Thursday, May 16, 2013

Waclaw Zimpel Quartet – Stone Fog (2013)

Waclaw Zimpel - clarinet
Krzysztof Dys - piano
Christian Ramond - bass
Klaus Kugel - drums


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut recording by the quartet led by Polish Jazz clarinetist / composer Waclaw Zimpel with his countryman pianist Krzysztof Dys and two German musicians: bassist Christian Ramond and drummer Klaus Kugel. The album presents eight compositions named using lines from poems by the US poetess Laura Winter. Three of the compositions are credited to Zimpel and the remaining five are group compositions.

Despite his young age (he was 29 years old when this music was recorded) Zimpel is already considered as one of the most important upcoming Free Jazz / Improvised Music figures on the European scene. In the scope of the last decade he managed to cooperate with many first-class musicians from Poland and abroad, play many concerts and record quite a few albums as a leader and as sideman, most of which were received enthusiastically by the critics.

The clarinet, Zimpel's "weapon of choice", is sadly a much neglected instrument in contemporary music, avant-garde and Improvised Music included, and therefore his contributions are especially important, keeping the clarinet tradition alive. Except for the older generation clarinet Giants, like American Perry Robinson, Israeli Harold Rubin, French Louis Sclavis, Italian Gianluigi Trovesi and a handful of others, Zimpel's young voice is a fresh breath of air in this particular niche.

As to the music on this album, I find it slightly less exciting personally in comparison to his earlier recordings with ensembles like Undivided or Hera. Not that this album lacks anything in quality and power of expression, but perhaps it is less based on incorporating World Music motifs, which Zimpel excels at. This album firmly belongs to the "traditional" Free Jazz / Improvised Music milieu, if the word "traditional" applies at all in such cases. But regardless of my personal preferences, this is excellent music from start to finish, performed with passion and masterly ability, by all four musicians involved. The rhythm section provides exceptional backing, moving swiftly between almost swing to free form, Dys on piano spreads layers of twisted harmonic structures and Zimpel, as usual, plays the role of the of Hamelin's Pied Piper, snake charmer and a Hassidic Klezmer, all in one. Most connoisseurs of Free Jazz will find this music very interesting and aesthetically enchanting.

The album was released by a new Polish label called For Tune, which seems to be specializing in "unconventional" musical projects, like this one. All the releases on the label have a distinct graphic design, which appears to be copying the early ECM, Hat Hut and other avant-garde labels following this path. Polish avant-garde Jazz fans know that this label is of course not the first of its kind, but the more the merrier. There is always place for good music and I wish the label a lot of success.


  1. Witam. Chciałabyś/Chciałbyś , żeby Twój blog znalazł się w darmowym spisie muzycznych blogów szukam ciekawych blogów i pisze wiadomości do bloggerów by spis z dnia na dzień stawał się coraz bardziej profesjonalny. Jeśli jesteś zainteresowana/zainteresowany napisz do mnie na Pozdrawiam :)

  2. Gdzie można kupić tę płytę?

  3. Sądzę, że niedługo w Empikach i na Można też zadzwonić do biura firmy For Tune i dopytać. Dystrybucja się dopiero zaczyna, to ich pierwsza płyta, więc zanim się to wykrastalizuje mogą być pewne opóźnienia...


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