Saturday, February 2, 2013

Krzysztof Herdzin – Live In Tygmont (2006)

Krzysztof Herdzin - piano
Zbigniew Wegehaupt - bass
Cezary Kondrad - drums


By Adam Baruch

This album presents a live recording captured at the Warsaw's Tygmont club by pianist / composer Krzysztof Herdzin and his trio, with bassist Zbigniew Wegehaupt and drummer Cezary Konrad. The trio performs six compositions, four of which are originals by the leader and two are standards. The recording has a beautiful realistically captured live sound and an overall superb sound quality.

People familiar with the Polish Jazz scene are surely aware of the fact that Herdzin is one of the busiest and most versatile musicians in the country, who left his mark on a large scale of different musical projects in Contemporary Classical music, Jazz and Popular music. His work as an arranger / orchestrator marks most of the great Pop albums recorded in the last two decades in Poland. Sometimes it seems as if there is hardly anything happening in Polish music, which does not involve Herdzin one way or another. Of course such omnipresence can be dangerous and lead to spreading the talents thin, but one must admit that everything Herdzin touches turns out well, which simply proves his incredible talent, versatility, stamina, perseverance and above all professionalism.

To be fair one must remember that this album presents just one aspect of Herdzin's activity, i.e. his work as a leader of a classic Jazz piano trio. During his career Herdzin recorded several albums in this format, and I must admit this is the favorite one for me. There are several reasons why I feel that way; firstly the material included herein presents a wide emotional range, from up-tempo numbers presenting Herdzin as a virtuoso pianist performing neck-breaking solos and up to deeply contemplative ballads, where the listener can hear Herdzin the atmospheric painter. Secondly the trio work, which is absolutely stunning, is a superb example of creative cooperation in real time, which after all is what Jazz is all about. The dazzling displays of piano bravura are brilliantly supported at all times by the rhythm section, which at the time of the recording was probably the best in the country. My deeply lamented personal friend Zbigniew Wegehaupt, who left us at a ridiculous young age a year ago, was undoubtedly one of the greatest bassists to emerge on the local scene and drummer Cezary Konrad, with whom Herdzin works often, is probably to top drummer of the second Jazz generation in Poland.

This is a classic piano trio album in every respect, which should satisfy even the sternest and most capricious Jazz connoisseurs. Regardless if your champion is Chick Corea, Bill Evans or Herbie Hancock, you will find something here, which is of course first and foremost Herdzin's statement, but sits firmly in the same state of mind that these great Masters bestowed upon us. A timeless jewel!

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