Monday, July 22, 2013

Nor Cold - Nor Cold (2013) ****

Nor Cold (band)

Olgierd Dokalski - trumpet, project concept
Wojciech Kwapisiński - guitar
Oori Shalev - drums, percussion
Zeger Vandenbussche - saxophones, clarinet, Jew's harp

Nor Cold (2013)

By Maciej Nowotny

Of all usual blah blah blah (exceptionally ill-thought and bad-written) provided to us by recording label (in this case Multikulti) only two descriptions of this music deserve to be taken seriously: "pain" and "euphoria". These may very well be keywords to describe any music aspiring to something more than just another piece of usual, overwhelming pop shit. If you are fed up with all-copying-one-after-another mainstream culture (and jazz!) and want to fly away to off-world of alternate music you should definitely reach out for this disc. Instead of a mirage of Hollywood "happy ends" it offers simply boundless sadness. Instead of popularity of mass media prostitutes of Paris Hilton or Rihanna kind, it proposes a glimpse of euphoria, of exultation, of satori.

By all this I don't want to say that it is flawless in itself. On contrary! It is much here to be improved. For example level of recording is difficult to appraise. Recording label only sent us music in mp3 which sounds played on my Marantz KI Signature Hi-Fi rather flat and lacking of space. Also, to be entirely honest, the musicians are not virtuoso or music exceptionally complicated and original. But all these imperfections are more than counterbalanced by incredible emotionalism, authenticity and spontaneity thanks to which this album by far surpasses many other CDs released in this year 2013. 

Before we move to the conclusion and usual mantra of "wholeheartedly recommended" or "must-listen" let me give you few facts about this project. Nor Cold is a collective of four musicians of which young trumpeter Olgierd Dokalski is probably the best known, at least to Polish audience. Co-founder of two interesting bands: Kirk and Daktari he is walking on free side of jazz if such a labeling has any sense at all in the beginning of XXI century. Distinctive feature of his art is continuous interest in Jewish music which is also present on this recording in delicate references to Sephardic songs of Balkan Jews. 

Another Polish musician involved in this project is guitarist Wojtek Kwapisiński who collaborated with Dokalski in Kirk and also co-created interesting ethnojazz duo Gamid Group. They are supported by Belgian saxophonist Zeger Vandenbussche and Israeli drummer Oori Shalev, currently residing in Berlin. Their input deserves as much accolade as that of Polish musicians since this music is first of all collective effort. Unlike mainstream jazz we have here no usual collection of solos and supporting rhythm section but rather well thought-out story, developing logically one piece after another. Yet, as I said before, this solid frame is filled up with emotions of such intensity that it leaves us with impression of total freedom, if not in form than at least in spirit.

All in all, this is of course "wholeheartedly recommended" and "must-listen", but on top of these so-much-worn-out adjectives there is here simply exceptional passion of artists involved in creation of this music. It made a listening to this album an experience special and rare. 

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