Saturday, March 23, 2013

Włodzimierz Nahorny - Jej Portret (GAD Records, 2013)

Włodzimierz Nahorny – piano, alto sax, flute, harpsichord

Zespół instrumentalny, cond. Jan Ptaszyn-Wróblewski(1-12), Zespół Rozrywkowy Rozgłośni Gdańskiej, cond.Jan Tomaszewski (13), Studio M-2, cond. Stefan Rachoń (14), Zespół Perkusyjny Jerzego Bartza (15),Studio Jazzowe Polskiego Radia, cond. Bogusław Klimczuk (16), Big-Band Polskiego Radia, cond. Bogusław Klimczuk (17), Orkiestra Polskiego Radia, cond. Stefan Rachoń (18)

Jej Portret (GAD Records, 2013)

By Maciej Nowotny

I am often asked, as much abroad as in Poland, what really is Polish jazz? What does distinguish it from jazz as played in other countries? This is not easy to answer such inquiries as usually is with all questions regarding music. Perhaps the best way to describe such a complex phenomenon is to give some examples of albums thanks to which we can talk about something as distinctive and unique as Polish jazz.

One of such albums is "Jej Portret" (eng. Her Picture) recorded by Włodzimierz Nahorny. I will not delve here on details of Nahorny biography as it is enough to say that he is one of those crucial personalities in Polish music which shaped its uniqueness over few last decades. This album features him as much as multi instrumentalist, as he plays on piano, alto sax, flute and harpsichord, but first of all as an arranger. He took some of the best Polish songs of 60ties and 70ties, some typical pop, other from movies, and reforged them using bits of language of jazz. The effect? Simply outstanding! First, these songs are creme-of-the-creme of Polish song writing, truly brilliant in every possible sense. Second, in all his arrangements Nahorny used then existing different orchestras whose level in those years (as they were supported by the state radio and television) was nothing else but stellar. Finally, it is Nahorny himself who regardless which instrument he played, sounded absolutely uniquely and individually.

By combining these first-class elements what we got here is simply one of those legendary recordings  of Polish jazz. Released in 1971 on vinyl it remained since then in very limited circulation being an object of longing of many collectors and fans. It is therefore very fortunate that small Polish label GAD Records specializing in reissuing of old Polish vinyls or yet unpublished archive recordings decided to remind it to the public. The level of publishing is first class. Great liner notes both in Polish and English languages give insight into colourful background of this recording. We also got in this reissue six additional tracks which are as excellent as the rest of twelve songs on the album. All in all this album is truly a pearl which every serious fan of Polish jazz should be more than happy to add to her or his collection!

01. Jej portret
02. Powiedzieliśmy już wszystko
03. Cała jesteś w skowronkach
04. Melodia z filmu „Dziura w ziemi”
05. Taki dzień
06. Mówiły mu
07. Niech pan mi nie odsłania wnętrza
08. Wrócę do ciebie
09. Jest Warszawa
10. Obok nas
11. Właśnie tego dnia
12. Trzymając się za ręce

13. Zapomniany emigrant
14. Waltz nr 29
15. Namiastka
16. Swing dla Włodka
17. Melodia dla Zofii
18. Zacząć jeszcze raz

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