Monday, April 29, 2013

Flamingo – Flamingo (Swinging Tricity Vol.4) (2013)

Jerzy Derfel - piano
Andrzej Dorawa - trombone
Piotr Nadolski - trumpet
Janusz Nalaskowski - drums
Henryk Pietrewicz - bass
Ryszard Podgorski - trumpet
Eugeniusz Pudelewicz - clarinet
Edward Rykaczewski - trombone
Jan Tomaszewski - trombone
Lucjan Wozniak - banjo

SOLITON 250

By Adam Baruch


This is the fourth installment in the excellent archival series documenting Polish Jazz created in the country's Tricity on the Baltic Sea, one of the important centers where Polish Jazz thrives and over the years produced numerous first-rate musicians and superb bands. The series presents material, which in most cases never previously appeared in any form and therefore is of immense historic importance.

This chapter presents the Flamingo ensemble, a Traditional Jazz outfit, which was very popular locally as well as in the rest of the country and even participated in the prestigious annual Jazz Jamboree Festival in Warsaw. The group was founded in the late 1950's, following the great Polish Jazz rebirth after the two historic Sopot (one of the Tricity cities) festivals in 1956 and 1957, which were a turning point in Polish Jazz history. The ensemble existed for about a dozen years until the late 1960s, and unfortunately never managed to record even one album, which sadly was the fate of many Polish Jazz artists during the Socialist regime. However they did record for the Tricity Polish Radio station in Gdansk, where most of the material included on this album comes from, except for five tracks that come from the 1961 Jazz Jamboree Festival, which were previously released by the state owned record label Polskie Nagrania (Muza).

Flamingo was one of quite a few Polish Jazz ensembles playing Traditional Jazz, i.e. Ragtime, Dixieland and New Orleans, as part of the Traditional Jazz Revival, which swept Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. It was founded by pianist Jerzy Derfel, bassist Henryk Pietrewicz and banjoist Lucjan Wozniak. They were soon joined by drummer Janusz Nalaskowski and clarinetist Eugeniusz Pudelewicz. Other group members present on this album were trumpeters Piotr Nadolski and Ryszard Podgorski, and trombonists Andrzej Dorawa, Edward Rykaczewski and Jan Tomaszewski. After the group folded, several members joined other groups; like Rama 111, which appears on an earlier release of this series, and even Niemen's group Akwarele.

The group performed mostly Traditional Jazz standards, with their youthful energy and zest overcoming the lack of experience. The overall level of performances was nothing short of excellent, which gained them quite a following and respect at the time. They performed in several European countries and participated in many jazz festivals. Since their split they managed to get briefly reunited a few times celebrating their past. Most of the Flamingo members live now outside of Poland.

This is another great piece of Polish Jazz history, which should definitely be told and preserved as part of the country's Cultural Heritage. Kudos to Marcin Jacobson for creating this series and keeping it going!

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