Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Polish Jazz Mixtape: Vol. I

I was surrounded by Polish jazz records as long as I can remember. Thanks to my dad, who is a great jazz enthusiast himself and was collecting Polish jazz for decades, I was introduced to such big names as Nahorny, Karolak, or Laboratorium already in my early years. However, being that young, I could not understand it or appreciate it as much as they deserved. My dad's collection and influence, though, were a solid basis for my present vast interest in this genre.

As a DJ and a record collector, I have realized that there is a certain shortage in quality mixtapes with Polish jazz and coming up with an idea of recording one myself was quite natural. I have been toying with this idea for a while, but finally it all took shape couple of months ago when I contacted Maciek Nowotny with a proposition of collaboration. He agreed to support and promote it and it happened later that the idea of recording a Polish jazz mixtapes then developed even further to my decision to record a collection of such mixtapes and inviting other DJ's and producers to take part. Our aim is to reach all kinds of audiences. As much as the younger generation who would presumably enjoy listening to a modern DJ mix as the more experienced Polish jazz enthusiasts who could simply enjoy one more time listening top quality Polish jazz tracks recorded and served in entirely fresh way .

I had the pleasure of recording the very first of the mixtapes which is available to listen here:

It features tracks recorded by Polish jazz musicians between 1963 to 2010, including "Polish Jazz" series by Muza Polskie Nagrania and recent tracks from Ninja Tune and Obuh Records.

The opening track is a drum solo by Czesław Bartkowski - "Rozmowa Ze Śliwką Bez Pestek" from 1976 which perfectly intertwines with the modern composition "Not Too Bad" by Skalpel (Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudło) from 2004 which was sampled from the archives of Polish jazz music. As for the more modern approach, I would also like to mention "Symfonia Zmysłów" by Robotobibok (2005) and "Walczyk Stabilizacyjny" by Semafor Combo (2010) as two modern bands worth your special attention. Their style and understanding of Polish jazz undisputedly adds a new level to this already highly valued genre. Also, you can find here the godfather of Polish jazz Andrzej Kurylewicz (who is featured on the cover designed by Funklore - http://cargocollective.com/funklore) and his "Foxtrot - Lisi Krok" from the first album recorded in 1965 as a part of Polish Jazz series. Last, but not the least, of many other interesting gems of this mixtape you will find "From Greenhills" by Tomasz Stańko. It appears on a hard to find album tilted Almost Green, recorded in 1978 in Helsinki. My personal favourite, though, would be "Foot Prints", a Wayne Shorter composition, arranged and performed by by Sami Swoi. It is a perfect example showing where Polish musicians looked for inspiration and what influenced them most. Not to mention the amazing double bass that sounds as if it was playing just next to you. For the closing track I chose the playful Band's Signature by Gold Washboard which is truly enjoyable to listen to and gives away the atmosphere of a jazz concert in the 1970s Poland.

All the tracks were specially selected to match the tempo, key, and the mood of every one of them to ensure a smooth listening experience. Enjoy the ninety minutes of pure vinyl sound!

Text by Łukasz Kępiński

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