Sunday, June 2, 2013

Irek Wojtczak – The Bees' Knees (2013)

Irek Wojtczak - tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Kamil Pater - guitar
Adam Zuchowski - bass
Kuba Staruszkiewich - drums

Sopocka Odessa 008





By Adam Baruch


Jazz is the Art of the unexpected and unexpected is exactly what the listener will get while listening to this music. Although saxophonist / composer Irek Wojtczak, a native of the Baltic Tricity, has an established reputation on the contemporary Polish Jazz scene, he certainly does not allow anybody to conveniently put him and his music in a tight niche, which would characterize his music. Constantly developing, probing and expanding his milieu, which over time covered such diverse areas as mainstream Jazz, Jazz-World Fusion, Jazz-Rock Fusion and experimental Free Jazz, Wojtczak with his chameleonic ability to fit in any environment and to do it splendidly, is a superb example of a modern Jazz musician.

The music presented here is first and foremost an expression of individual freedom within the boundaries of a collective. The four musicians truly play together here, but at the same time allow each other a lot of individual space. There are clearly defined melodies and chord changes, but the music turns and twists constantly in each and every direction – harmonic, rhythmic and thematic. There are impressive solos, elegant group improvisations and intelligent moves on behalf of all the participants. Wojtczak, who composed all the music herein, is a very liberal leader, which results in collective creativity rather than musical conformity or obedience. The choice of the guitar, rather than piano, as the quartet's harmonic instrument suits Wojtczak's music ideally in this case. All that remains is to hop on and enjoy the ride!

Side Note: The above are my liner notes for this album. I was honored to be asked by Irek to write them and thank him for his confidence.

This album, recorded with guitarist Kamil Pater, bassist Adam Zuchowski and drummer Kuba Staruszkiewicz, is in many respects a direct continuation of the previous meeting between Wojtczak and Pater, which produced the superb "A-Kineton" album, and expands the cooperation between these two musicians even further. It presents eight original compositions, all by Wojtczak, which span a wide range of moods and emotions, all being Free spiritually, but firmly attached to melodic themes, creating a unique overall effect of elegant anarchy. The solo work and the team work of all the quartet members are simply amazing.

Wojtczak emerges here as a rightful member of the elite of Polish Jazz, a status he earned fair and square by years of playing with countless other musicians as a sideman and leader, recording and most importantly constantly developing, always embracing new ideas and never allowing himself to be trapped for too long in one place.

This piece of music is the epitome of modern Jazz, well beyond Fusion, Free and any other specific sub-genre, as it encompasses them all; a true amalgam. Definitely not to be missed!

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