Saturday, July 6, 2013

Kapela Yanina – The Searchers For Something… (2002) ****

Janusz Yanina Iwanski - guitar
Lukasz Kluczniak - saxophone
Marcin Lamch - bass
Przemyslaw Pacan - drums


By Adam Baruch

This is the second recording by the Polish Jazz-Rock Fusion quartet Kapela Yanina led by the veteran guitarist / composer Janusz Yanina Iwanski with saxophonist Lukasz Kluczniak, bassist Marcin Lamch and drummer Przemyslaw Pacan. They perform eight compositions, six of which are originals by Iwanski, one is a group composition by all four players and the remaining one is by Krzysztof Komeda.

Stylistically and musically this album is a direct continuation of their debut effort called "2001", which was recorded a couple of years earlier. It uses the same formula of playing long and extended improvisations, with the saxophone being the leading voice, and the guitar setting up the background, playing almost ambient chords and the rhythm section supporting the free / ambient structures with steady Funk / Rock oriented pulsations. The overall effect of this music is truly unique, combining seemingly incompatible elements into one coherent whole. In comparison with the debut, this album is more open and less constrained, but of course looses the element of surprise (or rather shock) which of course every new direction, musical or otherwise, is able to achieve only once.

Listeners familiar with Polish Jazz are able to compare the version of Komeda's "Kattorna" performed here with the original recording by the composer on his legendary "Astigmatic" album, recorded 35 years earlier. Of course, depending on the listener's taste and open-mindedness the comparison might result in a verdict anywhere between sacrilegious to genius. Whatever the result, it's pretty obvious that this is simply excellent music any way one looks at it. Although roughly belonging to the Jazz-Rock Fusion genre, it goes much further beyond what is usually considered as part of that genre, adding elements of Free improvisation, Rock fierceness, Far East meditative moods and a plethora of other, probably mostly subconscious revelations.

In retrospect is clear that Kapela Yanina was one of the most interesting groups, which were active on the Polish Jazz scene over time. The two early albums and the additional album they recorded following a ten years long break, "Yanina Free Wave", all belong to the canon of Polish Jazz recordings.

This is an important piece of the puzzle, which is Polish Jazz, and anybody interested in it should definitely have this album in their collection. Apparently this album is still available and therefore I urge everybody to grab a copy ASAP, as this is definitely too good to be missed. Act now or be repentant later!

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