Sunday, September 8, 2013

Various Artists – Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol.06 (2013) ***1/2

Andrzej Kurylewicz - trumpet
Wanda Warska - vocals
Wojciech Karolak - piano
Jan Tomaszewski Big Band
Jerzy Matuszkiewicz Swingtet
New Orleans Stompers


By Adam Baruch

This is the sixth installment in the new series of releases initiated by the Polish Radio, which presents archive Jazz recordings. Radio recordings are always a fabulous source of remarkable material, and as far as Polish Jazz history is concerned, the Polish Radio, which was a state monopoly for 45 years, recorded over time a plethora of invaluable material, which apart from the albums released by the Polskie Nagrania record company (also a state monopoly), is the only additional source of Polish Jazz recordings. For many years Polish Radio recorded concerts presented during Poland's most important Jazz venue, the annual Jazz Jamboree Festival and many other festivals as well.

The material collected here presents a second batch of recordings made during the 5th Jazz Jamboree Festival, which took place between October 27 and 29, 1962 in Warsaw. The artists include mostly Polish Jazz ensembles: Andrzej Kurylewicz quintet (with Kurylewicz playing trumpet rather than piano), legendary singer Wanda Warska with pianist Wojciech Karolak trio, Jan Tomaszewski Big Band, Jerzy Matuszkiewicz Swingtet and New Orleans Stompers. In addition the album also includes two tracks by the Hungarian pianist Atilla Garay and his trio and one track by Soviet pianist Vadim Sakun and his sextet, which includes legendary Soviet Jazz players like guitarist Nikolaj Gromin and saxophonist Aleksiej Kozlov. In many respects this is a review of Eastern European Jazz at the time.

The music includes original compositions (Kurylewicz, Garay and Gromin) and Jazz standards, from Dixieland to Bebop, which were the model for most modern European Jazz musicians at the time, leading to the development of a new style, which would crystallize over the next few years. The performances are all excellent and their invaluable historical significance is beyond reproach. Beautifully restored sound quality and a warm ambience of the live analog recording is a true joy.

As usual with this series, which is very reasonably priced, I miss the presence of "in depth" liner notes / booklet, which should convey the circumstances at which this music was recorded and its meaning to the development of Polish Jazz in particular and Polish Culture in general. Nevertheless this is an essential piece of history which every Polish / Eastern European Jazz fan will surely consider an absolute must.

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