re-issued in beautifully remastered and extended version by GAD Records. Highly recommended!

This record was born in the winter. For two nights, on the 7th and 8th of February, 1972, the glass partition in the Polskie Nagrania studio stood between two groups of musicians. One one side the rhythm section: Włodzimierz Nahorny, Bronisław Suchanek, drummers Janusz Stefański and Józef Gawrych and... „Ptaszyn” Wróblewski; on the other, thirty strings from the National Philharmonic. This time, Ptaszyn turned the leadership over to Zygmunt Mahlik, director of Poznańska Piętnastka Radiowa (Poznań Radio's Fifteen Orchestra) with which he had collaborated for fifteen years.

The recording proceeded smoothly, so everyone was pleased until it was time to lay down the solo saxophone track. Ptaszyn was discontented – made one take after another, searched for just right atmosphere. And thanks to that, the result is sure to please.

This record is, above all, a showcase for Wróblewski's arranging skill. As he, himself, admits, this kind of work suits him best. „I can't imagine life without strings and French horns”, he says. An awareness of the fact that tgese instruments are a distinctive feature of „sweet music”, make us realize just how much this music means to Wróblewski the jazzman.

He had wanted to make this record for a long time. However, the final conception was born during the production of another album of „sweet music”: his friend Włodzimierz Nahorny's „Her Portrait”, on which Ptaszyn led the band, and to which he contributed some of his arrangements.

„Sweet Beat” offers a similar music, although more aggressive rhythmically – more rock. 


Track listing: 1. Sweet beat; 2. Tata lata; 3. Bitwa o grzędę; 4. Tylko spokój; 5. Jesień; 6. 300 kilometrów przed nami; 7. Stopniowanie; 8. Dziewczyna tańcząca; 9. Cóż ci to ja uczyniłem; 10. Nie pożałuje pan; 11. W kawiarence „Sułtan”; 

Bonus tracks: 12. Mówiłem, że nie ostatni (radio version); 13. Tata lata (radio version); 14. Bitwa o grzędę (radio version); 15. Tylko spokój (radio version); 16. Jesień (radio version); 17. 300 kilometrów przed nami (radio version); 18. Stopniowanie (radio version); 19. Dziewczyna tańcząca (radio version); 
20. Rozlewiska (Zielono mi) (radio version); 21. 300 kilometrów za nami (radio version); 22. Tango niesforne (radio version); 23. Begin the Beguine (radio version); 24. Miniatura z jesienną jaskółką (radio version); 25. Trawa (radio version)

By Jan Borkowski

Przemek Dyakowski - Take It Easy III (Soliton, 2012)

Przemek Dyakowski – saksofon tenorowy, lider (1-10)

Joanna Knitter – Posiewnik – wokal (1-10)
Dominik Bukowski – wibrafon (1-2, 4-10)
Artur Jurek – fortepian, aranżacje, producent (1-3, 10)
Janusz Macek Mackiewicz – kontrabas (1-10)
Tomasz Sowiński – perkusja (4-9)
Roman Ślefarski – perkusja (1-3, 10)

Kwartet Smyczkowy Cappelli Gedanensis (1-3, 10):
Katarzyna Kowacz – I skrzypce
Katarzyna Rogalska – II skrzypce
Małgorzata Chomicz – altówka
Alicja Lach-Owsiany – wiolonczela

Take It Easy III (Soliton, 2012)

Saxophonist Przemek Dyakowski is a legend on Tri City jazz scene. He very well fits in mainstream like in 'Projekt Elbląg' (2011) by Specjal Jazz Sextet & Jerry Goodman, Jarek Smietana, in etno & folk jazz in Wojtek Staroniewicz 'Afreakan Project' (2011) or in more 'twisted' jazz like on young saxophonist Irek Wojtczak debut recording 'Direct Memory Access' (2011). I only quote very recent ones out of hundred or more other albums on which he appeared.   

His newest recording however is an instance of 'new classical jazz music' which I am not a very big fan of. What I mean by this term? Music which is as dead as, say, music of Beethoven, Mozart or Wagner and which is rehearsed by a band of awesome instrumentalists who in this way pay homage to old grand masters of the past. This is duty full of honor if a bit dull and uninspiring if repeated too often. And  this is the case as far as this recording is concerned because it is third disc in a small series by Dyakowski dedicated to classic jazz. 

Once again we may hear here great jazz standards born on Broadway almost one hundred years ago played and sung almost identically as they were played by George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and so many others. Except that they lack spontaneity and authenticity which are present in original recordings of that era. Summarizing, sweet and lovely without doubt but hopelessly predictable and boring if you are bound to 'real' jazz defined as 'sound of surprise'...


Track listing: 1. Lady be good – G. Gershwin 3:58; 2. Sophisticated Lady – D. Ellington 5:02; 3. I wish I knew – D. Gordon & H. Warren 5:25; 4. I ain’t got nothin’ but the blues – D. Ellington 5:31; 5. East of the sun and West of the moon – D. Bowman 8:31; 6. You go to my head – J. F. Coots & H. Gillespie 8:27; 7. Ain’t misbehavin’ – T. Fats Waller 5:18; 8. I got it bad – D. Ellington 3:41; 9. I wish you love – Ch. Trenet 5:17; 10. I kiss your hand, madame – R. Erwin 4:22


By Maciej Nowotny

Friday, April 6, 2012

Niechec - Smierc w miekkim futerku (Wytwornia, 2012)

Niechęć (band)

Michał Kaczorek - drums
Stefan Nowakowski - bass
Tomek Wielechowski - piano, synth
Rafał Błaszczak - guitar
Maciek Zwierzchowski - saxophones

Guests:
Lady Aarp (Kasia Kolbowska - harp, Sebastian Wtitkowski - dub, electronics)
DJ Feel - psycho synth

Smierc w miekkim futerku (Wytwornia, 2012)

When few years ago Contemporary Noise Quintet began to mix rock, pop, film music with jazz it was really something fresh on our scene. Such albums as 'Pig Inside The Gentlemen' or 'Unaffected Thought Flow' quickly won listeners' hearts. Full packed concert halls all over Poland (and incidentally abroad) were clear evidence that this kind of music has future. It is therefore no surprise that soon after a bunch of new groups emerged intending to develop this concept. Daktari blend this music with klezmer or better say Tzadik-like moods; Tfaruk with electronic dance music; Light Coorporation with prog rock. All these bands and their albums were issued very recently in 2011 and are worthy your while. Niechęć deserves to be included among them delivering music as much coherent as any of above mentioned collectives. Is anything that singles out this album? Not really. That is its only disadvantage. It comes closest to CNQ in terms of purity of the genre but its compositions lack the sex appeal tunes penned by brothers Kapsa possess. All in all, this is strong debut. My taste which was formed on classical and jazz music might be a bit too spoiled to be kept on this kind of music for a long time. But when I asked some of my friends who came to jazz from listening to rock what do they think about this album, they unanimously reported to be very happy upon hearing this stuff...



Track listing: 1 After You; 2 Taksówkarz; 3 Mojry; 4 Niespokojny Relaks; 5 Relaks Dub; 6 Drugi Turnus W Pucku; 7 Prozak; 8 Fecaliano; 9 Śmierć W Miękkim Futerku

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

Baaba Kulka - Baaba Kulka (2011)

Baaba Kulka

Bartek Weber - gitara
Gaba Kulka - wokal, klawisze
Piotr Zabrodzki - bas, klawisze
Tomasz Duda - saksofoy, flet, klarnet
Maciej Moruś - perkusja

Baaba Kulka (2011) 

In 1984, Iron Maiden brought a massive stage show through Eastern Europe, performing in five different Polish cities. The love Eddie and the gang showed for the other side of the Iron Curtain comes back here, with Baaba Kulka’s off-the-wall tribute to the metal giants. Polish electro-jazz-rock band Baaba provides the background music, lurching between Klezmer, gypsy-rock, and even something that sounds like lounge music from the future. Singer Gaba Kulka unleashes big, jazzy singing overtop, belting the hell out of fan favorites you’ve never heard like this before. The set brings out the cartoonish fun that always lurked not too deep within Iron Maiden songs, but without an ounce of irony or condescension. It’s a boisterous celebration by a collective that may not have a metal bone in its body, but invite big grins while you sing (and dance) along with the wildest crossover album this side of Warsaw.

Track listing: 01. The Number of the Beast; 02. Wrathchild; 03. Aces High; 04. To Tame A Land; 05. The Ides of March; 06. Prodigal Son; 07. Children of the Damned; 08. Flight of the Icarus; 09. The Clairvoyant; 10. Still Life



Source: covermesongs.com (Album of the Year 2011)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Antoni Gralak - Graal (Polonia Records, 1996); Graal 2 (Polonia Records, 1997)


Antoni Gralak - trumpet, trombone

Włodzimierz Kiniorski - tenor sax
Locko Richter - bass guitar, organ
Arkadiusz Skolik - drums
Stanisław Sojka - violin

Graal (Polonia Records, 1996)

Tracklisting: 1. Karuzela; 2. Chromatyczna; 3. Gruba Berta; 4. Wszyscy tańczą; 5. Pe pe sha; 6. Bajka; 7. Chudy patrzy; 8. Larwatus proteo 


Antoni Gralak - trumpet, trombone

Włodzimierz Kiniorski - tenor sax
Locko Richter - bass guitar, organ
Arkadiusz Skolik - drums
Stanisław Sojka - violin

Graal 2 (Polonia Records, 1997)

Tracklisting: 1. Miasto tańczy; 2. Marsz a masz; 3. Sarterras Ubi Bangoia; 4. Ornetto; 5. Korridor; 6. Mute Fanki; 7. Jak Kopciuszek; 8. Więc Dixi 

Small community of musicians centered around city of Częstochowa (located in the south of Poland close to bigger Upper Silesia region) produced fair amount of interesting if somewhat little known (even in Poland) music. Along with Janusz Yanina Iwański whose newest record 'Free Wave' (2011) was recently described on this blog, trumpeter Antoni Ziut Gralak (Ziut and Yanina cooperated in highly successful rock Tie Break band) shall be mentioned with this two albums being good example of what kind of music he likes the most. And this music is rooted in Polish yass movement. That means that though clearly inspired by free jazz it is also relying heavily on Polish folk, punk rock and drum'n'bass aesthetics. It sounds open, spontaneous and much more accessible than typical Ornettian free. Melody is strong here and improvisation is not that much in structure as in ludic character of this music which may change entirely its style from one song to another. Apart from this interesting idiom in which this music is placed one must be under great impression how well played it is. Apart from the leader on trumpet it features first rate musicians that is Włodek Kiniorski on tenor sax, charismatic German bassist Loco Richter, excellent drummer Arek Stolik and Stanisław Sojka on violin. Even more important then their skills however is the spirit of teamwork and obvious great joy coming from working together that pervades both these albums. This leaves me with no other options than to recommend these albums to any listener whose ears and heart are open to good music. 


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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Andrzej Cudzich Quartet - Able To Listen (Polonia Records, 1996)

Andrzej Cudzich Quartet

Andrzej Cudzich – bass
Gary Thomas – saksofon tenorowy
David Kikoski – fortepian
Ronnie Burrage – perkusja

Able To Listen (Polonia Records, 1996)

I have been quite unprepared for this... music that started to flow from my Tannoy speakers was simply top notch! Full of drive, bursting with energy, dancing and singing with perfect rhythms and captivating melodies. I immediately started to ask myself: who did recorded this powerful stuff? The name of the band: Andrzej Cudzich Quartet meant nothing to me. Only when I began to study the personnel as listed on CD cover I began to understand... Gary Thomas on tenor saxophone, David Kikoski on piano and Ronnie Burrage on drumms are all heavyweights from New York who brought to this music this punch I was so stricken by. These guys really know how to swing! But who (to heck!) is Andrzej Cudzich? 

Born in 1960 he was as much bassist as composer educated in Kraków Music Academy. While studying he won second prize at Jazz Nad Odrą Festival and was soon after invited by famous Cracow saxophonist Jerzy Muniak to his band. They cooperated closely from 1979 to 1985 touring extensively in Poland and abroad. Afterwards he also collaborated with Krzysztof Zawadzki with whom he created one of the most significant bands in Polish Jazz in 80ties that is Walk Away and with Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski who employed him in all his projects in those times. No less important were cooperations with Tomasz Szukalski with whom he recorded three albums, with Zbigniew Namysłowski and Jarosław Śmietana.

In 90ties Cudzich eventually felt ready to make recordings in his own name with 'Able To Listen' being his debut. Soon after he created his own group called AmenBand playing church music and purely jazz enterprise called Andrzej Cudzich Quartet featuring such excellent musicians as Joachim Mencel, Adam Pierończyk and Łukasz Żyta. This fast developing career was suddenly interrupted by grave illness which caused Andrzej Cudzich's death in 2003 at the age of 43. Great pity! The only comfort with have in such a heavy loss is that recordings like this secure Cudzich's place in great history of Polish jazz...


Track listing: 1. Don’t Look Back 8,40 2. Able To Listen 9,26 3. West Wind 6,49 4. Waltz 8,20 5. Watch Your Step 9,03 6. Peace 11,34 7. Evidence 4,40

By Maciej Nowotny

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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

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)



Made up of members from Ken Vandermark's Resonance Ensemble, Inner Ear takes much of the Chicago sax man's ethics and expands on it for this stellar debut, Breathing Steam. The reduced size of the group (a quartet) allows the themes from Resonance to--as the title suggests--breath. There is a bit more experimentation as well as harmonic resilience throughout this session.

There's no leader here, so each musician gets an opportunity to stretch their chords as only the burst energy that is the opener, "Lonely Consumer." Trzaska and Daisy tear through notes in counterpoint fashion. It's a duel of juxtapositions, with Trzaska screeching into heavens; while Daisy adds staccato patterns all around. It's beautifully laid out. Vandermark would be very happy. "Monster Confession" is dark and loose. The group move in various haunting directions with Homlander's tuba presenting some ominous sounds and then folding into some great improvised work by Daisy and Swell.

"For Our Mothers" has soft avant-blues texture to it. The quartet moves slowly through some dark passages with Trzaska portraying almost a funeral-like tone. Swell and Homlander add a billowing quality to this offering that quietly fades into the distance just as it began.

Breathing Steam might be just a one-off for these members of the larger Resonance Ensemble but its a rich and organic experience that is many times over worth listening and looking out for. Sometimes the sum is just as good and significant as the whole. Inner Ear is rewarding stuff.


By Stephan Moore

Monday, April 2, 2012

Michal Urbaniak - Songs For Poland (1989)

Michał Urbaniak - violin

Obstreat Orchestra

Songs For Poland (1989)






Michał Urbaniak is one of main exponents of famous Polish school of jazz violin  with others like Zbigniew Seifert, Henryk Gembalski or Krzesimir Dębski. His carreer has spanned over 40 years and two countries: Poland and the US where he is currently residing. Its highlight  is cooperation with Miles Davis who hired him for his 'Tutu' album. Like Davis in his later years Urbianiak tried to get in touch with popular music but with mixed success. In this album I find more of this "mixed" than "success" element. Mixed are multiple ingredients: most often disco, folk, funk but also rap and hip hop, all served in fusion sauce. Unfortunately unlike Mile's famous 'Doo Bop' for example this dish is really hard to digest. Then why do I write about this album? Just to inform you: do not be repelled by this album as other works by Urbaniak are much much better than this one... 




Tracklisting: 1. Simple Solution; 2. Polish Jazz; 3. Zomocop; 4. Decadence from the Film 'Farewell to Autumn'; 5. The Party Is Over; 6. Can't Complain; 7. Carouselski; 8. Boleronez; 9. Imigrants Songs

By Maciej Nowotny

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