Saturday, June 8, 2013

Waclaw Zimpel Quartet – Stone Fog (2013)

Wacław Zimpel Quartet 

Wacław Zimpel - bass clarinet, alto & Bb clarinet, tarogato, overtone flute
Krzysztof Dys - piano
Christian Ramond - double bass
Klaus Kugel - drums, percussion

Stone Fog (For Tune, 2013)

By Dirk Blasejezak

Despite his young age Wacław Zimpel for me is one of the most important personalities in the field of free and improvised jazz in Poland. And this is not only because of his many collaborations with Polish and international artists, but above all because of his special style. Already with the first songs I heard from him I got the feeling that this must be something special, and since then I have been following his development with greatest interest.

Wacław Zimpel’s compositions outline in a very profound way emotions or ideas of which the listener gets a very precise idea from with just the first few bars. And that applies not only to the recordings on "Stone Fog" but runs through all his work. Despite the precise notion he always leaves some space - not because he could not spin the particular thought to the end or wouldn’t like to describe the emotion to the last detail - but because every emotion and every idea needs a context. And this context he creates with his fellow musicians during the improvisations in the studio and on stage - especially in his solos. There he formulates any emotion out in an incredibly captivating way. If he wants to transmit a feeling, one cannot avoid empathy since he unlike many other musicians in Free Jazz stays within his compositions - he doesn’t stick to strict notation but to the underlying idea. His solos are not identical, they are not schematically - they are actually free. And yet you know at all times what he wanted to say at the beginning of a piece. He always seems to attempt that you as a listener understand him - there aren’t many musicians that have the desire or perhaps the ability to transport something with their music. The wonderful thing about this is that you do not even have to force yourself to listen to him through to the end - you just want to know exactly what he tries to say. It is simply a pleasure to enjoy free improvisation with such depth. This depth can be heard especially well on this album as it appears to me, despite the described similarities with his other work, more harmoniously - perhaps more private.

If you want to learn more about his background and his technical approach, you should definitely read the interview by Bartek Adamczak (! And if you don’t know the earlier works of Wacław Zimpel, I recommend the self-titled "Hera" - for me, this album remains one of the best albums of the year 2010! But of course his other projects like "The Light" and "Undivided" should be part of every collection. It’s also from the latter band "Undivided" that Wacław Zimpel and Klaus Kugel know each other. And their collaboration seems to work out quite well, as in the above interview, Wacław Zimpel told Bartek Adamczak about his plans for a new project with him. Also discussed on this blog ist another work of these two: "Tyle Tego Ty" (Milobedzka / Zimpel -, a project where they could gain experience with the bassist Christian Ramond, that apparently went so well that he too was involved in the quartet for "Stone Fog". The only new member in this circle is Krzysztof Dys who gathered fame mainly with "Soundcheck".

So Wacław Zimpel compiled for the first project that carries his name a Polish-German-quartet that blends together very well indeed. (Although there were some minor coordination problems at the record release concert in Berlin, but that was probably because it was the first concert of this formation and because of the rather small audience.) I'm pretty sure that this record will help to acquaint the name of this quartet and thus its leader to a wider audience outside of Poland. A recommendation is this album by all means!

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