Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Krzysztof Herdzin – Jestes Swiatlem (2013)

Krzysztof Herdzin - keyboards & other instruments
Robert Kubiszyn - bass
Cezary Konrad - drums
Marek Napiorkowski - guitar
Anna Maria Jopek - vocals
Dorota Miskiewicz - vocals
Grzegorz Turnau - vocals

UNIVERSAL 602537293872

By Adam Baruch

The Jazz & Poetry sub-genre is one of the pillars of Polish Jazz in particular, but also Polish Music in general, as it appears on the scene in many variations and crosses genre boundaries between Pop, Rock and Jazz since many decades. The abundance of great poets and poetesses as much as composers and performers, the intrinsic Polish lyricism and melancholy and the intellectual elitism of Polish Art evidently produce a fruitful ground for such meetings between words and music, which happen in the Polish Culture more often then anywhere else in the world.

This album by celebrated Polish Jazz pianist / composer / arranger Krzysztof Herdzin is his contribution to the Jazz & Poetry legacy. It presents eight original compositions and one arrangement of a song by the Polish 19th Century Romantic composer Karol Kurpinski to the words of a late 18th / early 19th Century poet Franciszek Karpinski, the father of Polish Sentimentalism. Of the eight compositions by Herdzin, one (the title track closing the album) is an instrumental and the others have lyrics by contemporary Polish poets: Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski (one of my favorite Polish poets) and Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer.

Herdzin assembled a dreamy team to record this music, which features him on keyboards and a plethora of other instruments, bassist Robert Kubiszyn and drummer Cezary Konrad. Guitarist Marek Napiorkowski guests on five tracks. The vocal tracks are sung by the legendary Anna Maria Jopek, Dorota Miskiewicz and Grzegorz Turnau. Herdzin himself sings on one track and adds background vocals on two more.

In spite of the truly excellent instrumental accompaniment and no less excellent vocals, the focus of this album is the original music, which spotlights Herdzin's talent as a composer. Diverse and often even contrasting in the many tempi and cross-genre excursions, from deep lyricism to exotic World Music themes, this music remains constantly beautifully melodic and round. It fits the various poems used as the lyrics perfectly, which is always a great challenge for any composer. Even though Herdzin is still a relatively young musician, his enormous experience and his many talents come to full fruition herein.

The instrumental work is pretty exciting as well, with Herdzin changing instruments more often that he changes his socks, playing all of them quite well, Kubiszyn playing some very nasty fretless bass parts that make the hair on your neck curl, Konrad keeps the entire ensemble rolling like only he can, and Napiorkowski adds some superbly tasty ornamentation. All three (or four in fact) vocalists are without reproach, with Jopek being (for me) divine as always, but the others not falling behind by any means. Turnau, who specializes in the Jazz & Poetry niche, sings most of the vocals, always with sensitivity and exquisite diction.

So here we have it, another great album by Maestro Herdzin, whose inexhaustible energies know no limits. Jazz & Poetry buffs will of course love this to bits, but for any cultural music connoisseur this is a piece of music worthy admiration and a source of many pleasurable moments.

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