Saturday, January 24, 2015

Jazzpospolita – Jazzpo! (2014)


Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer - guitar
Michał Załęski - keyboards
Stefan Nowakowski - bass
Wojtek Oleksiak - drums



By Adam Baruch

This is the fourth album by Polish group Jazzpospolita, which consists of guitarist Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer, keyboardist Michał Załęski, bassist Stefan Nowakowski and drummer Wojtek Oleksiak. The album presents ten original compositions (eleven tracks with one tune repeated twice), all assumedly co-composed by all four band members. The music was recorded at the legendary Studio Tokarnia with Jan Smoczyński presiding at the knobs, which naturally results in excellent sound quality, as usual.

This album is the first new music Jazzpospolita reveals since their second album, i.e. in over two years, which kept the many fans of the group in suspense. The fact is that this is new music but there is not so much new in the music itself, as if the group simply glided over time doing more or less the same thing they have been doing more or less since they started. Nothing wrong with that of course, but in a long range even the most loyal followers might loose interest.

But innovation aside, Jazzpospolita is still a very unique voice on the Polish scene, filling a niche for the young generation of music lovers, who are not really into Jazz proper on one hand, but who are bored with the contemporary Pop and Ambient scenes on the other hand. The group manages to produce nice melodic riffs, stretched over extended ambient passages and featuring some impressive guitar lead lines, which are overall quite hypnotic and engaging. This music has a chameleonic quality of fitting into many different listening environments, from background music while driving to intensive direct involvement with the music.

The four individual musicians make a remarkable contribution to the overall group sound and feel of the entire ensemble. The guitarist carries most of the leading voice, but his role would have been impossible without the rich background created by the keyboards and the superb rhythm section. Rhythmically the music is mostly Rocky, with steady bit and pulse, while the keyboards and the guitar create the improvisational dimension, which associates the music with the Jazz idiom. Combined with the Ambient sound the Rock and Jazz ingredients amalgamate into a unique mixture, which is distinctly Jazzpospolita.

Of course this is the best album the group created so far, and the most fun to listen to, but the group should be aware of the danger of stretching this formula for one more album. Hopefully they will reinvent themselves for the next one, leaving us in the meantime having a good time with this one. Thank you Gentlemen!

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