Paweł Szamburski - clarinet, bass clarinet
By Adam Baruch
This is the debut solo album by the Polish Jazz clarinetists/composer Pawel Szamburski, one of the pillars of the local avant-garde / Improvised Music scene, known from many different projects with a wide range of musicians, including the clarinet quartet Ircha led by Mikolaj Trzaska. The album comprises of five tracks, each dedicated to one of the religious movements originating in the Mediterranean. The music was recorded in a church and the solo clarinet sound emphasized and transformed by the church's natural echo and ambience create a sacred, mystical atmosphere.
In complete contrast to what people familiar with Szamburski's earlier recordings nigh expect, this music is completely and absolutely spiritual, melodic, lyrical and enchantingly beautiful, a total antidote to the avant-garde/Free Jazz idiom, associated with his "usual reputation". In many respects this music sounds more like a prayer than an artistic expression, but on the other hand perhaps art is always a form of prayer? Of course listeners familiar with sacred music originating form the Mediterranean region will be able to identify traces of it in this music, but Szamburski manages to turn them into an integral part of his own creation. Listening to the is music, at least in my case, turned out to be a deeply moving experience, and considering the fact that the album lasts only for about half an hour, I listened to it repeatedly several times, wishing to sustain the calm and serenity it inspires.
Szamburski deserves to be praised not only for his talents, but also for his integrity and courage to express himself without any inhibitions, showing his innermost feelings and sharing them with his listeners. Free Jazz and freely improvised music often serve, contrary to what some people might think, as paraphernalia to hide the musician's emotions rather than express them. The music Szamburski brings forward herein is simply so pure and bare, that it hides nothing.
This album is undoubtedly one of the best recordings I have heard so far this year and I recommend it wholeheartedly, especially to all the cynics and misanthropes among us; perhaps listening to this music could serve as a wake up call for some of them at least.
Since this album was released as a numbered limited edition of 500 copies, grab it ASAP anywhere you can, before it becomes unavailable.