Saturday, September 28, 2013

Loud Jazz Band – From The Distance - Live In Oslo (2013) ***1/2

Miroslaw Kaczmarczyk - guitar
Wojciech Staroniewicz - saxophone
Piotr Iwicki - keyboards
Maciej Ostromecki - percussion

LJB 006

By Adam Baruch

This is the eights album by the multi-national Jazz-Rock Fusion ensemble called Loud Jazz Band, which was founded in 1989 in Poland by guitarist / composer Miroslaw Kaczmarczyk and a decade later moved to Norway. The current edition of the band includes musicians from Poland, Norway and Bulgaria and the octet lineup which recorded this album includes, in addition to Kaczmarczyk the following players: trombonist Erik Johannessen, saxophonist Wojciech Staroniewicz, pianist Oystein Skar, keyboardist Piotr Iwicki, bassist Kristian Edvardsen, drummer Ivan Makedonov and percussionist Maciej Ostromecki. The album, which was recorded live, includes seven original compositions by Kaczmarczyk.

After listening to just a few moments of this music, it becomes immediately apparent that this is a highly professional ensemble of skilled and experienced musicians, playing polished arrangements of very melodic music spiced with very impressive solo spots. The music, perhaps not very challenging or adventurous, is nevertheless skillfully put together and "easy on the ear", sounding simply beautiful and pleasant. And yet this is far from being elevator music or God forbid muzak, even if it sounds "nice"; on the contrary, it is simply perfectly designed to fit a precise niche of what is usually referred to as the "easier side of Jazz". If Pat Metheny can play this kind of music, and be universally praised for it, why not the Loud Jazz Band, especially if they are at least as good?

The sound quality of this album, especially in view of the fact that it was recorded live, is simply stunning and the balance and separation between the instruments and overall ambience are truly magnificent. This album should be used in all the Hi-Fi stores to test the audio equipment. The album is also beautifully and tastefully designed and packaged, suiting well the music it contains. For people listening to more melodic Jazz / Fusion this is a true gem!

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