Monday, May 27, 2013

Baszta – Baszta (Swinging Tricity Vol.1) (2011)

Leszek Dranicki - guitar, vocal
Jerzy Główczewski - saxophone
Zbigniew Kędzierski - saxophones
Edward Kolczyński - trumpet, piano
Adam Ochocki - trombone
Jan Rucki - drums
Piotr Sapieja - percussions
Stanisław Suchecki - trombone
Aleksander Śliwa - bass guitar
Lech Woś - Fender piano

SOLITON 074

By Adam Baruch

This is the first 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 Baszta ensemble, a Jazz-Rock Fusion / Funk outfit, which was very popular locally as it held the position of the house band at the local student club. The group was founded in 1976 and existed for about five years until the late 1970s, 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 about half of the material included on this album comes from, the other half being live recordings from the student club, which was their residence.

Baszta was one of few Polish Jazz ensembles playing "Horn Rock", i.e. horns oriented Jazz-Rock Fusion, similar to Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chase and many other ensembles representing this particular sub-genre. It was founded by trumpeter Edward Kolczynski and over the years featured the following musicians present on this album: guitarist Leszek Dranicki, saxophonists Jerzy Glowczewski and Zbigniew Kedzierski, trombonists Adam Ochocki and Stanislaw Suchecki, keyboardist Lech Wos, bassist Aleksander Sliwa, drummer Jan Rucki and percussionist Piotr Sapieja.

The group performed both their original compositions, mostly by Kolczynski and some by Wos, which were first-rate, as well as their arrangements of Jazz, Rock and Pop standards, which were quite witty and intelligent. The radio recordings have excellent sonic quality, but the live recordings are somewhat low-hi, but still definitely worth listening to. The overall level of performances is superb, except for a few vocal tracks (among the live tracks), which is less appealing.

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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