Thursday, May 31, 2012

Marcin Masecki - Bob (2009)

Marcin Masecki - piano

Bob (2009)








"In 2009, Marcin Masecki released his sophomore solo album BOB, which received unanimous positive reviews in the Polish press, critics describing the record as one of the most original yet stylistically indefinable albums of the year". (source: http://www.culture.pl). More about Marcin Masecki music in our review of his another solo album: "John" (2010).



Track listing:1. Gesualdo 2. Bob 3. Pazaaz


Bourdelle w radiowej Trójce

W ten weekend wybieram się wraz z córką do Paryża, aby pokazać jej to niezwykłe miasto, królową i kurtyzanę świata jednocześnie. Poza Disneylandem, wieżą Eiffla i Luwrem odwiedzimy z bukietem fiołków cmentarz Pere-Lachaise, a także rzucimy okiem na pomnik Adama Mickiewicza na Nadbrzeżu Księcia Alberta. Pomnik ów jest dziełem Emila Bourdelle, który zapytany kiedyś co artysta powinien zrobić, aby świat go poznał, odparł: To bardzo proste, stworzyć arcydzieło! 

Słowa te przypomniały mi się w trakcie wczorajszego koncertu zespołu Pink Freud w radiowej Trójce. Formacja ta niewątpliwie ma już miejsce w historii polskiego jazzu. Idea jaka stoi za ich muzyką była prosta: zbudować granie na solidnej rockowej podstawie rytmicznej, posługując się przy tym nieskomplikowanymi, melodyjnymi tematami z większą lub mniejszą (częściej) dozą jazzowej improwizacji w wykonaniu co bardziej ogarniętych muzycznie członków zespołu. Dla wychowanej na muzyce pop publiczności okazało się to strzałem w dziesiątkę! 

To co najbardziej jednak imponowało w graniu Pink Freud to nie była świeżość muzycznego konceptu a entuzjazm muzyków, młodzieńcza radość z grania i charyzma nie kogo innego jak Wojtka Mazolewskiego. Sukces Pink Freud to w dużej mierze jego zasługa. Nawet wrogowie przyznają, że jest geniuszem jeśli chodzi o umiejętność nawiązania kontaktu z publicznością, mediami, o tak zwany piar. Uprzejmy, uśmiechnięty, dowcipny, inteligentny, Mazolewski wyróżnia sią na ogromny plus od większości polskich muzyków, którzy jeśli chodzi o public relations porażają brakiem profesjonalizmu, totalną siermięgą i amatorszczyzną. Stąd wielkie do Mazolewskiego w środowisku pretensje, bo on uświadamia pozostałym ich własne braki, które często niweczą cały trud włożony w kreację muzyki.

Ale w tej beczce miodu jest łyżka dziegciu. Bo bogowie jedną ręką dąją, by drugą odebrać, abyśmy nie popadli w pychę. I tak jest w przypadku Mazolewskiego. Zjawiskowy jako sceniczna osobowość jest niestety muzykiem zaledwie przeciętnym. Serce się kroi, gdy się słucha jak chce, ale nie może zagrać tego co mu w duszy śpiewa. Tu strojenie min nie pomoże, w jazzie nie gra się z playbacku, a koncert w Trójce bezlitośnie obnażył te wszystkie muzyczne braki. Także dlatego, że całkowicie nierozsądnie Mazolewski porwał się w nim na solówki jakby chciał udowodnić, że jednak potrafi. To jeszcze nie koniec nieszczęść, bo w muzyce z najnowszego albumu zabrakło także obecnych do tej pory na płytach Pink Freud entuzjazmu, świeżości i autentyczności. Muzyka zabrzmiała wtórnie wobec tej z wcześniejszych krążków, co gorsze była monotonna, brakowało porywających, przebojowych melodii jakie odnależć można było nawet na skądinąd fatalnym “Wojtku w Czechosłowacji”. A nieliczne próby grania bardziej otwartego brzmiały sztucznie i nieporadnie.

Żal było słuchać jak w tym kontekście po prostu męczą się muzycy tej klasy co saksofonista Tomasz Duda i trębacz Adam Milwiw-Baron. O ile temu pierwszemu skory jestem wybaczyć, bo ma za sobą tyle cudownych, niszowych projektów, że czas, aby wreszcie odpoczął w lżejszej formule i... zarobił trochę pieniędzy. O tyle jeśli chodzi o młodego Barona (jest synem wspaniałego saksofonisty Piotra) to zastanawiam się co on robi w Pink Freud? Ten muzyk ma bowiem wielki talent i dojrzał by wreszcie powiedzieć coś istotnego od siebie. W jego wieku jest chociażby taki Piotr Damasiewicz, także pochodzący z Wrocławia, również trębacz, która ma już za sobą pomyślany z rozmachem projekt na jazzowy kwintet i orkiestrę kameralną, a ostatnio na festiwalu JazzArt w Katowicach zrealizował nagranie nowej płyty “Power of the Horns”. I wiecie co? Na miejscu młodego Barona wolałbym cierpieć nędzę i mieć za sobą “Power of the Horns”, niż opływać w luksusy z Pink Freud i mieć przed sobą rok grania “Power & Horse”. Dlaczego? Na to pytanie już 82 lata temu odpowiedział Monsieur Bourdelle..

Autor: Maciej Nowotny



Piotr Wojtasik - Circle (2007)

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet

Zbigniew Namysłowski - soprano saxophone (3)
Francois Theberge - tenor saxophone (2, 6-8)
Henryk Miśkiewicz - bass clarinet (5)
Andrzej Jagodziński - piano
Jean Jacques Avenel - bass
John Betsch - drums
Paul Wertico - percussions (1-3, 7, 8)
Tomas Celis Sanchez - percussions (3-6, 8)
Barbara Witkowska - harp (1, 3- 5, 7, 8)

Musicians of Teatr Rozrywki in Chorzów City -
Jerzy Jarosik - flute
Beata Brachman-Szymczyk - flute
Aleksander Komorowski - clarinet
Wojciech Front - bassoon
Marek Kuc - french horn

Circle (2007)

"In 2008 he won a Fryderyk for Jazz Musician of the Year, as well as winning Best Jazz Record for the album Circle". ( http://www.culture.pl )



Track listing: 1. Circle (Piotr Wojtasik); 2. 509 (Piotr Wojtasik); 3. Nicholais Dance (Maciej Sikała); 4. Goose by Goose (Andrzej Jagodziński); 5. Two Pieces with Beatrice (Joachim Mencel); 6. For My Mother (Maciej Sikała); 7. Japanis (Adam Pierończyk); 8. Final (Piotr Wojtasik)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Andrzej Olejniczak & Apertus String Quartet - Different Choice (2011)


Andrzej Olejniczak - tenor & soprano saxophones


Apertus String Quartet:
Joanna Łuczak - violin
Marta Kaliska - violin
Joanna Krysicka-Gwarda - viola
Marta Katarzyna Filipiak - cello

Different Choice (2011)


"I am truly impressed. It is a rare to come cross music like this. Many elements deserve particular attention and admiration. As a saxophonist, I especially value Andrzej’s wonderful playing technique. Next, there is the auality of the recording. The proportions, sound of instruments, quantity and quality of the reverb – all are outstanding. And the third, and probably the most important factor (for me especially so), the repertoire. The compositions and arrangements, both of the jazz- and more classical- style are absolutely the best possible. Being a jazzman though, I wish Andrzej had had more space and liberty for improvisation, as he is an excellent, one of this kind, improviser. My favourites are Viuda Negra and Radkowi ballade, due to their jazz-character, which is so close to my heart. I must also give my appreciation to the string quartet for they so skilful and “musical” performance of this extremely difficult repertoire. Here, the music really is unique. For connoisseurs to appreciate, and for everyone to listen to and admire – fantastic."

Zbigniew Namysłowski – jazz saxophonist and composer

Playing with a string quartet and improvising to its accompaniment with no rhythm section is something I have always been dreaming of, ever since I studied classical music on clarinet, performing quintets by W.A. Mozart and C.M. von Weber. Next, there was my fascination with Focus by Stan Getz and Luminescence by Jan Garbarek. Since then, I have been involved in many different projects, and this idea was still on the back burner, waiting for the right moment, which just didn’t seen to arrive [chyba “seem to”?? – taka moja mała korektorska uwaga na boku].Finally, after many years, I realized that it would be great to try something that would inspire me, some new musical experience with a challenge to explore different concepts of playing. Performing with the string quartet made me even more disciplined in terms of technique, rhythm and dynamic. It provoked me to reflect on my way of playing enriching me as musician. While selecting the repertoire I tried to create music that is open, not addressed to one-style-fans only. I hope I have managed to do it successfully. Enjoy listening.

Andrzej Olejniczak



Track listing:
1. Poise
2. New Romantic Expectation
3. Radkowi
4. Viuda Negra
5. Reminiscence
6. Cantabile in h-moll
7. Music for Soprano Saxophone and String Quartet
8. Canzonetta
9. New Romantic Temptation

Source: info from albums's sleeve

Piotr Wojtasik - Escape (1999)

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet

Tomasz Szukalski - soprano & tenor sax
Maciej Sikala - soprano & tenor sax,
Sławomir Kurkiewicz - bass
Krzysztof Dziedzic - drums

Escape (1999)

The leading trumpet of Polish jazz scene, Piotr Wojtasik, is very well known as a virtuoso, whose live improvisations are widely admired. He is also the composer of several pieces: ”The Waltz”, “Plum Orchard”, “First Rehearsal”, “Almost Touching It”... To be sure, his every improvised solo in a small composition, though based on someone else’s ideas. The present disc brings three more Wojtasik’s original compositions, one of them a major one in three parts, “Escape”, after which this disc is named. It shows at the same time his partly introverted nature and his deeply felt attitude toward surrounding turbulence of contemporary life, one wishes sometimes to escape from. From the strictly musical point of view it is a very successful combination of improvisatory freedom with the attractive ensemble sections and general structure. As he himself admits, the shaping of “Escape”ripened gradually in discussions and rehearsals with his present sidemen, Tomasz Szukalski, Maciej Sikała, Sławomir Kurkiewicz and Krzysztof Dziedzic. The colors of this music are not only unique and beautiful (in spite of piano’s absence) but assaulting our imagination. There’s a poignantly vigorous soprano-saxophone’s incantation (part I) and anguished pulsations of bass and drums underneath; the initial motif: a,f,b,d, forms a basis from which the tenor’s rebellious improvisations stem. The drums link the first part with the second, and a very attractive straight-ahead begins, jumping sporadically off the tonal barriers. We are about to admire the trumpet’s and tenor’s solo-flights, the rows of running fourth-all these full of half-defined meaning, asking for some kind of allegoric film. And finally a bass solo that guides us to part lll. The structure and expression complement each other throughout. A characteristic call (e,a,f,g) three times repeated and answered each time by a frenzy of voices, leads to a kind of psalm, where the peculiar polyphonic “free” occurs, with tenor exhortations running out of it.

The conclusion is definitely hopeful, even triumphant. Farther items on this CD add to the message of “Escape”, however differently. “Horizon”, the next Wojtasik composition starts with a broadly outlined unison theme. It unfolds on two levels. The polyphonic treatment used here resembles a kind of two-parts invention. There are two fine tenor solo improvisations with a trumpet solo in between. The sounds symbolizing movement and space entwine the return of the main theme. in October 1960 John Coltrane recorded three complete sets in the space of barely one week ;”Coltrane Plays The Blues”, “My Favorite Things” and “Coltrane’s Sound” that included the unique and beautiful John’s ballad, “Central Park West”. Wojtasik and his partners give it a very subtle and ingenious treatment. The main theme is harmonized and there are exquisite polyphonic overlapping at the end of each solo improvisations-the recurring theme which at last grows to end the piece. The third composition by Wojtasik, “Celebration”, runs in 5/4 time, sporadically colored by the sound of a conch. The ostinato groove, enhanced by subdued drums, is subjected to kind of transformation and embellished by trumpet and soprano improvisation. One may imagine the celebration sounds coming from a distant African village. The arranged and “free” sections of this piece equally contribute to the peculiar mood. The last item on this CD comes from Billy Harper, an emotional and inventive tenor-man. Wojtasik and Harper used to play together recently and both men developed a real musical affinity documented by recording the “Quest” in 1996. Harper’s “Illumination” starts here with flourish-like phrases. One is sure to enjoy two sizeable tenor solos, the first by Sikała, the second by Szukalski, as well as the brilliant trumpet improvisation by the leader-all these punctuated by introductory theme’s phrase. The music sparkles and shimmers with varying instrumental colors. 


Track listing: 1. Escape 2. Horizon 3. Central Park West 4. Celebration 5. Illumination


Maestro Trytony - Heart Of Gold (2004)

Maestro Trytony (band)

Tomasz Gwinciński - guitar, electronics
Tomasz Pawlicki - flute, keyboards, spinet, piano prepared
Patryk Węcławek - bass
Rafał Gorzycki - drums
Małgorzata Skotnicka - spinet
Jacek Majewski - percussion
Łukasz Gorewicz - violin
Martin Franken - gamelan

Heart Of Gold (2004)

Maestro Trytony are a Polish band led by Tomasz Gwicinski (guitar) and Tomasz Pawlicki (flute, keyboards). The musicians grew up on mainstream rock music, but were subsequently exposed to the world of 20th century’s classic and jazz. Indeed, the guitarist was considered one of the purveyors of the very local, neo-jazz phenomenon labeled as “yass” in the 1990s. 

Initially, the band appeared stylistically hesitant and some clumsiness accompanied their forays into over-generous orchestrations. The initial ideas were highly engaging, but their eventual development suffered in longer compositions. Fortunately, in their most recent incarnation they seem to have developed timbral sagacity, generating an undogmatic yet coherent idiom. Where else could you find seeping interplay of baroque spinet, celestial flute and sharply edged jazz guitar? On this hitherto unclaimed territory Maestro Trytony offer a refreshing dose of stylistic fence-sitting.

Full review available here: http://sonicasymmetry.wordpress.com/2008/07/14/maestro-trytony-heart-of-gold/



Track listing: 1. O.R.G. 2. Van Worden In Serra Morena 3. Jocasta 4. Snowboarding Alchemyst 5. Heart Of Gold 6. Tax Collector 7. Magic Tiara Part 1 8. Magic Tiara Part 2 [Cherub. Wand.] 9. Nanotechnology 10. Epilogue 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Piotr Wojtasik - Quest (PowerBros, 2003)

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet, flugelhorn


Billy Harper - tenor sax
Leszek Mozdzer - piano
Buster Williams - bass
Ben Riley - drums 

Quest (PowerBros, 2003)

One of the recently formed international jazz groups is present one, combining three eminent, universally known Americans with the two Polish young lions of jazz. The amazing thing is these five excellent jazzmen merge into a wonderful unity. The music on this CD is simply wonderful. It's like a five-act drama in the best Shakespearean style. Each of the five pieces / the first by Wojtasik, the rest by Harper / has its own dramaturgy, burning with emotional content, but also shining with formal beauty and clarity. Each piece was allotted some ingenious unifying device, be it bass ostinato figures or a riff or a recurrent motif that joins, divide sand interacts with the improvised soli. This music is full of strength, serious, bristling with invention and meaning, telling the stories. There is one reflective ballad just before the last number, Harper plays this tender confession himself preceded by the exquisitely subtle piano introduction. The last piece - Quest, is simply astounding. No wonder it gave the title to the whole CD. The impression is, this is something more then a quest; it's more like a mission, a dangerousone. The military apprehensive sounds of ensemble sections and the ingenious soli are to stick long in our imagination, our feelings and memory. Amazing Music! 


Track listing: 1. Almost touching it (Piotr Wojtasik); 2. I do believe (Billy Harper); 3. Soran Buschi B.H. (Billy Harper); 4. If one could only see (Billy Harper); 5. Quest (Billy Harper)


Olo Walicki, Gaba Kulka, Maciek Szupica - The Saintbox (2012)

Olo Walicki - bass

Gaba Kulka - vocal

Maciek Szupica - visuals

The Saintbox (2012)




The Saintbox sprung to life in 2010, when Olo Walicki, composer and double bass player, invited Maciek Szupica (visuals), an Gaba Kulka (voice, lyrics, several small instruments) to cooperate on the project: holding on to a loose outline of themes such as spirituality and ritual, they created new material, and premiered it during the Jazz Jantar Festival in Gdansk (November 2010). The Saintbox was born as a multimedia spectacle in which the visual is as vital as the sound. The debut was very well received: “The Saintbox is groundbreaking and surprising. From the beginning it was obvious the concert will be nothing like the rest of them.” “Submerged in folk, and improvised music on equal part, Olo Walicki’s pieces sound every bit as mysterious and intricate, as their sacral inspiration would suggest. When combined with Szupica’s pictures, they create a true musical ritual.“

Inspite of Olo’s yass background, the feel and structure of Saintbox’s music is rather like an eerie, dearmlike movie soundtrack. It points to classical music, experiments in electric jazz of the seventies, rock and folk (with echoes of Peter Gabriel, Led Zeppelin and Sufjan Stevens). At times it’s dark and unsettling, often lyrical, sometimes humorous. The lyrics (in English, French, German and latin) written or interpreted by Gaba add a curious Babel tower in the midst of the music.

Aside from the live performances (including those at Leszek Mozdzer’s Enter Festical in June 2011, and the Zubroffka short film festival in Bialystok) – the band has devoted most of the past year to recording the album – with guests including Macio Moretti, and the Gdansk Philharmonic Brass. The album has been produced and mixed by Marcin Bors, who has, among other works, produced Gaba’s “Hat, Rabbit” album.



Track listing: 1. Fiolet 2. Comfort Credit Image 3. Somnia 4. Desantisbox 5. L'hiver 6. Hope 7. Eulalia 8. Luna 9. Third Coming


Monday, May 28, 2012

Piotr Wojtasik - Colors (2005)

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet

Francois Theberge - c melody saxophone, soprano saxophone
Nicolas Simion - bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, taragot
Michel Donato - double bass
John Betsch - drums

Colors (2005)


Very much like his previous recordings described on this blog ("Lonely Town" and "Hope") "Colors" may be best described as post bop. Rooted deeply in tradition of music created 50 or 60 years ago, conservative for many (me among them) but technically played on the highest level. A bit emotionless for my taste. A bit too predictable. But I cannot deny that there are great skills behind it. Not surprisingly as trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik is a virtuoso and teaches trumpet at Wrocław Music Academy. As for his partners in this project there are not from first ranks but are picked very carefully. 

Francois Theberge is French saxphonist who loves (imitates perfecly?) old jazz in presnt times. His album recorded with Lee Konitz being hommage to this great musician is highlight of his carreer. Bassist Micheal Donato was partner of Theberge on couple of projects but mostly works on local Candadian scene. Occasionally he collaborated with some significant musician from the neighbouring United States as in years 1972-3 when he was member of Oscar Paterson Trio. Reedist Nicolas Simion comes from Romania and is one of the most important figure in improvised music in his country (as Wojtasik in Poland) though almost completely unknown abroad. Finally, American drummer John Betsch, honestly otherwise unknown to me, in his bio he boasts collaborations with Dewey Redman, Marylin Crispel or Steve Lacy. Sounds good and I wish I knew better this albums to be able to say more about him.


Summarizing, these guys know really well how to place notes in time. If lacking somehow in freedom, openness and spontaneity (though occasionally present) this recording componsates it in beauty of carefully chiselled sound.



Track listing: 1. Up's And ; 2. Journey to Kafarnahum; 2. Time of Life on the Earth; 3. Yosakoy Love Song; 4. Tambour Minor; 5. Sweets

By Maciej Nowotny

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New project featuring Tomek Choloniewski to listen for FREE!!!


Uncharted Territory - Somewhere Along The Line (Discordian Records, 2012)

Paulina Owczarek - Baritone Sax
Wiktor Krzak - Bassoon
Tomek Choloniewski - Percussion


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Piotr Baron - Take One (Polonia Records, 1995)

Piotr Baron - soprano and tenor taxophone

Darek Oleszkiewicz - double bass
Jacek Olter - drums

Take One (1995)



Stellar line-up and music as always with Piotr Baron difficult to classify. Certainly mainstream but with some occasional unexpected twists towards more free and open language. The beauty of sound on this recording is breathtaking. Baron improvisations on saxophone are emotional, Oleszkiewicz bass line juicy, Olter drumming timely yet never too obvious. All in all this one surely deserves to be rehearsed from time to time and not cast into oblivion...


Track listing: 1. Kruchy most; 2. Złota rybka; 3. W ciemność;  4. Baronstone; 5. Nie przerywać dożynek; 6. Jeszcze jeden mazur dzisiaj; 7. Ja ci powiadałam Janielo; 8. Czerwone jabłuszko; 9. Moo Man

By Maciej Nowotny

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Project featuring Wojtek Jachna available to listen for FREE!!!!


This record is an effect of a three-day improvisational session in Mozg club in Bydgoszcz in August 2011. It was recorded by: Radek Dziubek, Rafał Iwański, Wojtek Jachna, Rafał Kołacki, Artur Maćkowiak, Tomek Popowski, Kuba Ziołek. The material was recorded by Jarek Hejmann of Madżonga Studio, and mixed by Jarek and Kuba Ziołek. The album is released by Milieu L'Acéphale. At the same time it is a preview of an LP that is to be released in the fall of 2012. Cover photo made by Danuta Kiewłen.



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Piotr Baron - Reference (2004)

Piotr Baron - soprano & tenor saxophones

Eddie Henderson - trumpet & fluegelhorn
John Hicks - piano
Darek Oleszkiewicz - double bass
Victor Lewis - drums

Reference (2004)

Saxophonist Piotr Baron is among those musicians in Poland that ALWAYS treat jazz seriously. Like Tomasz Stańko, Zbigniew Namysłowski or, from younger generation, Marcin Wasilewski he never fails in any recording, a mark of musicians of the highest caliber. To realize this project Baron travelled to New York and employed first rank players: Eddie Henderson on trumpet, John Hicks on piano, Victor Lewis on drums and Polish expat living in the U.S. Darek Oleszkiewicz on double bass. They created perfect background for the leader's raging horn. 

As for music it is kind of hommage to bop, not surprisingly taking into account place of recording. For those not acquainted with jazz terminology, bop is style in jazz characterized by strong groove and blues components often featuring saxophone and piano, occasionally trumpet. There is everything listed above on present in this recording plus great tunes and first of all great enthusiasm of all musicians adding to this music invaluable freshness. The highlight of this disc is marvellous interpretation of Polish pop song "Moja i Twoja nadzieja" which in hands of these gifted musicians gain weight of such great jazz standards of pop origin like "Someday My Price Will Come" or "Time After Time". Very enjoyable CD indeed!



Track listing: 1.Reference [07:50]; 2.Moja i twoja nadzieja [15:17]; 3. Blue Butterfly [09:12]; 4. Dense Dance [10:45]; 5. Amen [08:28]

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

Sobura - Organic Lo-Fi (U Know Me Records; 2012)

Sobura (drums, electronics)

Organic Lo-Fi (U Know Me Records; 2012)








Jazztronica is always a hard sub genre for my friends to grasp. It's one of the natural extensions for the newer generation of musicians. Moving technology into the schematics of jazz to create new sounds and thoughts is just part of musical evolution.

That concept has been present in European jazz for the last two decades and one of the newest talents to utilize these themes is Wojtek Sobura. 

On the Polish drummers debut, Organic Lo-Fi, he fills the speakers with pulsating trip hop beats, ethereal electronics and rolling drum patterns that create a surrealistic and infectious world view.

"Blue Rooms" starts off in a romantic rhythm that almost reminded me of Martin Denny before slipping into more slow funky drummer beat pattern. There are recurring looped piano notes and electronic tones that add an ambient quality to the piece that will bolster your mood and hold your attention.

"Psycho" feels like your head has been shoved into a toilet during a pub fight. Bubbling repetitive beats that still present a sense of experimentation and excitement that you just don't get on the American shores. "Turkey" has this scary cinematic sci-fi vibe that got me thinking about Japanese monster movies (I've also been watching a lot of Japanese monster movies lately. So go figure...). The electronic manipulation Sobura demonstrates here is probably the most adventurous on the album. It's loud, chaotic and dominating. Big beats like a Roots Manuva instrumental track. "Turkey" is arguably my favourite track on the album right now.

"Bells" closes out this groovy little adventure. No letting up here by Sobura. It's a heavy tone that features some nice effects and drum loops. Short (just under 3 minutes), but it leaves the lasting impression that Organic Lo-Fi is a rich and well balance affair.

Wojtek Sobura has a very specific way of playing that maintains focus and becomes enveloping. It is the compositions that he has written that really are the driving force on Organic Lo-Fi. They are captivating and indicative of an artist wanting to explore new sounds and directions. A very impressive debut that is worth seeking out.

Wojtek Mazolewski – Wojtek W Czechoslowacji (2011)

Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet (band)

Joanna Duda – keyboard
Marek Pospieszalski – saxophone
Michał Bryndal – drums
Oscar Torok – trumpet
Wojtek Mazolewski – double bass

Wojtek w Czechosłowacji (2011)

This is the 2nd album by the Polish Jazz quintet led by bassist / composer Wojtek Mazolewski, who is a well known figure on the local scene way beyond the Jazz circles, mostly as a member of several Rock groups and later a founding member of the top Polish group Pink Freud. The quintet includes Slovak trumpeter Oscar Torok, saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski, pianist Joanna Duda and drummer Michal Bryndal, all excellent and very sensitive players. The music was mostly composed or co-composed by Mazolewski, with four tracks credited to the entire ensemble and one track composed by the pianist. One additional track was contributed by Polish DJ Maceo Wyro, who participates in the recording with his electronic effects and another one is by famous Jamaican reggae artist Max Romeo. 

In contrast to the quintet’s previous album (“Smells Like Tape Spirit”) this one is quite confusing. The confusion starts right with the album’s title (the Czechoslovak connection being a mystery) and continues throughout the album’s content, which includes several re-makes of compositions already present on the last album and new compositions, which are stylistically quite remote from earlier material. Of course the album has its moments and such high-class musicians can definitely play well, but the overall disorder, lack of direction or aesthetic unity makes it more difficult to enjoy. Of course it’s entirely possible that Mazolewski knows exactly what he’s doing and it’s only me missing the point? Investigate at your own risk!



Author: Adam Baruch
http://www.adambaruch.com/


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Olbrzym i Kurdupel - Six Philosophical Games (Electric Eye, 2012) by Maciej Nowotny

Olbrzym i Kurdupel (duo)

Marcin Bożek - bass guitar
Tomek Gadecki - tenor saxophone

Six Philosophical Games (Electric Eye, 2012)



This is second album by duo of Marcin Bożek (bass guitar) and Tomek Gadecki (saxophonist) after very interesting EP titled "frrrrrr" (2009). Most of what I wrote about their previous recording applies as well to this disc. It is typical avant jazz duo that is as stark, rough and coarse as authentic, spontaneous and creative. Honestly I love this kind of jazz more and more with years passing. There is no fad  in it, no artificiality or false affectation. Just raw sounds flowing from souls touched by music. It makes my soul and heart resonating. Will it make you feel the same? It is definitely worth checking out...



Game 1 play with us a drummer; Game 2 get into a hot bath and listen with your ...; Game 3 sit comfortably in a cosy armchair, let ...; Game 4 listen to the whole part after a long run; Game 5 listen with someone You know well; Game 6 let's dance solo or in pairs

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

Jarek Smietana - A Story Of Polish Jazz (2004)

Jarek Śmietana - guitars


Piotr Wyleżoł - Fender piano
Steve Logan - bass
Adam Czerwinski - drums

Soloists (track 1):
Jerzy „Duduś” Matuszkiewicz - alto saxophone
Wojciech Karolak - Hammond B3 organs
Henryk Majewski - trumpet
Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski - tenor saxophone
Zbigniew Namysłowski- alto saxophone
Tomasz Stańko - trumpet
Michał Urbaniak - violin
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor saxophone
Janusz Muniak - tenor saxophone
Henryk Miśkiewicz - alto saxophone
Krzesimir Dębski - violin
with:
Bzyk - rap
Guzik - rap
D.J. Gypsyman - scratch

Bennie Maupin - tenor saxophone (tracks 3, 4)

Story Of Polish Jazz (2004)

One of the most succesful releases of legendary fusion guitarist Jarek Śmietana became famous for his collaboration with rapers with whom he recorded a tune summarizing in short entire history of Polish jazz. Outstanding (if only available to Polish speakers unfortunately)! 



Track listing: A Story Of Polish Jazz; My Love And Inspiration; Solczak; Music For Summer Afternoon; Strange Funky Fruit; I Want You; Miles; Within You Without You; Let's Rock; bonus track: A Story Of Polish Jazz (English Version)

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

Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet – Smells Like Tape Spirit (2011)

Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet

Oscar Torok – trumpet
Marek Pospieszalski - sax
Joanna Duda - piano
Michal Bryndal - drums
Wojtek Mazolewski - bass

Smells Like Tape Spirit (2011)


This is the debut album by a Polish Jazz quintet led by bassist / composer Wojtek Mazolewski, who is a well known figure on the local scene way beyond the Jazz circles, mostly as a member of several Rock groups and later a founding member of the top Polish group Pink Freud. Obviously, this album presents an attempt to create a “serious” Jazz album in the splendid tradition of the Polish Jazz heritage, which in fact is by and large quite successful. Carefully composed, arranged and beautifully played, the album is mostly melancholic and lyrical, very melodic and full of internal tension, which is extremely effective. The quintet includes Slovak trumpeter Oscar Torok, saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski, pianist Joanna Duda and drummer Michal Bryndal, all excellent and very sensitive players. 

The music was mostly composed or co-composed by Mazolewski, with one track credited to the entire ensemble and two tracks composed by the pianist. In his liner-notes Mazolewski makes clear how he longed to return to the double bass and play Jazz again (he mostly plays electric bass) and explains how this music was influenced by the arrival of his first-born son. He also credits his partners in the quintet for contributing to the final result, and so he should, as it definitely is a group effort. Overall it is a beautiful album, which gives the listener a truly satisfactory listening experience, at least until the last (bonus?) track of the album, which states the obvious: “White men can’t jump and they can’t play reggae either”. Highly recommended!



Track listing: 
1. Newcomer
2. Planeta guzików
3. Kaczeńce
4. Populacja sikorek
5. Smells Like Tape Spirit
6. Pożycz stówę
7. Księżniczka nr 9 i 10
8. Oberek
9. Jedynak

Author: Adam Baruch
http://www.adambaruch.com/

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hera - Where My Complete Beloved Is (Multikulti, 2011)

Hera (band)

Wacław Zimpel - clarinet, bass clarinet
Paweł Postaremczak - soprano and tenor saxophones
Ksawery Wójciński - double bass
Paweł Szpura - drums

Where My Complete Beloved Is (Multikulti, 2011)

This is the second album by Polish avant-garde ensemble Hera, led by multi-instrumentalist / composer Waclaw Zimpel, one of the most important representatives of the European Improvised Music scene in the last decade. The album comprises of four extended pieces (three of which have a duration of about 20 minutes), as appropriate for this kind of music, where space and freedom are of the essence, which were recorded live. The first piece was composed by Zimpel, the following two are credited as group compositions and the last is a Russian folk song. Zimpel plays bass clarinet and harmonium and the ensemble includes also saxophonist Pawel Postaremczak, bassist Ksawery Wojcinski and drummer Pawel Szpura. Guest musicians include Sara Kaluzna, who plays tampura on one track and Maniucha Bikont, who sings the vocals and plays harmonium on the last track. 

The music of Hera completely escapes any attempt of classification and is so incredibly rich and amalgamated that expanding on the subject would be pretty futile. After all music is intended to be listened to, not written about, and great music has a tendency to slip through words trying to encapsulate it. There is no doubt that the atmosphere and modus operandi of the ensemble is influenced by Indian and other Far East Cultures, where extended improvisation and contemplative treatment of musical pieces is a way of life, with time playing little or no role at all. The music starts and continues and comes to an end when it naturally concludes its intrinsic message. 

Naming the pieces after titles of poems written by the Indian mystic poet Kabir are ample evidence as to the intended aesthetic prevailing herein. The meditative / contemplative nature of the music does not mean it lacks excitement, quite on the contrary, it is full of passionate improvisations, which appear on a separate plane, as if floating above the firm recurring basis, complementing the overall result. This is truly a music of the "higher spheres", which requires total attention and acquiescence from the listener joining the musicians in the process of aural communication. Absolutely brilliant stuff wholeheartedly recommended to bold souls with refined taste!


Track list: 1. Wacław Zimpel - In That Place There Is No Happiness Or Unhappines; 2. Hera - No Truth Or Untruth; 3. Hera - Neither Sin Or Virtue; 4. There Is No Day Or Night, No Moon Or Sun (Traditional)

By Adam Baruch
http://www.adambaruch.com/

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski – Sprzedawcy Glonow (Polish Jazz Vol.90 Deluxe, 1973)

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski - tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4, 6), conductor

Studio Jazzowe P.R. - directed by Jan 'Ptaszyn' Wróblewski
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet (1, 3-6)
Michał Urbaniak - violin (1), soprano sax (2)
Zbigniew Namysłowski - alto sax, flute (1-6)
Tomasz Stańko - trumpet (2, 3, 4, 6)
Adam Makowicz - Fender electric piano (4)
Marek Bliziński - guitar (1, 4, 5)
Wojciech Karolak - Hammond organ (1, 5)
Włodzimierz Nahorny - alto sax, flute (1-6)
Zbigniew Seifert - alto sax (2,3), violin (6)
Stanisław Mizeracki - trumpet (1,2,3,4,6);
Bogdan Dembek - trumpet (1,3,4,5,6)
Bogusław Skawina - trumpet (2)
Laco Deczi - trumpet (5)
Józef Grabarski - trumpet (1)
Stanisław Cieślak - trombone (1-6)
Andrzej Brzeski - trombone (1,2,3,4,6)
Andrzej Piela - trombone (2,3,5,6)
Jan Jarczyk - trombone (1,4,5)
Dariusz Filiochowski - French horn (1,3,5,6)
Dariusz Szewczyk - French horn (4)
Zdzisław Piernik - tuba (2,3,5,6)
Janusz Muniak - tenor sax, soprano sax, flute (2,3,5,6)
Waldemar Kurpiński - baritone sax, clarinet (1,3,4,5,6)
Andrzej Trzaskowski - piano ( 6)
Paweł Jarzębski - bass (1,2,4,5)
Bronisław Suchanek - bass (3,5,6)
Janusz Stefański - drums (2,3,5,6)
Czesław Bartkowski - drums (1,4), percussion (5)
Kazimierz Jonkisz - percussion (1,3,4,5,6)

Sprzedawcy Glonow (Polish Jazz Vol.90 Deluxe, 1973)

This relatively little known brilliant album presents Polish Jazz saxophonist / composer / arranger / bandleader Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski mainly in the capacity as the director of the Polish Radio Jazz Orchestra, a superb collection of top musicians, which functioned as a catalyst and incubator to generations of Polish Jazz musicians as well as a first rate workshop and recording platform. Wroblewski, one of Polish Jazz veterans and Godfathers, led the orchestra for many years with great success and these recordings prove how great it really was. He also composed three of the six extended compositions included here with the other three composed by Tomasz Stanko, Zbigniew Namyslowski and Andrzej Trzaskowski each contributing one composition. The arrangements are absolutely brilliant as are the performances, with the orchestra fronted as such first rate soloists like Stanko, Namyslowski, Michal Urbaniak (playing sax on one track and violin on another), Tomasz Szukalski, Adam Makowicz, Marek Blizinski, Wojciech Karolak, Zbigniew Seifert and of course Wroblewski himself, in short the crème de la crème of the Polish Jazz scene at the time. The music is very modern and even borders on Free at times, presenting very rare examples of Jazz orchestra accompanying a freely improvising soloist. This album is an absolute must to all Polish Jazz lovers and in retrospect is of the best Polish Jazz albums ever recorded. Grab it!



Track ,listing: 1. Sprzedaż glon [06:18] 2. Bez wyciszenia (Namysłowski) [06:04] 3. Cytat z samego siebie (Stańko) [09:09] 4. Wyznacznik pierwszy ('Ptaszyn' Wróblewski) [09:50] 5. Jan Szpargatoł Mahawiśnia ('Ptaszyn' Wróblewski) [06:26] 6. Magma (Trzaskowski) [05:18] 

By Adam Baruch
http://www.adambaruch.com/

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ewa Bem – Loves The Beatles (Polish Jazz Vol.84 Deluxe, 1984)

Ewa Bem - vocals, background vocals (1, 2, 6-8, 10-12 ), percussion (50)

Marek Stefankiewicz - Fender Rhodes, acoustic piano (1, 9)
Winicjusz Chróst - guitars (1, 2, 6-7, 9, 11), drums programming (2, 6-7)
Arkadiusz Żak - bass guitar (1, 9)
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor sax (1, 6, 9-10, 12)
Wojciech Karolak - Fender Rhodes (2), acoustic piano (2, 6), synthesizers (4, 6, 7)
Wojciech Kowalewski - percussion (2-6, 8, 10-12) drums (3-5, 7-8, 10-12)
Jerzy Kaczmarek - Fender Rhodes (3-5, 8, 10-12), synthesizers (3-5, 8, 10-12), acoustic piano (11)
Romuald Frey - guitar (3-5, 8, 10-12)
Mieczysław Jurecki - bass guitar (3-5, 8, 10-12)
Henryk Majewski - trumpet (3-6, 8, 10)
Stanisław Mizeracki - trumpet (3-5, 8, 10)
Dariusz Macioch - trombone (3-5, 8, 10)
Roman Syrek - trombone (3-5, 8, 10)
Andrzej Jagodziński - French Horn (9)

Loves The Beatles (Polish Jazz Vol.84 Deluxe, 1984)

This is quite an unusual album on which Polish Jazz singer Ewa Bem undertakes the difficult task of interpreting twelve songs by the Beatles, a concept which usually very quickly turns into a disaster. However, this time the result is quite surprising, with the original songs being arranged often very faraway from their original form, rhythm and atmosphere, which is actually quite interesting and certainly shows a lot of potential. Bem’s vocal qualities are beyond reproach and she is supported by an excellent team of the best Polish players, like saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski, trumpeter Henryk Majewski and many others, which contributes significantly to the overall result. In retrospect the use of synthesizers, which is the dreaded trademark of the 1980s, sounds pretty dated today, but that unfortunately can’t be helped. It is certainly interesting to revisit this album to get a fresh perspective as to what can be done with Pop material in the Jazz sphere. Worth investigating!

Track listing: 1. I Will [04:31]; 2. Here, There And Everywhere [03:57]; 3. Get Back [01:56]; 4. A Hard Day's Night [03:14]; 5. Something [03:16]; 6. You're Going To Lose That Girl [03:41]; 7. Drive My Car
[03:31]; 8. The Fool On The Hill [03:03]; 9. I'll Follow The Sun [03:50]; 10. Blackbird [03:40]; 11. Here Comes The Sun [02:37]; 12. Strawberry Fields Forever [04:13]

By Maciej Nowotny

Monday, May 14, 2012

Jaroslaw Smietana – Talking Guitar (Polish Jazz Vol.93 Deluxe, 1984)

Jarosław Śmietana - Electric Guitar

Henryk Miśkiewicz - Alto Saxophone
Zbigniew Jaremko - Tenor Saxophone
Henryk Majewski - Trumpet
Robert Majewski - Trumpet
Roman Syrek - Trombone
Jan Baytel - Flute
Wojciech Groborz - Fender Piano, Synthesizer
Antoni Dębski - Bass Guitar
Jacek Pelc - Drums, Percussion
Jerzy Bartz - Conga, Percussion 

Talking Guitar (Polish Jazz Vol.93 Deluxe, 1984)  

This is an excellent debut album as a leader by Polish guitarist / composer Jaroslaw Smietana, presenting a set of ten original compositions performed by a superb team of musicians, including his ex-cohorts from the Extra Ball ensemble. The list of names reads like a who’s who of the local scene at the time and includes keyboardist Wojciech Groborz, bassist Antoni Debski, drummer Jacek Pelc, percussionist Jerzy Bartz, saxophonists Henryk Miskiewicz and Zbigniew Jaremko, trumpeters Henryk Majewski and Robert Majewski (father and son), trombonist Roman Syrek and flautist Jan Baytel. The music is all Fusion oriented, with great melody lines. Smietana plays some excellent solos and is well supported by his partners. Overall this is mainstream Fusion, which ruled in the 1980s, so one must not expect complexity and innovation in what is supposed to be “good time” music, which it certainly is. The level of professionalism and talent expected from Polish Jazz are certainly there. Recommended to Fusion fans!



Track listing: 1. Bieganie po Manhattanie 2. Alisia 3. Tabasco Song 4. Podróżując we śnie 5. Trzech panów w łódce 6. Samba Carrera 7. Papierek lakmusowy 8. Od siedmiu wzwyż 9. Polowanie na robaczka 10. Samochody w pokrowcach

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Muzykoterapia - Piosenki Izy (2011)

Muzykoterapia (band)

Iza Kowalewska - vocal
Kuba Galiński - keyboards
Wojtek Sobura - drums
Dominik Trębski - trumpet
Marcin Gańko - saxophones, flute
Wojtek Traczyk - bass
Jurek Zagórski - guitar

Piosenki Izy (2011)

I reached for this CD because it features some of the most talented young musicians (Wojtek Sobura, Wojtek Traczyk, Marcin Gańko) creating new improvised music in Poland. But let me start with vocalist Iza Kowalewska which is a pivotal figure in this band called Muzykoterapia. She does not have a big voice but she has a personality. Therefore music is diversified, coherent, mature. Although it is clearly pop and have very little in common with jazz yet it is ambitious enough to be listened even by someone who has alergy on typical pop pulp. On the other hand it lacks depth, intensity, spirituality of best jazz music. Except those few moments when aforementioned young lions take over like in track 11 "Kalimba": fully instrumental tune where they cut through African inspired moods in a manner of best acid or new jazz recordings. It is a pity that such an awesome potential was used so rarely on this generally not so bad album...



Track listing: 1 Intro 0:56; 2 Wiatr 3:54; 3 Komedia 4:24; 4 Dym 2:48; 5 Okulary 4:48; 6 Nie Bądź Zły 2:49; 7 Stacja Benzynowa 3:57; 8 Eyala 3:50; 9 Na Wspak 3:45; 10 Ocieplenie 3:09; 11 Kalimby 3:26; 12 Time To Die 4:05; 13 Outro 3:24; 14 Na Wspak (Envee) 

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

Karolak / Szukalski / Bartkowski – Time Killers (Polish Jazz Vol.89 Deluxe, 1985)

Karolak / Szukalski / Bartkowski

Wojciech Karolak - organ, synthesizer
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor & baritone saxophones (6)
Czesław "Mały" Bartkowski - drums

Time Killers (Polish Jazz Vol.89 Deluxe, 1985)

This is the only album by Polish Jazz supergroup Karolak / Szukalski / Bartkowski, which united three veterans of the local scene: keyboardist / composer Wojciech Karolak, who wrote and arranged all the music included on this album, saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski and drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski. The album has a very unique sound due to the unusual instrumentation, as well as a superb groove, which is usually associated with American recordings. Karolak performs the difficult task of both soloing and accompanying his partners, using the organ bass pedals to supply the bass parts. Szukalski again proves his excellent taste and technical abilities, especially on the track where he plays the baritone sax. Bartkowski is stable like a rock and drives the music forward constantly, with his usual virtuosity. This music sounds remarkably fresh almost thirty years after it was recorded, and it's probably only a matter of time before some DJ lays his hands on this stuff and makes people dance to it. Highly recommended!



Track listing: 1. Anniversary Blue; 2. Double - B; 3. Gem; 4. State Train;  5. Trata-Tata; 6. Pass into; 7. Silence; 8. Time Killers

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Andrzej Olejniczak & Inaki Salvator Quartet - Catch (1994)

Andrzej Olejniczak & Inaki Salvator Quartet 

Andrzej Olejniczak - saxophone
Iñaki Salvador - piano
Jordi Gaspar - double bass
David Xirgu - drums

Catch (1994)



I recently got few albums of Andrzej Olejniczak released after he emmigrated to Spain and I am more and more convinced that Polish scene suffered great loss with his departure. Since these discs are simply excellent! As only consolation it comes that Olejniczak eventually was also appreciated in new country of his residence as this album became according to local critics "Best Jazz Album" in Spain in 1994. Remarkable achievement if somewhat bitter from Polish point of view...

"Catch" was recorded with pianist Inaki Salvador, champion of Basque jazz scene but elsewhere no name like other muscians appearing on this CD that is Jordi Gaspar on double bass and David Xirgu on drums. Certainly they provide decent background but without Olejniczak blasting horn it would be yet another disc among thousands of mainstream records. With him however it is something more than that: it is personal journey to musical world of very talented artist who with his instrument have something to say about basic human emotions, enlivens them and transcends allowing full musicial catharsis. Wholeheartedly recommended!



Track listing:
1. De vispera (8'50)..........................Iñaki Salvador
2. 33 (8'32).....................................Andrzej Olejniczak
3. Mind (7'30)..................................Iñaki Salvador
4. La ultima oportunidad (7'04)..........Andrzej Olejniczak
5. En marzo (8'41)...........................Iñaki Salvador
6. Radkowi (8'50).............................Andrzej Olejniczak
7. Cedar's blues (8'11).....................Cedar Walton

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

Tomasz Stanko – Twet (Polish Jazz Vol.39, 1974)

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet

Tomasz Szukalski - tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarine
Peter Warren - bass
Edward Vesala - drums

Twet (Polish Jazz Vol.39, 1974)



This monumental album by Polish Jazz trumpeter / composer Tomasz Stanko in one of the most important releases on the legendary Polish Jazz series, which means it's a truly stellar performance. It captures perfectly the soul of Stanko's 1970s Free Jazz period, which culminated just a year later with the recording of the legendary "Balladyna" album for ECM, in almost identical lineup. 

Similarly to his Mentor, Krzysztof Komeda, Stanko always tried to work with musicians from other countries, even when the bureaucracy of the Socialist regime made it quite difficult. Like Komeda before him, he worked with musicians from the neighbor Scandinavian countries, finding a close friend and partner in the free-spirited Finnish legendary drummer Edward Vesala. Young Polish saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski was given the position previously held by such giant musicians as Zbigniew Namyslowski and Michal Urbaniak, which testifies to Stanko's high confidence in him. The quartet was completed by the great American bassist Peter Warren, who lived at the time in Europe and participated actively in the incredible European Jazz scene of that period. 

The album includes five pieces, credited to all four musicians and obviously largely improvised, with some limited preconceived melody lines barely audible under the surface. The unedited, "live in the studio" recording perfectly reflects the atmosphere of the session, with Free blowing and intense interplays, enthusiastically encouraged by Vesala's howls and cries in the background. This is definitely a magic moment, captured for posterity on this recording, which has very few parallels, and therefore is so incredibly important. Stanko's fans will of course find plenty of his superb trumpet performances here, which are second to none. Any European Jazz connoisseur, Polish Jazz enthusiast or Stanko aficionado must absolutely have this album!



Track listing:
1. Dark Awakening (Stańko/Vesala/Warren/Szukalski) [12:32]
2. Twet (Stańko/Vesala/Warren/Szukalski) [07:08]
3. Mintuu Maria (Stańko/Vesala/Warren/Szukalski) [05:17]
4. Men Of The North (Stańko/Vesala/Warren/Szukalski) [10:23]
5. Night Peace (Stańko/Vesala/Warren/Szukalski) [04:12]

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Friday, May 11, 2012

Vistula River Brass Band – Entertainer (Polish Jazz Vol.51, 1978)



Vistula River Brass Band

Stefan Wozniakowski - tp
Bohdan Styczynski - co
Edward Strak - cl, ts
Lech Szprot -cl,as
Marek Wachowiak - tb
Wojciech Ciarkowski - tb
Waldemar Wolski - tb
Jerzy Zebrowski - p
Andrzej Jarzebski -tu
Andrzej Uminski - bj
Jerzy Wieckowski - dr, leader

Entertainer (Polish Jazz Vol.51, 1978)

This album by veteran ensemble Vistula River Brass Band presents the versatility of the Polish Jazz scene, which at all times presented the entire scope of Jazz music, from Ragtime to Avant-Grade, all of them on a very high artistic level. The ensemble was formed in the late 1960s by drummer Jerzy Wieckowski, who remained the leader for many years. They were basically an amateur ensemble, as most of the nine members had regular jobs, but they played like pros, winning many traditional Jazz competitions and recording two albums for the Polish Jazz series, of which this is the first. Stylistically they remained close to the very early days of Jazz, playing mostly music associated with New Orleans and Chicago in early 20th Century. The material on this album comprises only of standards, except for the bonus track, which was composed by the pianist of the band Jerzy Zebrowski. The level of performance is absolutely excellent all the way through and every Jazz fan should be able to enjoy this music for what it stands for: quality and fun! Recommended!



Track listing: 
1. The Entertainer (S. Joplin)
2. Panama Rag (W. Tyers)
3. Over The Waves (trad.)
4. Cleole Love Call (Ellington)
5. Tiger Rag (N. La Rocca)
6. St. James Infimary (C. Williams)
7. Buddy's Habit (C. Williams)
8. Liza (R. McKenzie)
9. Wujek chrzestny (J. Żebrowski)

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Andrzej Olejniczak - Live at Altxerri (2004)

Andrzej Olejniczak Quaret

Andrzej Olejniczak - soprano & tenor saxophones

Ivan "Melon" Gonzalez Lewis - piano
Jules Bikoko - bass
Julian Vaughn - drums

Live at Altxerii (2004)

Once hero of Polish jazz, saxophonist Andrzej Olejniczak, vanished from my radar long ago after he had emmigrated to Spain. We remember him from playing in best Polish bands of era of fusion jazz namely Extra Ball and Sun Ship which he created with such strong musicians as pianist Władysław Sendecki, bassist Witold  Szczurek and drummer Marek Stach. Only recently I found him on come back release by String Connection ("2012") but I was not much impressed as this project turned out to be nothing more than sentimental journey to the past glory of this legendary band of 80ties. I wondered what is he doing now? I couldn't believe that musician of such a class abondon music at all. Fortunately few weeks ago I found in my local CD shops this release. By far no novelty but relatively fresh it attestes that Olejniczak did not lose anything at all from his exceptional versatility on saxophone. With utmost ease he cuts through some original and standard tunes inducing in listener whole range of emotions from sadness to enthusiasm and beyond. The explosive nature of this recording is secured by first class partners which surround him, all musicians completely uknwkn to me:  Ivan "Melon" Gonzalez Lewis on piano, Jules Bikoko on bass and Julian Vaughn on drums. It is however clear almost from very first notes that they are top class players and have this "black" spontaineity which makes music bouncing and dancing. Excellent stuff!



Track listing : 1. UMMG; 2. Cryin' Blues; 3. Call It A Dream; 4. Viuda Negra; 5. Zamora; 6. Night And Day

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

Wojciech Kaminski – Open Piano (Polish Jazz Vol.66, 1982)

Wojciech Kamiński - Piano

Zbigniew Jaremko - tenor saxophone
Henryk Majewski - trumpet
Janusz Zabiegliński - alto saxophone, clarinet
Władysław Halik - bass saxophone
Zbigniew Konopczyński - trombone
Marek Bliziński - guitar
Janusz Kozłowski - bass
Jarzy Bartz - drums 

Open Piano (Polish Jazz Vol.66, 1982)

This album by veteran pianist / composer Wojciech Kaminski presents the versatility of the Polish Jazz scene, which at all times presented the entire scope of Jazz music, from Ragtime to Avant-Grade, all of them on a very high artistic level. Kaminski was active on the local scene mainly in the traditional Jazz circles, co-founding such splendid ensembles as Ragtime Jazz Band and Old Timers. He felt most comfortable playing Jazz, which ranges from Ragtime, through Dixieland and into Swing and selected some of the absolutely best local players at the time to accompany him on this album: trumpeter Henryk Majewski, trombonist Zbigniew Konopczynski, saxophonists Zbigniew Jaremko, Janusz Zabieglinski and Wladyslaw Halik, guitarist Marek Blizinski, bassist Janusz Kozlowski and drummer Jerzy Bartz. Kaminski composed five of the ten compositions on this album (the remaining five include four standards and one composition by Zabieglinski). The level of performance is absolutely excellent all the way through and every Jazz fan should be able to enjoy this music for what it stands for: quality and fun! Recommended!




Track listing: 01. Codzienny Blues; 02. Deszczowy Maj; 03. The Wika Rag; 04. The Entertainer; 05. Wchodź po trzech; 06. Autumn Leaves; 07. Ruchome schody; 08. I Wish I Could Shimmy My Sister Kate;
09. Blues Dla Dziewczyny; 10. Jazz Me Blues

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Bone - Destined (2012) by Maciej Nowotny

New Bone (band)

Tomasz Kudyk – trumpet & flugelhorn
Marcin Ślusarczyk – alto saxophone
Paweł Kaczmarczyk – piano
Maciej Adamczak – bass
Dawid Fortuna – drums

special guests:
Jan Pilch – percussions
Tomasz Grzegorski – tenor saxophone

 Destined (2012)

This is third release by New Bone after debut "Something For Now" (2004) and "It's Not Easy" (2009). Ensemble is led by trumpeter Tomasz Kudyk who also penned all compositions. As on last recording he is accompanied by Marcin Ślusarczyk on alto saxophone, Paweł Kaczmarczyk on pianio and Maciej Adamczak on double bass. As for regular members of band veteran drummer Arek Skolik was replaced by young Dawid Fortuna who plays on regular basis in Paweł Kaczmarczyk trio who is most prominent musician of all of them with one album recorded already for ACT in 2009 ("Complexity In Simplicity"). Additionaly two guests are appearing that is Jan Pilch on percussion and Tomek Grzegorski on tenor saxophone.

Regardless all these changes in personnel music remains basically the same as on previous albums of this group. It may be described as classical jazz. Definitely not avangarde and not even mainstream as jazz as music is defined by searching for novelty and there is nothing new in this music. On the other hand it is so well played, with such a dedication and enthusiasm that one cannot deny it its value. Hommage to golden years of jazz as it was in 50ties or 60ties last century it shall appeal to all those that look at this form of jazz as final and impossible to be surpassed by any modern innovations. Seen from this very specific point of view it may even very well be one of best releases in Polish jazz in this year 2012...


Track listing: 1. We’ll see; 2. New Ballad for...; 3. Altanowa 18; 4. Like me; 5. At last free; 6. Destined...; 7. Straight and Swingly; 8. Oh! The end

By Maciej Nowotny



Krzysztof Komeda – Astigmatic (Polish Jazz Vol.05, 1965)

Krzysztof Komeda - piano

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet
Zbigniew Namysłowski - alto sax
Krzysztof Komeda - piano
Gunter Lenz - bass

 Astigmatic (Polish Jazz Vol.05, 1965)


This music, encapsulated for eternity in a piece of plastic, is one of the great milestones of human Culture, an ultra-rare eruption of human genius. Recorded by a quintet led by Polish pianist / composer Krzysztof Komeda, the legendary Godfather of Polish Jazz, this is definitely the most important piece of music recorded in Eastern Europe, which changed the face of Culture far beyond what most people realize. Universally accepted as a model and artistic / aesthetic climax by generations of Jazz musicians in Komeda's native Poland and far beyond the country borders, this modern Jazz recording influenced innumerable minds and prompted endless artistic processes. 

The album includes just three pieces of music: the title track; "Kattorna", which was a theme in the soundtrack of a movie by the Danish director Henning Carlsen; and "Svantetic", a tune dedicated to the Swedish poet Svante Forster, Komeda's friend. The quintet included trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, saxophonist Zbigniew Namyslowski, German bassist Gunter Lenz and Swedish drummer Rune Carlsson. Playing in every possible grouping, from solo to a full quintet, these brilliant and inspired musicians manage to achieve a whole, which is so much more than a sum of its parts. The result goes way beyond soloing, improvising, interplaying and exchanging ideas; it is a sort of group creation, which builds upon the basic structures, which are the mesmerizing Komeda's melodies and soaring infinitely towards a musical heaven. There is everything here: melody, harmony, freedom and structure, rhythm and space, all simultaneously represented without conflicting and fighting for supremacy. Such harmonious music-making is indeed very rare and therefore priceless. 

One might wonder how this wonderful music happened in Poland of all places. Well the reasons for this are numerous and complex, but of course genius knows no geographical limitations and catalyzed by the fertile intellectual background of the 1960s Poland, struggling with Socialist regime and longing for Freedom, Jazz became an escape route, which in this case found its true vocation. Of course the fact that Stanko and Namyslowski were (and thank God still are) exceptionally gifted musicians helped to materialize the potential of Komeda's music. One might as well look into Komeda's fascination (and adoration) of the music and life of John Coltrane, who served as a beacon and a model in the composer's path to inner enlightenment. And yet Komeda did not succumb to Coltrane's (or indeed the entire American Free Jazz movement) ideas blindly and unconditionally, as did many of his peers. He decided to incorporate the struggle for Freedom, which was a central scheme in Coltrane's philosophy (both musical and personal) with his deep European cultural roots and heritage, building his very personal bridge between Cultures. This is why his music works so well, regardless if it's a concert played in a Jazz club or a movie soundtrack. It is simply transcending stylistic or circumstantial limitations, as any higher level of Art is able to do. The fact that this music was created almost fifty years ago is a sad reminder of how little progress (if any) we managed to achieve since. In face of this fact we should cherish the great achievements of our Culture and keep them close to our hearts. This is definitely one of those great achievements, so let's treat it accordingly. Absolutely essential!



Track listing: 1. Astigmatic [22:50]; 2. Kattorna [7:20]; 3. Svantetic [15:50]

By Adam Baruch
www.adambaruch.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jerzy Milian Unrealesed Tapes Indiegogo Project


Jerzy Milian is a legendary figure in the history of Polish jazz. A lavish and versatile composer, Milian was one of the members of Krzysztof Komeda's renowned Sextet, praised by Down Beat both as a jazz vibraphonist (LP „Bazaar”, 1969) and an able arranger. His music was regularly featured by the BBC. GAD Records, an independent Polish label, has launched a crowd-funding campaign aimed at the release of the artist's hitherto unpublished recordings. You could also help in making this happen!

A recently unearthed set of unique recordings by Jerzy Milian turned out to be a vast repository of captivating jazzy tunes. Out of the innumerable number of high-quality vintage tracks the GAD Records team have picked fifteen. Fine tunes, upbeat rhythms, and swinging grooves have become the essence of the "When, Where, Why" album, hopefully to be released later this year. Instead of putting out a finished product, the label decided to let the fans get involved in the process of its production. Hence the crowd-funding campaign at Indiegogo.com aimed at raising the $2500 necessary to cover production and licensing costs. The variety of goodies GAD Records offers to its donors ranges from a vintage thank-you postcard and a digital single with an unreleased track unavailable elsewhere to the actual CD album, a limited set of postcards and absolutely unique mixtapes. You even get the chance to become the project's executive producer!

Indiegogo.com, the world's second-largest crowd-funding platform, allows to support independent projects without any risk whatsoever. If the campaign fails to raise the necessary funds, nobody pays a dime. But the GAD Records team and Jerzy Milian believe it's going to work out fine. They have 45 days to reach their goal (until June 21).

http://www.indiegogo.com/milian



source: Michał Wilczyński

Pater / Wojtczak / Urowski / Gorzycki – A-Kineton (Owoc Music, 2012)

Pater / Wojtczak / Urowski / Gorzycki

Rafał Gorzycki - drums
Irek Wojtczak - saxophones
Kamil Pater - guitar
Paweł Urowski - double bass,

Guest: Maurycy Wojcinski - trumpet

A-kineton (Owoc Music, 2012)

This wonderful album, recorded by the Polish quartet comprising of guitarist Kamil Pater, saxophonist Irek Wojtczak, bassist Pawel Urowski and drummer Rafal Gorzycki, with guest trumpeter Maurycy Wojcinski, is an excellent example of contemporary Jazz, played by young musicians who slowly establish a new school of Polish Jazz, continuing the splendid tradition of the country's achievements in that area. For people following the scene these names won't be completely new, as they have been active in many different ensembles during the last decade, like Sing Sing Penelope, Ecstasy Project, Contemporary Noise Sextet and others. Pater, Urowski and Gorzycki, with saxophonist Alexander Kaminski, recorded the splendid "Dziki Jazz" (Wild Jazz) album earlier on.

Pater wrote five of the eight compositions on this album, with Urowski and Gorzycki contributing one composition each and one being a group composition. The music is excellent modern Jazz, with some basic melodic content, but mostly improvised with a lot of both individual and collective freedom extended towards the participants. The performances are all inspired and highly professional, and overall the album is a great piece of music, which flows elegantly from one composition to another, constantly keeping the listener on the edge. By and large the atmosphere is somewhat similar to the music played by the groundbreaking Polish ensemble Sing Sing Penelope, which of course is not entirely surprising and should be seen as a compliment. Hopefully this quartet has a lot more to offer in the future, and I'm looking forward to hear their next album. Wholeheartedly recommended!



Track listing: 1 A-kineton; 2 Bleak sun; 3 Solaris; 4 Dancing Queen; 5 Half Life; 6 Indian Driver; 7 Time For Sheeps And Dogs; 8 The Tree

By Adam Baruch

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sobura - Organic Lo-Fi (U Know Me Records, 2012)


Wojtek Sobura - drums, percussions, electronics


Organic Lo-Fi (U Know Me Records, 2012)





As many young generation Polish musicians Sobura pays hommage to jazz when saying about roots of his music but he is nonetheless far from limiting himself to this one genre. In fact his up-to-date achievements in jazz are clearly in non-mainstream territory. I know him mostly from inspiring collaboration with Kamil Szuszkiewicz on "Kapcitron" (2009) and with Maciej Trifonidis on numerous albums of which I like the most last one "Roots" (2011) which can be classified, respectively, as avant jazz and etno jazz. But he is also involved in pop (Muzykoterapia), hip hop, rock and who knows what else. 

Well, this one missing link may be modern dance music since on "Organic Lo-Fi" I find such elements in plentiful. This is what makes this debut album by young Warsaw-based drummer so atractive. Though solo it avoids starkness of so many other typical avant jazz drum solo albums. Although it retains typical for jazz creative element it yet remains attractive to ear unaided by long exposure to jazz avantgarde. Speaking shortly, this is light, joyfull and straigforward music clearly rooted in jazz but facing future. Nothing groundbreaking for sure but very decent debut by artist about whom at least one thing can be said for sure: he goes his own way. And in jazz that's very much...




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


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