Sunday, January 12, 2014

Semafor Combo - Semafor Combo (2013) ****

Semafor Combo (band)

Piotr Zabrodzki - alto saxophone, drums, organ
Wojtek Traczyk - double bass
Artur Lawrenz - drums, trumpet
Tomasz Duda - soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, flute

Semafor Combo (2013)

By Maciej Nowotny

Perhaps I'm getting old but I find less and less interesting things in so-called avant jazz or free improv these days. One of the reasons is that so many projects are focused on searching for novelty only and in the process of experimentation they lose sight of the average listener's gustos. And the truth is that when I sit in my armchair with a glass o wine in my hand I don't need - at least every single time - to be shell-shocked or profoundly shaken or move to the depths. Quite often I just want to be entertained, cheered and relaxed. Is this so much to ask for? I hope not so. But many "young lions" of today's avantgarde seem to forget about it.

But this recording is quite a different story and because of that stands out a something very unique. Although created by young musicians who are associated with some of most daring projects in Polish music it is a tribute to jazz music of 60ties and, in particular, 70ties. This combination of solid jazz foundation and a free spirit of improvisation produced what can be only described as one of the most rewarding recordings in whole year 2013. Full of of explicit citations from bot international and Polish jazz classics, narrated unhurriedly, playing with form, never imitating but rather re-creating the old languages that slowly become forgotten - this album is an unexpected gem and a very significant achievement for all artists involved in its creation.

Pianist Piotr Zabrodzki. double bassist Wojtek Traczyk, drummer Artur Lawrenz and reedman Tomasz Duda have already many interesting recordings on their own. But nothing yet similar to this one both in style and in spirit. I like to think that though still young with this album they kind of move from age of puberty to that ofmaturity as much in human as in artistic sense. It would be therefore great to see this project continued. Especially since this album, in the line with a spirit of the analogue era, is limited only to less-than-thirty-minutes long-play format. I can only hope that we will hear more of it in future...

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