Friday, September 13, 2013

S.P.P.T Chalturnik / Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra – S.P.P.T Chalturnik / Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra (2009) ***1/2

Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski - saxophone / composer / arramger / bandleader
Janusz Muniak - saxophone
Zbigniew Namyslowski - saxophone
Tomasz Szukalski - saxophone
Wojciech Karolak - keyboards
Jan Jarczyk - piano
Bronislaw Suchanek - bass
Czeslaw Bartkowski - drums


By Adam Baruch

The material presented on this album originates from two separate LPs released by the Poljazz label, each contributing one side of the original LP. The logic behind it is that the original Poljazz releases often included two sides of completely unrelated material, artificially combined for a variety of reasons, mostly economic. These two sides of two separate LPs are connected by the central personality behind the music, the Polish Jazz saxophonist / composer / arranger / bandleader Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski.

Wroblewski was the founder and leader of the band S.P.P.T Chalturnik, which was formed in order to present Jazz with a humorous and tongue in cheek attitude, featuring well known standards as well as original material by the leader. The band included the absolute crème de la crème of the Polish Jazz scene: saxophonists Janusz Muniak, Zbigniew Namyslowski and Tomasz Szukalski, keyboardist Wojciech Karolak, bassist Bronislaw Suchanek and drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski. The wonderful arrangements and whimsy performances are all brilliant, especially in view of the fact that they show that Jazz doesn't have to be treated always so seriously.

Wroblewski was also the director of the Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra during the years 1968-1978, which was one of the most important incubators and places of refuge for the young Polish Jazz musicians under the Socialist regime, providing them with a steady income. The orchestra performs a very ambitious piece of music composed by the young pianist Jan Jarczyk called "A Double Concerto For Five Soloists And Orchestra", which features as soloists top Polish Jazz players of the time: violinist Zbigniew Seifert, saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski and Janusz Muniak and trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. Legendary American drummer Stu Martin also participates in the recording. The music is a very interesting example of early Orchestral Jazz works, which combine contemporary Classical techniques with Free Jazz improvisation.

Side Note: The Poljazz label, which originally released this album, was active for 20 years (between 1972 and 1991) and was owned by the Polish Jazz Society. Considering the fact that the music industry in the Socialist State was centralized and totally controlled, with just one State owned music company producing all the albums, the possibilities to record and release Jazz albums were extremely limited. Poljazz was conceived and founded in order to allow for many more Jazz (and other) albums to be released independently from the State owned Polskie Nagrania / Muza and as such revolutionized the music industry at the time, being the only such enterprise in Eastern Europe. The Polish label Anex reissued many of the original Poljazz albums on CD, bringing this fabulous music back to life.

1 comment:

  1. There were other recording companies in communist Poland: Wifon, Tonpress, Polton, Veriton and Pronit - the last one both recording and pressing vinyls for other companies. But the state owned Muza/Polskie Nagrania definitely was the most important one.


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