Friday, March 14, 2014

Oles Brothers – Duo (2008)

Marcin Oles - bass
Bartlomiej Brat Oles - drums

FENOMMEDIA 007







By Adam Baruch

This is a bold and unusual album by Polish Jazz heroes, brothers Marcin Oles (bass) and Bartlomiej Brat Oles (drums) collectively know as Oles Brothers, which presents them as a duo without a participation of any additional musicians. The music consists of ten original compositions: six composed by Marcin, three by Bartlomiej and one being co-composed by them both.

The bass and drums, universally accepted as the rhythm section which stands behind the vast majority of all Jazz activities, is almost never considered being able to produce music on its own, which is evident by almost complete lack of recordings featuring bass / drums duets. In fact there are quite a few solo bass or solo drums albums; some of them even seminal recordings, but in contrast almost no bass / drums outings. The fact that Oles Brothers decided to record such dramatically unusual album is another evidence of the fact that they are definitely much more than just a brotherly rhythm section, but also talented composers, virtuosic performers and Jazz innovators.

Contrary to the expectations which a bass / drums album might suggest, the music is actually deeply melodic. Marcin states the melody line switching between arco and pizzicato and then the duo expands it by improvising and adding a rhythmic line, which often not only supports the melody by also introduces a secondary melodic theme. Both players remain attentive at all time to each other and the rhythmic patterns change often during one piece. The music is delicate, but distinctive, making a statement at all times; there are no fillers or redundant idle moments, its pure music from start to finish, intense, fascinating and deeply moving.

Of course the individual contributions are hardly surprising to anyone familiar with the Oles Brothers output so far; their reputation as Poland's most formidable rhythm section is once more attested herein. It's much more than just superb technique, but more importantly their mutual respect, intelligence and sensitivity, which makes them a marvelous team.

Music connoisseurs should really try out this album, as it is definitely a masterpiece of minimalism, which has very few equals, not only on the Polish Jazz scene, but worldwide. This is a rare gem indeed!

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