Thursday, May 29, 2014

Enter Music Festival 2014


W dniach 17-18 czerwca Enter Music Festival już po raz czwarty. Jezioro Strzeszyńskie w Poznaniu znowu będzie drżeć w rytm artystycznych propozycji Leszka Możdżera, a trzeba przyznać, że w tym roku program jest wyjątkowo różnorodny. Będzie i młodość i doświadczenie, tradycja i eksperyment, minimalizm i sceniczny rozmach, a wszystko ułożone w dwudniowej muzycznej konstelacji która, miejmy nadzieję, potwierdzi po raz kolejny magię festiwalu Enter. 

Na start proponujemy mocny, polski akcent: kwartet Bartosza Dworaka to autentyczne odkrycie, zespół czerpiący z tego co w polskim jazzie najlepsze, skrzący się od wirtuozerii, pasji i młodzieńczego zapału. Zaraz po nim, bardziej konceptualny, ale nie mniej żarliwy Shai Maestro Trio. Zespół izraelskiego pianisty zamieszkałego w Nowym Yorku przedstawi w Poznaniu materiał z albumu „The Road to Ithaca”. Zwieńczeniem wieczoru będzie hipnotyczne „Piano Phase" Steve'a Reicha, utwór napisany w oryginale na 2 pianistów zostanie wykonany przez Leszka Możdżera samodzielnie na dwóch fortepianach. Pierwsze, legendarne już przedstawienie tego utworu przez Możdżera miało miejsce na Festiwalu Sacrum Profanum w 2011 roku w obecności wielotysięcznej publiczności oraz samego Steve'a Reicha obserwującego ten akt z prawdziwym niedowierzaniem. Podczas Enter Music Festival 2014 Leszek Możdżer po raz trzeci podejmie się publicznego wykonania tej niezwykłej kompozycji amerykańskiego pioniera minimalizmu.

Drugiego dnia scenę opanuje niewiarygodna muzyczna machina Mariusa Neseta: Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Ten zespół operuje potężnym, batalistycznym brzmieniem i ma na koncie współpracę z największymi, wystarczy wymienić takie nazwiska jak Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, czy Joshua Redman, a sam lider jest nieustannie komplementowany przez krytyków, zacytujmy choćby „The Guardian” który pisał, że Marius Neset łączy w sobie talenty Michaela Brecker’a i Jana Garbarka. Podczas Enter Music Festivalu po raz pierwszy w Polsce wysłuchamy na żywo albumu „Lion” nagranego dla wytwórni ACT. Zaraz po nim - 3 Cohens Sextet – porywający zespół firmowany przez trójkę frontmenów: Anat, Avishaia i Yuvala Cohen’ów, rodzeństwo, które pozostawiając na chwilę swoje indywidualne kariery spotyka się w sekstecie, aby realizować swe artystyczne wizje wzmocnione poprzez rodzinne, astralne porozumienie. Entuzjastyczne recenzje ich albumów, a tym bardziej pochlebne relacje z międzynarodowych festiwali, takich jak: Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, Givatayim Jazz Festival w Izraelu, Tudo é Jazz Festival w Brazylii, czy JVC i Portland Jazz w USA pozwalają wierzyć, że 3 Cohens nie pozwolą nam ochłonąć po potężnym uderzeniu orkiestry z Trondheim . Na deser - premiera albumu „Third od three” Jacka Kochana. Odbiegamy w tym roku od formuły kolorowego Happy Endu, bo muzyka Jacka Kochana napisana na fortepian, piano fendera, perkusję, ekologiczny "papersonix" i elektronikę aż trzeszczy od muzycznych poszukiwań, ale fakt, że lider zagra z dwoma wybitnymi pianistami: Dominikiem Wanią, tegorocznym laureatem Fryderyka w aż dwóch jazzowych kategoriach, mianowanym „Gwarancją Kultury” przez TVP Kultura i naszym Leszkiem Możdżerem, gwarantuje emocje najwyższej próby. Ten koncert może potoczyć się w zupełnie niespodziewanym kierunku i na to właśnie liczymy ustawiając go jako zwieńczenie dwóch dni koncertowych doświadczeń. 

Poznański Enter Music Festiwal to nie tylko wyrafinowana propozycja artystyczna, złożona z muzycznych fascynacji i odkryć Leszka Możdżera, Dyrektora artystycznego Festiwalu, ale też wyjątkowa atmosfera, łacząca uroki plenerowego Festiwalu z kameralnym charakterem muzycznego spotkania, na które entuzjastycznie reaguje wierna publiczność. Mamy nadzieję, że w tym roku uda nam się zaczarować Strzeszynek już po raz kolejny.

Bilety na Enter Music Festival są już w sprzedaży w sieci Eventim.pl. W przesprzedaży (do 30.05) kosztują 150 zł za karnet i 90 zł za każdy dzień. W czerwcu karnet kosztował będzie 180 zł, a bilet jednodniowy – 110 zł. 

Więcej informacji na www.enterfestival.pl .

Enter Music Festival 2014

17.06.2014, godz.19:00

19:30 Bartosz Dworak Quartet
21:00 Shai Maestro Trio
22:30 Leszek Możdżer „Piano Phase”

18.06.2014, godz.19:00

19:30 Marius Neset & Trondheim Jazz Orchestra
21:00 3 Cohens Sextet
22:30 Jacek Kochan feat. Dominik Wania & Leszek Możdżer „Third of Three” / premiera

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jazz violinists from all over the world!!!


63 competition entries from 17 countries, including applications from young musicians from Australia, the USA, Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Finland and Poland – the 1st International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition promises to be an extraordinary event.

“Seifert is our national treasure!” says the jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, who once played with Zbigniew Seifert in an excellent band that conquered European music stages. And there is no exaggeration in this statement. Zbigniew Seifert was a unique phenomenon in the world of jazz: a jazz violin genius, or even a visionary. Though his meteoric global career was cut short by an untimely death, his music has played an enormous role in the development of many generations of jazz artists.

Seifert’s output is still held in very high regard. It acts as a magnet and an inspiration, a fountainhead of powerful emotions. This is corroborated by jazz giants who had the opportunity to collaborate with Seifert, such as Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield and Richie Beirach, and by the enormous interest generated among young musicians from nearly all the regions of the world by the 1st International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition. The response of young jazz players is also a proof that the Competition fills a major gap on the international music stage. It remains an unprecedented event on a global scale, as the world’s first prestigious competition specially dedicated to jazz violinists.

The 1st International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition is being held in the year of the eminent artist’s 35th death anniversary, and many of Seifert’s musical partners and friends will honor this event with their presence. The already mentioned Tomasz Stańko has accepted the honorary function of President of the Competition Board, and he has been joined by artists, journalists and jazz activists supporting the competition: Urszula Dudziak, Dave Liebman, Chris Hinze, Paweł Brodowski, and Bert Noglik. Seifert’s one-time musical companions also serve on the Competition jury: Glen Moore (an outstanding double bassist and co-founder of the legendary band Oregon), Janusz Stefański (a percussionist and member of Seifert’s ensembles) as well as Mark Feldman (one of the greatest contemporary jazz violinists, fascinated with the work and figure of Zbigniew Seifert).

The preliminary round of the Competition finished a few days ago. From among the 63 submitted applications, the jury has selected the recordings of 10 violinists: eight male and two female (!). The semi-finalists are: Jason Anick, Klemens Bittmann, Carod Requesens Apel-les, Bartosz Dworak, Łukasz Górewicz, Roman Janoska, Dawid Lubowicz, Tomoko Omura, Eva Slongo, and Stanisław Słowiński.

The ten young jazz violinists will compete during open auditions held in the Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Lusławice (on 16th-18th July 2014). We are bound to see some exciting artistic competition: after all, the prizes total 17.000 Euro.

The gala concert and award ceremony have been scheduled for 19th July. The performers of the gala concert in the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology in Cracow will include not only the Competition winners, but also the jurors, who, having accepted the invitation to this concert, have formed a special band which will pay homage to their late friend – Zbigniew Seifert.

Both the auditions and the concert will be streamed online on RadioJazz.fm.

The 1st International Zbigniew Seifert Jazz Violin Competition has been organized in cooperation with the Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami.

Competition partners:
The City of Cracow, The Marshal’ s Office of Małopolska Voivodeship, STOART Union of Performing Artists, ZAiKS Polish Society of Authors and Composers, the Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica pod Baranami, Krakow Festival Office, and the European Krzysztof Penderecki Center for Music in Lusławice.

Media patrons:
Tygodnik Powszechny, Gazeta Wyborcza, Jazz Forum, RadioJazz.fm, JazzPress.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer - Doktor Filozofii (2014)

Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer

Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer - guitar
Jan Smoczyński - piano
Michał Jaros - double bass
Hubert Zemler - drums

Doktor Filozofii (2014)




By Maciej Nowotny

Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer managed to surprise me and that is always a good sign as far as jazz record is concerned. Up to this moment I have known him mainly from his playing in a group called Jazzpospolita, arguably one of very few Polish successful enterprises on the field of new/acid jazz. His mellow tone on guitar fit perfectly into moody ambient of Jazzpospolita's electronically propelled dancing rhythms. But to be honest it was all about team effort as on "Almost Splendid" (2010) as recent "Impulse" (2012). And it did not cross my mind that this guitarist may have any future at all in world of jazz. But I was clearly wrong because first this record is 100% jazz and second it introduces Michał as a distinctive musical personality aspiring to be put among first ranks of our jazz guitarists.

What is so special about this album that changed my view on him so thoroughly? Knowing me you could expect that he did something crazy, unexpected, innovatory or perhaps revolutionary? Nothing of that sort. On contrary "Doktor Filozofii" is all about old good jazz of Blue Note era. Specifically, as he himself admits, about legendary guitarist Grant Green. To reconstruct his legendary bluesy tone Michał went not only on extensive studies on music of his hero but also went 100% analog during recording session. The outcome of all this effort is simply awesome! The tone is deep, warm as the ocean washing the shores of southern islands and bluesy as the beautiful lady lost in the night blackness. Oh God! How this sound rocks and rolls!

But "it would be nothing" without original compositions all written by Michał which though clearly rooted in bop nevertheless sound entirely fresh. One must be totally astonished by the scale of melody making talent as displayed in these compositions by Przerwa-Tetmajer. I must confess that I already listened to this record more than twenty times and I am still far from being fed up or bored. It is one vamp tune after another but the reason why you not find yourself tired with them as on many all-hit records is that they are part of some bigger scheme like a story or tale. 

Two more things should be highlighted before this text ends. First, astonishing work as delivered by rhythm section. Composed of experienced pianist Jan Smoczyński and double bassist Michał Jaros plus young Hubert Zemler they miraculously managed  to keep the music within limits of vintage jazz and blues while occasionally saturating it with modern unpredictability. Last but not least the quality of recording is simply outstanding which is not surprise when we take into account that it was done in having already cult status "Tokarnia" studio (BTW its co-owner is Jan Smoczynski himself). All in all this is definitely a potential gem recording especially for all those who (like I do!) look onto Blue Note catalogue as modern equivalent of jazz Holy Bible.



Saturday, May 24, 2014

Adam Baldych & Yaron Herman – The New Tradition (2014)

Adam Baldych - violin
Yaron Herman - piano

ACT 9626









By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish / Israeli duo comprising of violinist Adam Baldych and pianist Yaron Herman. The album presents nine tracks, five of which were composed by Baldych, two are Classical pieces and the remaining two are Polish Jazz standards. Baldych arranged all the music, except for the closing piece which was co-arranged by him and Herman.

It is pretty clear from the very onset of the album that this music is only marginally Jazzy and the intention is to take a few steps back and examine the sources of contemporary music, regardless of their stylistic origins. Both players follow a rather minor and minimalistic approach, stating the melodies and improvising delicately and non-aggressively. One can interpret the album's title in many ways of course; personally I believe that music fuses all its elements developed over time in a continuous process, and therefore "The New Tradition" is simply an amalgam of all the traditions that existed beforehand, as this music clearly demonstrates to be possible. Tradition simply re-invents itself inside every Artist anew.

Since all the original music on this album was composed by Baldych, he points out the musical direction of this album and therefore the tradition in this case involves his sources: European Classical music, Polish Folklore and of course Polish Jazz. Baldych pays tribute to the Godfather of Polish Jazz, Krzysztof Komeda as well as the great Polish Jazz violinist Zbigniew Seifert. Thanks to the great musicality of Herman, he plays along splendidly, not only on the obvious sonic level, but way beyond proving to be a "twin spirit" in every way.

Of course we have two great virtuosi players here, so the individual performances are also important, but the musicians clearly try to avoid flashy exhibitionism, sticking to the "less is more" approach at all times. This is no doubt "pretty" music, but it manages not to cross over to the kitschy domain, which always looms in the background of all Jazz-Classical Fusion projects. As usual it is all a matter of personal integrity of the musicians involved.

This album should be easily accessible to quite a wide audience, as most Classical music lovers should find it appealing no less than the Jazz buffs. In any case this is music for connoisseurs and those few, who still listen to music seriously and passionately. Our Culture might be in a retreat, but as long as we have people like Adam & Yaron making music, not all is lost.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mikrokolektyw in RE !!!


22.05.2014, klub RE, Kraków, godz. 20.00 (koncert w ramach Green Zoo Festival)

Kuba Suchar i Artur Majewski stworzyli Mikrokolektyw w 2004 r. we Wrocławiu. Od początku istnienia eksperymentują z brzmieniem, którego trzon zawsze stanowi trąbka i perkusja. Do podstawowego instrumentarium dodają inne elementy jak perkusjonalia, syntezatory czy sampler. Muzyka duetu bywa z jednej strony abstrakcyjna i surowa, a z drugiej melodyjna i pełna ekspresji. Zespół od samego początku współpracuje z innymi twórcami, m.in. z Robem Mazurkiem i Maurizio Takara (Sao Paulo Underground ), Jasonem Ajemianem (LayAllOverIt, Hi Life) czy Noritaką Tanaką (LayAllOverIt). Koncertował też jako część Exploding Star Orchestra.

Krakowski występ promuje najnowsze wydawnictwo/projekt - "Białoszewski do słuchu" wydane przez oficynę Bołt. Dwupłytowy album, będący częścią większej całości, zawiera płytę z oryginalnymi nagraniami 150 wierszy autora i materiał muzyczny przygotowany przez Kubę Suchara i Artura Majewskiego inspirowany czternastoma z nich. Na koncercie program Mikrokolektywu rozszerzony będzie o kompozycje i szkice wykorzystujące archiwalne, autorskie nagrania poezji Białoszewskiego. Wszystko jednak w koncertowej, nieprzewidywalnej formie.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Marcin Masecki - Scarlatti (2013)

Marcin Masecki

Marcin Masecki - piano

Scarlatti (2013)








by Stephan Moore


There is always discussion among classical fans (new and traditional) about how many times can you record and hear the great pieces. How many times do you really need to hear or buy Mahler's 5th, Beethoven's 9th or Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9? Usually my answer is - when you know it's a stellar re-interpretation. When a musician has taken it upon themselves to create it a new and make it their own. That's when you must own it. Well, we have come to that point with Polish pianist Marcin Masecki and his live release "Scarlatti".

First, by taken on one of the few composers that you see/hear being interpreted, its a immensely refreshing. Most young musicians will automatically go for aforementioned composers. Masecki takes on a number of Scarletti piano pieces under the heading of Act I - Act IX. There is fierce perspective approach Masecki has with these piece. The attitude is invigorating and refreshing. Act II, IV and Act VII are vibrant with lots of loud octaves and improvised segments that require intense concentration. The rolling notes are fun and haunting all at once. But as just as that excitement rises, Masecki delivers superb ability change directions and allow for more intimate moments of reflections. This is where you the listener become captivated by his skill on the instrument. The galloping nature of Act IV and VII are fruitful and entertaining and joyful on repeated listens. Closing out the live recital are two Goldberg Variations that are both calming and temperate. Filled with improvised sections but still attached to its original bedrock, Masecki makes this a wonderful way to end his concert.

With "Scarlatti", Marcin Masecki fuses the expansion concepts of jazz into the strict confines of traditional classical. The burst of inspirations allows for a complete deconstruction of how both are perceived. So again - when is listening to the same piece enough? Never. When it's done superbly well like Scarlatti. Highly Recommended!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mateusz Kolakowski / Dave Liebman – Live At Jazz Standard, New York (2009)

Mateusz Kolakowski - piano
Dave Liebman - soprano saxophone, wooden flute

FENOMMEDIA 009






By Adam Baruch

This is a live recording captured at the NY Jazz Standard club by a duo comprising of young Polish Jazz pianist Mateusz Kolakowski and legendary American saxophonist Dave Liebman. Although Kolakowski and Liebman were email buddies for quite a while, they actually met in person just a few moments before this music was recorded, which explains why the majority of the material is based on Jazz standards. Of the six pieces on this album, five are standards (one is even repeated twice, taken from two different sets) and the remaining one is a free on the spot improvisation.

Kolakowski was at the time a Classical Music student and his Jazz tendencies were all self cultivated, which is quite apparent when listening to the music. He not only quotes Classical music themes but his entire approach to harmony and rhythm is strongly based in Classical music. This dichotomy between Classical music and Improvised music has certain charm, but is also a hindrance, which is hard to ignore. Liebman, on the other hand, is Godly, as always, with every note just in the right place and his virtuosity, taste and spirit of cooperation being impeccable.

Since this is a duo album, the decisive factor is the way the two musicians perform together, rather than their individual statements. It seems that the fact this music works out one way or another is due only to the enormous experience and musicality of Liebman, who is able to cope with Kolakowski's limitations, rather than the duo's spiritual unity. Nevertheless the overall result is certainly entertaining and worth being listened two, especially in view of its "one of its kind" setting, which can also be educational. The fact that Liebman is always open to work with young and less experienced musicians is truly commendable.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bałdych & Herman Duo Art - The New Tradition (2014)

Bałdych & Herman Duo Art 

Adam Bałdych - violin
Yaron Herman - piano

The New Tradition (ACT, 2014)






By Dirk Blasejezak

This is a truly unique recording. One of a kind you seldomly hear. But I hope that the title provides the direction and that it actually initiates a New Tradition. Although sonatas for piano and violin used to be one of the most popular musical forms, they were almost completely forgotten during the last 100 years. During their time they allowed the two musicians much more freedom and many more opportunities to express themselves than other compositional forms.

And now Adam Bałdych on the violin and Yaron Herman on the piano try to establish a new tradition for this again. And it fits our time that it wasn’t composers of "serious music" that hark back, but that two jazz musicians try to accomplish this task. In recent years one could find especially in the Polish Jazz an increase of recordings in duets, but no one dared to attempt the classic duo of piano and violin. Certainly one of the main reasons is that there are only very few violinists in jazz nowadays, and in this special case we have to admit that there are even less violinists with the exploratory urge like Adam Bałdych, who recognises an opportunity when he sees it and is than able to seize it.

For this album it was once again Siggi Loch of the label ACT who had a hunch (or maybe a vision) and presented these two musicians together on the stage at the Jazz at the Philharmonic Berlin. That was in March 2013 – and according to Adam Bałdych it was: “an extraordinary, magical moment for me. I felt as if I have taken a deep breath and have found new impulses. A very classic duo of violin and piano turned out to be astonishingly fresh and opened up new creative possibilities for me.” Knowing this it was almost imperative that in the same year Siggi Loch brought the two together into one studio (actually into two: RecPublica Studios, Lubrza, Polen and Emil Berliner Studios, Berlin, Germany).

The result offers a rare “otherness.” This record stands out in many ways. In a majority of the tracks you hear strong allusions to folk harmonies even though only two of the pieces ("Lamentation Of Jeremiah" and "Canticles Of Ecstasy") are actually traditionals. Adam Bałdych, who is responsible for all original compositions seems to be very strongly committed to his own traditions, which is also supported by the choice of pieces that are not original compositions - they stem from Krzysztof Komeda ("Sleep Safe And Warm") and, of course, one wants to say, from Zbigniew Seifert ("Quo Vadis"). So he’s working here on his Polish roots in folk music as well as in Jazz and uses the duet form known to him from the classical violinist education. We listeners can be glad that he found with Yaron Herman a congenial partner, who gives him space and supports him in a very unselfish way during all his maneuvers. Especially his left hand creates a wonderful background for both on which Bałdych’s violin and Herman’s right hand can walk like on fresh moss.

If there’s actually someone who doesn’t know Yaron Herman, I highly recommend beginning with another duet, as he recorded his own debut album in 2003 together with Sylvain Ghio on the drums: "Takes 2 To Know 1". Also on the ACT label he published the album "Follow The White Rabbit" (in 2010) that probably everybody has on his or her shelf as it hit very high waves - quite rightly.

This album too is likely to cause some resonance despite its sometimes elegiac, but always very melodious moods, as it walks on old paths in very new shoes. And as I said, I really hope it will indeed establish a New Tradition!

Track list:
01 Riverendings 5:21
02 Legenda 7:50
03 Sleep Safe And Warm (K. Komeda) 4:10
04 Letter For E 6:01
05 June 4:39
06 Quo Vadis (Z. Seifert) 5:29
07 Lamentation Of Jeremiah (Th. Tallis, arr. by Bałdych) 5:13
08 Relativities 2:10
09 Canticles Of Ecstasy (H. von Bingen, arr. by the artists) 5:08

A short film with footage from the tour in February 2014:



Oles Brothers / Theo Jorgensmann – Directions (2005)

Theo Jorgensmann - clarinet
Marcin Oles - bass
Bartlomiej Brat Oles - drums

FENOMMEDIA 002






By Adam Baruch

The music is a logical and linear continuation of the ideas that were first developed on the preceding album, deepening the trio's coherence and spiritual unity. There is no doubt that this music is significantly more "unchained", with a lot of breathing space and bolder experimentation, expanding the boundaries of the trio's telepathic creative process. But miraculously the new degree of freedom does not impair the warmth, intimacy and melodic contents this music so wonderfully amalgamates. It is a superb example of the "less is more" approach, where each single note counts and subdued energies penetrate deeper than volume.

Of course there are plenty of energetic and spirited moments, when the music reaches ecstatic levels, but even then everything happens in perfect harmony and intrinsic tidiness, which often is completely lost in the heat of Improvised Music created by others. The idea to play relatively short pieces with changing motifs, as opposed to expanded improvised passages lasting for long periods of time, works excellently herein. These great musicians do not need to prove anything and obviously play the music enjoying the aesthetics of creation a new expression of their inner selves, rather than showing off their talents.

This is definitely one of my favorite Polish Jazz albums, which is after all hardly surprising, as my work as a producer with the Israeli clarinetist Harold Rubin is in many respects quite similar. The clarinet produces a heartwarming sound, which is simply irresistible and in the hands of a Master becomes an extension of the human voice. Combined with an intelligent and extremely musical rhythm section, like in this case, the result turns into some of the most moving and poignant music one can experience.

This is a classic album in every respect, which should be included on the short "must hear" list anywhere on this planet where people still listen to meaningful music. The depth of the experience this music generates is of course very personal, but I can hardly imagine a music connoisseur left untouched by it. Respect!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Oles Brothers / Theo Jorgensmann – Miniatures (2003)

Theo Jorgensmann - clarinet
Marcin Oles - bass
Bartlomiej Brat Oles - drums

NOT TWO 748








By Adam Baruch

This is the first album by Polish Jazz musicians / composers, brothers Marcin Oles (bass) and Bartlomiej Brat Oles (drums) collectively know as Oles Brothers, with the German clarinetist / composer Theo Jorgensmann. They recorded several more wonderful albums as a trio following this debut recording. The album presents ten pieces, two of which are contemporary Classical compositions by Polish composers Jan Krenz and Artur Malawski, five are by Bartlomiej Brat Oles, two by Marcin Oles and one by Theo Jorgensmann.

The music is an amalgam of Jazz tradition with Improvised Music, contemporary Classical forms and the individual statements by the musicians involved. Gently floating between melodic themes and improvised sections it is all about elegance, sophistication and mutual respect, that between the musicians and their audience and that between the musicians themselves. The term "miniatures" is perhaps not quite descriptive of the contents in the strict meaning of the term, but applies to the minimalism and tenderness of these pieces, which are able to create an impressive impact in contrast to their seemingly limited scale.

Jorgensmann is able to join the legendary telepathic bond existing between the twin brothers and expand it into three-way collaboration, which of course is quite extraordinary. Together the trio carries out like one multilayered voice, which performs not only with remarkable unity but also seemingly without any limitations. Such close musical encounters are always a source of great joy and inspiration.

This album is an instant "classic" of the European contemporary Jazz / Improvised Music collection, which deserves an honorable place in any serious music library and is definitely worth a serious investigation by serious music connoisseurs.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Keefe Jackson's Likely So – A Round Goal (2013)

Waclaw Zimpel - clarinet

and others

DELMARK 5009








By Adam Baruch

Chicago's iconic experimental Jazz scene is one of the last frontiers of challenging and adventurous music happening in the US in the 21st Century. With dozens of active local musicians, festivals and venues the Improvised Music / Free Jazz / Avant-Garde are still thriving there and draw many other musicians from around the world, who are attracted to it like moths to light. It is therefore hardly surprising that the Polish Avant-Garde scene, which is the strongest and most versatile in Europe at the moment, also developed many different connections with the Chicago scene, with visiting musicians performing and recording in both countries and records being released, documenting such cooperation, in US and in Poland.

Chicago's veteran record label, Delmark Records, which consistently records music made by the local scene, already documented such US / Polish projects several times in the past and this album is another example of such collaboration. It presents an all-reeds septet led by saxophonist/composer Keefe Jackson, called A Round Goal, which features as one of its members the Polish clarinetist Waclaw Zimpel and as a result the ensemble consists of three Americans, a Pole and three Swiss. The music, all composed by Jackson, was recorded live in Switzerland. Although Jackson knew the Swiss players earlier on, he never met Zimpel in person and knew his playing only from his albums, which was apparently impressive enough to get invited to join the ensemble.

The music, although free spirited and unrestricted stylistically, is quite structured most of the time, with clear melody lines and rhythmic patterns easily traceable along the way. Of course there is plenty of space and improvised interplay as well as extended solo spots, but this is very much an ensemble effort, rather that a collection of individual contributions. Of course the level of performances by all the musicians involved is nothing short of spectacular all the way through.

It is great to see the American Avant-Garde still being able to re-invent itself, albeit with considerable help from the Europeans, and take the music forward again. This music is intellectually challenging and aesthetically pleasing at the same time, which is already a major success. For connoisseurs of large all-reeds ensembles, this is an absolute must. Wholeheartedly recommended!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Freeway Quintet – This Is No Ordinary Jazz (2014)

Marcin Kuzdowicz - guitar
Piotr Szwec - saxophone
Krzysztof Kowalczyk - saxophone
Pawel Urowski - bass
Wojciech Bulinski - drums
with
Paulina Golebiowska - vocals
Konrad Roginsk - percussion

PRIVATE EDITION

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by young Polish Jazz ensemble Freeway Quintet, co-founded by saxophonist Piotr Szwec and guitarist Marcin Kuzdowicz. The lineup is completed by a second saxophonist Krzysztof Kowalczyk, bassist Pawel Urowski and drummer Wojciech Bulinski. Female vocalist Paulina Golebiowska and percussionist Konrad Roginski appear as guest musicians on several tracks. The album presents nine original compositions, seven of which were composed by Kuzdowicz and one each by Szwec and Urowski.

The music presented by the group has certainly some unusual elements, such as a double saxophone front line, rocky, often distorted guitar and melodic lines based on ethnic motifs, which altogether are closer to Jazz-Rock Fusion or Progressive Rock than to Jazz. Therefore the statement used as the album's title is correct to some degree; but let's not exaggerate, this music, although very nice and interesting, is definitely not revolutionary or radically different from music we all heard before.

But statements aside, this is quite an excellent album in every respect. The original music is the strongest artistic statement herein, with beautifully developed melodies and rich instrumental arrangements. There is a lot of the typical Polish melancholy, which is predominant even on the more up-tempo pieces. Overall the music is simply superb from start to finish. It is also very well performed by all the musicians involved, although personally I'd prefer to hear more improvisation and soloing. But the ensemble spirit, which is very strong on this album, is also gratifying.

It is certainly interesting to see where the group will take their "no ordinary Jazz" into the future. There is so much potential and possibilities here, that anything is possible. Polish Jazz / Fusion and even Prog connoisseurs should definitely keep an eye on these talented young musicians.

As far as debuts go, this is definitely one of the most impressive I've come across this year, perhaps because it is original enough to distinguish itself from many other debuts that mostly follow up well beaten tracks. Well done!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

John Dikeman/William Parker/Hamid Drake in Pardon, To Tu !!!

John Dikeman / William Parker / Hamid Drake
Wt. 06.05.2014, g. 20:30
Bilety: 35 PLN (online / przy barze (od 12.04) / przed koncertem 'na bramce')

John Dikeman - saksofon
William Parker - kontrabas
Hamid Drake - perkusja

John Dikeman to amerykański saksofonista obecnie zamieszkały w Amsterdamie. Czerpie inspirację z wielu różnych źródeł, gra Johna uruchamia gamę muzyki improwizowanej i wspaniałej techniki. John koncertował intensywnie w Holandii i USA, a także w Kanadzie, Brazylii, Rosji i całej Europie i na Bliskim Wschodzie. Dorastał w Wyoming i zaczął występować zawodowo w wieku 16 lat. Mieszkając na wschodnim wybrzeżu USA intensywnie koncertował z wieloma świetnymi amerykańskimi muzykami, w tym z Nate'em Wooley'em, Mike'iem Pride'em, Danielem Carterem, Tatsuyą Nakatani, etc ... W 2004 roku przeniósł się do Kairu w Egipcie, gdzie pracował na pełny etat jako profesjonalny muzyk i pedagog, prowadząc liczne zespoły, oraz jako członek wielu składów. M.in. występując jako solista w Orkiestrze Symfonicznej w Kairze i jako długoterminowy członek Nubijskiego zespołu Mohameda Mounir. Po Egipcie, John przeniósł się na krótko do Budapesztu, następnie w Paryża, i wreszcie osiadł w Amsterdamie w 2008 roku. Od momentu przeprowadzki do Amsterdamu, Dikeman występował z Joe McPhee, Jebem Bishopem, Hanem Benninkiem, Roy'em Campbellem, Abem Baarsem, członkami The Ex, i wiele innych. John jest bardzo aktywny w holenderskiej muzyce improwizowanej zarówno jako performer jak i kurator. Został wybrany do 2012 Young VIP Tour wraz z trio Cactus Truck + Goście do odbycia trasy po całej Holandii. Został również zaproszony do współpracy ze Stichting Doek, a jesienią 2012 Caktus Truck ukończyło 37 koncertową trasę po USA. Ich występ na Zebulon w Nowym Jorku zdobył im miejsce na liście Andrieja Henkin najlepszych koncertów w roku 2012 dla New York City Jazz Record.

William Parker - charyzmatyczna postać światowego free jazzu, uduchowiony, czerpiący z mądrości sufickiej poeta, a przede wszystkim kontrabasista i multiinstrumentalista. Począwszy od lat 80. aż po dziś dzień William Parker jest jednym z najaktywniejszych muzyków i animatorów w Nowym Jorku, jednym z najważniejszych głosów awangardowej sceny, na której improwizował z takimi, jak: Bill Dixon, Sunny Murray, Billy Higgins, Alan Silva, Rashid Ali, Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry i Cecil Taylor. Swój talent kompozytorski ujawnił na wielu płaszczyznach, pisząc również opery, oratoria, muzykę teatralną, filmową i baletową. Zafascynowany orientalnymi kulturami i podróżami kolekcjonuje instrumenty z całego świata, dla których czasem podczas koncertów odstawia kontrabas. Jednym z jego ulubionych jest japoński flet shakuhachi. Parker to także autor książek i zbiorów poezji oraz ceniony nauczyciel. Od kilkunastu lat współorganizuje kultowy Vision Festival, na którym gromadzi różne środowiska artystyczne. Europa jest częstym celem jego podróży, tutaj jego drogi spotkały się z free-jazzową czołówką Starego Kontynentu: Peterem Kowaldem, Peterem Brotzmannem, Hanem Benninkiem, Derkiem Bailey’em i Louisem Sclavisem. Obecnie, razem z perkusistą Hamidem Drake'iem, tworzy tandem uważany za najlepszą sekcję rytmiczną na świecie.

Hamid Drake - uważany jest za jednego z najlepszych perkusistów muzyki improwizowanej. Jest znany z łączenia free jazzu z elementami world music. Karierę zaczynał w środowisku chicagowskiego AACM. Długoletni partner zespołów Freda Andersona, z którym współpracował nieprzerwanie od 1974 r. Studiował grę na egzotycznych instrumentach perkusyjnych. Od roku 1976 r. współpracował z Adamem Rudolphem, od roku 1977 był członkiem The Mandingo Griot Society. Od 1978 r. okazjonalnie współpracował też z Donem Cherrym. Nie unika kontaktów z młodszymi muzykami z Chicago, jak DKV (Drake/Kessler/Vandermark) Trio. Równocześnie Drake jest perkusistą różnych formacji Petera Brötzmanna. Współpracował także z Joe McPhee, Bill Laswellem czy Marilyn Crispell. Obok jazzu interesuje go różnego rodzaju muzyka etniczna, głównie o afrykańskim rodowodzie, nie stroni też od grania reggae. Znakomicie wypada współpraca Drake'a w różnego rodzaju duetach z basistą Williamem Parkerem oraz w Indigo Trio z Nicole Mitchell oraz Harrisonem Bankheadem. Powołał gwiazdorski skład BINDU, z którym nagrał trzy płyty. W 2012 wystąpił w ramach festiwalu Krakowska Jesień Jazzowa z polską grupą Hera Wacława Zimpla. Koncert został zarejestrowany i wydany rok później jako płyta pt. "Seven Lines".

Monday, May 5, 2014

Janusz Mackiewicz – Frogsville (2008)

Grzegorz Nagorski - trombone
Dariusz Herbasz - saxophone
Dominik Bukowski - vibraphone
Janusz Mackiewicz - bass
Adam Czerwinski - drums

ECNALUMBA 002





By Adam Baruch

This is the second album as a leader by Polish Jazz bassist / composer Janusz Mackiewicz. It is a live recording, which also features saxophonist Dariusz Herbasz, trombonist Grzegorz Nagorski, vibraphonist Dominik Bukowski and drummer Adam Czerwinski, all well seasoned players from the Polish Baltic Tricity scene. The quintet performs seven compositions, six of which are original compositions: four by Mackiewicz, one each by Bukowski and Herbasz and the last one is a Charles Mingus tune.

The music is all well within mainstream Jazz, but the excellent compositions and spotless execution turn it into a very pleasant listening experience, mostly low key and somewhat subdued. The music is definitely not trying to break any new musical ground, but it does represent highly professional well played contemporary Jazz, which is accessible to a wide Jazz audience and should satisfy most regular Jazz connoisseurs all over the world.

In many respects this music has a nostalgic feel of the be bop hay days as captured during the 1950s and 1960s on Blue Note, Prestige and other labels, but with a more contemporary sound quality. This album is definitely worth checking out, especially for Polish Jazz collectors, as it proves beyond any doubt that Polish Jazz musicians can play classic Jazz as well as the guys across the pond.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Moon Hoax – Moon Hoax (2014)

Michal Karbowski - guitar
Ju Ghan - bass
Przemyslaw Borowiecki - drums
Marcin Ciupidro - vibraphone
Michal Bak - saxophone
Klaudiusz Klosek - trumpet

TKLIWI NIHILISCI



By Adam Baruch

This is an excellent debut album by young Polish Jazz / Fusion ensemble Moon Hoax, co-founded by guitarist Michal Karbowski and bassist Ju Ghan. The lineup is completed by trumpeter Klaudiusz Klosek, saxophonist Michal Bak, vibraphonist / electronic sounds creator Marcin Ciupidro and drummer Przemyslaw Borowiecki. The album presents nine original compositions, all by Karbowski.

The music of Moon Hoax is a modernized and updated version of Brass Rock / Jazz-Rock Fusion movement represented by a plethora of bands active in late 1960s and early 1970s, like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Chicago, If, Dreams, Chase and many others. If any of those bands would have been active today, they would probably sound quite similar to Moon Hoax, but since Brass Rock is a lost Art Form, this album is a true delight, not only as a kind of retro trip down the nostalgic lane, but as an ass-kicking splendid piece of music, which is fresh and excellent in every respect.

Based on solid melody lines, which are then arranged for the entire ensemble, the music balances between the Jazzy brass section (which sounds much "bigger" than it actually is) and the Rocky guitar, with the vibraphone and electronic sounds filling the spaces and adding the contemporary layer. The rhythm section rocks steadily, but with finesse and great respect for the soloists. There are very few contemporary ensembles which are able to produce such invigorating music of such quality, which puts this album in a class by itself.

Hopefully Moon Hoax will find a way to take this music into the future and find new directions, without loosing the charm. It will be hell to create another such great album as that one; you have been warned!

In the meantime let's celebrate and enjoy this little gem, as such miracles happen rarely. This is definitely a stunning debut!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Orange Trane Acoustic Trio – Fugu (2014)

Dominik Bukowski - vibraphone
Piotr Lemanczyk - bass
Tomasz Losowski - drums

SOLITON 347






By Adam Baruch

This is the fourth album by the Polish Jazz ensemble Orange Trane, and the second album by its second incarnation now called Orange Trane Acoustic Trio, which consists of vibraphonist Dominik Bukowski, bassist Piotr Lemanczyk and drummer Tomasz Losowski. The album includes ten tracks, nine of which are original compositions: seven by Lemanczyk and two by Bukowski, and one is a standard.

The music of Orange Trane is a beautiful amalgam of Jazz, contemporary Classical and World Music influences, performed with incredible virtuosity and impeccable taste. Bukowski plays vibraphone, marimba and xylosynth – a synthesized version of the xylophone, Lemanczyk plays both acoustic and electric basses and Losowski plays a wide array of percussive instruments; together they create a magic atmosphere of intimate acoustic music which is full of mystery, with scents of ancient times and far away places. The whole album is like a soundtrack of an imaginary voyage, with each track enfolding a new panorama.

The intimate acoustic setting emphasizes each individual sound and the sheer virtuosity of these performances, which are truly amazing. Personally Lemanczyk, who also composed most of the music, is the most impressive performer, with breathtaking solos and superb control of his instruments, but his colleagues also stand shoulder to shoulder with him, contributing equally well. Bukowski sets the main melodic themes, using a wide array of sounds between completely acoustic and electronically generated and Losowski drives the whole affair rhythmically, but gently enough to be in sync with the rest of the music.

This is intelligent, delicate and elegant music, which is a true pleasure to listen to, and which stimulates the intellectual parts of the listener's brain at the same time, a rare commodity these days. Although perhaps not groundbreaking, it is definitely graceful and unique, deserving to be heard by as many music connoisseurs as possible. Well done indeed!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Bartosz Pernal/Michal Szkil Quintet – Jazz Getxo (2014)

Bartosz Pernal - trombone
Maurycy Wojcinski - trumpet
Michak Szkil - piano
Michal Kapczuk - bass
Grzegorz Maslowski - drums

ERRABAL 065




By Adam Baruch

Like several other young Polish Jazz ensembles before them, the quintet co-led by trombonist Bartosz Pernal and pianist Michal Szkil won the international Jazz Festival Competition at Getxo, Spain, and as a result their concert was released by a local record label, which is also their debut album. In addition to Pernal and Szkil the quintet also includes trumpeter Maurycy Wojcinski, bassist Michal Kapczuk and drummer Grzegorz Maslowski. The live recording presents five tunes, three of which are original compositions by Pernal, one is a John Coltrane composition and the remaining one is a Kenny Wheeler piece.

As usual in such cases it is quite amazing to witness the level of musicianship and skill presented by these young musicians. Obviously well schooled and full of individual talent they create energetic and highly sophisticated modern mainstream. The original compositions are all top notch and their treatment of the standards is unusual and very sensitive. Of course the live recording reveals also minor glitches committed in the heat of the process, but those are completely insignificant in the overall view of things. The quintet has a somewhat unusual sound with the trombone / trumpet front, which adds to its attraction.

As far as the individual performances are concerned, the two co-leaders present the highest level of technical skill and inventiveness. Szkil is particularly worth following as his piano magic will surely find a large following sooner or later. The trumpeter is full of bravado and imagination, but he keeps missing a note here and there, which is noticeable. The rhythm section is excellent and adds a significant layer to the overall sound and presentation.

Overall here comes another group of young Polish Jazz lions, which will create the next generation of the local Jazz scene in the years to come. Considering how great they are already, the future definitely looks bright!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dominik Bukowski – Times Get Changed (2008)

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet
Jacek Namyslowski - trombone
Lukasz Poprawski - saxophone
Dominik Bukowski - vibraphone
Maciej Szczycinski - bass
Sebastian Frankiewicz - drums

ECNALUBMA




By Adam Baruch

This is the second album as a leader by Polish Jazz vibraphonist / composer Dominik Bukowski, one of the most prominent representatives of Poland's Baltic seashore scene. Bukowski's output over the years is quite prolific and impressive, but stylistically it is mostly associated with lyrical and melodic Jazz, whereas on this album he presents a brass oriented hard bop setting with a distinct "retro" sound and brass dominated arrangements. The album consists of eight original compositions, all by Bukowski (assumedly as credits are not mentioned on the album's cover). The music is performed by a sextet, which besides Bukowski includes also trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik, trombonist Jacek Namyslowski, saxophonist Lukasz Poprawski, bassist Maciej Szczycinski and drummer Sebastian Frankiewicz. It was recorded at the excellent Studio Tokarnia and engineered by Jan Smoczynski with excellent results, as usual.

The music is dominated by the brass section and Bukowski plays solo sparingly, which altogether reflects his position as a leader of this session in the composer's and arranger's seats rather than upfront as an instrumentalists. That unselfish decision is of course praiseworthy and also creates a superb ensemble sound, which is after all one of the centerpieces of the Jazz experience. Needless to say the individual performances by all the participants are above reproach. The brass players perform numerous excellent solos, the vibraphone lays out the harmonic parts and the excellent rhythm section moves the music forward with considerable drive but without being overbearing.

In retrospect this is a remarkable album, well worth discovering and re-visiting. It is sadly rarely mentioned among the important Polish Jazz recordings, although it definitely deserves an honorable mention, as it is quite different from most other albums recorded in Poland in the first decade of the 21st Century. It is definitely worthy a place in any Jazz connoisseur's collection and a proud item in Bukowski's already remarkable legacy.
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