Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra – Nature Moves (2014)

Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra

Wacław Zimpel - clarinets
Paweł Postaremczak - saxophones
Dominik Strycharski - flutes
Jacek Kita - upright piano
Maciej Cierliński - hurdy-gurdy
Wojtek Traczyk - double bass
Mike Majkowski - double bass
Paweł Szpura - drums
Hubert Zemler - drums

Nature Moves


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish Jazz clarinetist / composer / bandleader Wacław Zimpel and his nonet called To Tu Orchestra (the name is probably a wink in the direction of the legendary Warsaw club Pardon, To Tu), which includes saxophonist Paweł Postaremczak, flautist Dominik Strycharski, hurdy-gurdy player Maciej Cierliński, pianist Jacek Kita, bassists Wojtek Traczyk and Mike Majkowski and drummers Paweł Szpura and Hubert Zemler. The album includes six original compositions, arranged into three mini suites, of one, three and two parts respectively.

The music is in many respects a continuation of Zimpel's earlier work with the group Hera, which combines elements of avant-garde, Jazz and contemporary Classical music with World Music from all over the world. The strongest influence on this album is minimal music pioneered decades earlier by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley and others, which Zimpel embraces, most evidently in the first of the three mini suites but in fact throughout the entire album. The repeated structures returning cyclically, typical in minimal music, which are normally produced by electronic or acoustic orchestral patterns, are created here by World Music patterns, like Balinese gamelan music, slowly changing and intensifying until they reach a massive sound, but do not reach an expected crescendo. Minimalism continues to be present in the rest of the compositions, simply changing the geographic colorization, using Japanese, Middle Eastern and other folkloristic influences.

Zimpel is undoubtedly a master of atmosphere and building tension, which accompany his earlier work as well, but come to a fruition and perfection on this album. The large ensemble allows him to "paint" much denser multilayered vistas, which move freely in the World Music universe. The music does not actually get into Jazzy improvisation until the very last piece on the album, so listeners anticipating that facet of Zimpel's music are in for a disappointment.

What emerges here is a new type of minimal music which amalgamates the earlier forms of minimalism with World Music, creating a World Minimal Music. Zimpel evidently had a great fun creating this music and it is also very listenable, but the fundamental question as to what Zimpel wanted to achieve remains open, at least in my case. I have not been overwhelmed neither by the aesthetics nor by the musical result, which after all simply states nihil novi sub sole. But it is very well done for sure!

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