Saturday, April 6, 2013

Jan Jarczyk - Round, Round & Round (2013)

Jan Jarczyk - piano

Morgan Moore - double bass
Jim Doxas - drums

Round, Round & Round (2013)




Text by Maciej Nowotny

The curse of Poland was (still is?) that we were losing so much talent because of emigration.  For different reasons of course: often political, but usually more prosaic, economical. Jan Jarczyk is good example of how such stories may be painful as much to our country as to individuals as he interrupted his extremely promising career by leaving Poland for the U.S. and then Canada.

He was born in 1947 in Cracow that is in the same city as Tomasz Stańko and of the same generation. Naturally they played with each other many times but it applies to most of the best jazz musicians in Poland in late 60ties and in early 70ties when Jarczyk was simply one of the most promising young pianists in Poland. However all this took place so long time ago that younger generation, including myself, virtually forgot him. Only recently he was reminded to our audience by GAD Records which issued "Nora" (2010). Recorded in 1969 and 1970 by Zbigniew Seifert Quartet it remained unreleased for 50 years! It features Jarczyk on piano showing how gifted musician he was even at beginnings of his career. Just one year later in 2011 this same label released his new disc titled "Smoked Pianos" which was a stunnig quality piano jazz duo. And now, what a acceleration indeed, at the beginning of 2013, his third album in just three years comes and as good as only one could hope for! 

It is recorded in classical jazz piano trio format with string quartet. Jarczyk partners in trio are Morgan Moore on double bass and Jim Doxas on bass. Both trio and strings play impeccably. The sound is crystal clear. Harmonies are resounding in listener's ears with utmost precision and clarity. There are in Poland only handful of pianists who could compare with Jarczyk in terms of technique and musicality. Marcin Wasilewski has similar elegance, perhaps also Piotr Wyleżoł and Miachał Tokaj. On the other hand such a high level of competence could be expected from someone who taught harmony and composition at Berklee College of Music and is now a music professor at McGill University in Montreal.

Although a concept of mixing jazz and classics is nothing new here it is carried out with such a class that one cannot resist to admire this music. It reminds a lot last year album by saxophonist Andrzej Olejniczak & Apertus String Quartet titled "Different Choice". It is kind of interesting that Olejniczak is also an emigrant - he now lives in Spain. They both kind of return to Polish scene after many years of absence. It seems to me far from being just a mere coincidence. It is simply a result of resurgence of jazz music in Poland, its astonishing renaissance and of general changes in our country which after joining the E.U. in 2004 has quickly become part of Europe and the same cultural circle as Spain or the U.S. All in all, to this positive political changes we owe also this awesome piece of music. Allelujah!


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