Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mikrokolektyw - Absent Minded (2013)

Mikrokolektyw

Artur Majewski - trumpet, cornets, electronics
Kuba Suchar - drums, percussion, electronics

Absent Minded (2013)





By Ken Shimamoto

Forward-thinking American jazz musicians have made a ton of important and influential recordings for European labels, but seeing an exploratory European outfit on an American label is more of a rarity. So it was a noteworthy event when the Polish duo Mikrokolektyw – drummer Kuba Suchar and trumpeter Artur Majewski – released their debut disc "Revisit" and the live DVD "Dew Point" on Chicago-based indie Delmark back in 2010.

In operation for over half a century, Delmark’s revered in jazz circles for releasing some of the earliest waxings of Sun Ra and the first recordings by the musicians who would become the Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as a stack of seminal urban blues discs by Junior Wells, Magic Sam, and J.B. Hutto, among others. Producer Raymond Salvador Harmon heard them in 2007 and brought them to the label.

Suchar and Majewski, refugees from imploded Polish jazz supergroup Robotobibok, deftly combine the natural sounds of their instruments with electronic elements – more seamlessly integrated on this new release than on their debut - creating a sound that is simultaneously timeless and of its moment. (I’ve heard Dallas-based drummer Gerard Bendiks and trumpeter Chris Curiel pull off a similar gambit, with the addition of a spoken word artist, in Swirve.)

Suchar’s integration of tuned percussion and sampling with his traps gives Mirokolektyw a broad sonic palette, ranging from lapidary gamelan sounds to seething atmospheric textures. On “Dream About The One,” they careen into Edgard Varese territory. Majewski’s voice on trumpet recalls both the majestic loneliness of Miles Davis and the multicultural extroversion of Don Cherry. The proximate model for a trumpet-percussion duo is Cherry and Ed Blackwell’s Mu, but the musos in Mikrokolektyw are clearly their own guys. At times, Majewski sounds like the voice of a lost traveler, soliloquizing as he stumbles through the dense forest of Suchar’s drum clatter. An early candidate for my “best of 2013” list.


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