Monday, July 13, 2015

Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet – Polka (2014)

Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet

Oskar Torok - trumpet
Marek Pospieszalski - saxophone
Joanna Duda - piano
Wojtek Mazolewski - double bass
Qba Janicki - drums
Michał Bryndal - drums
Sara Brylewska- voice


AGORA 9788326813801

By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by Polish Jazz bassists/composer Wojtek Mazolewski and his quintet, which also includes Slovak trumpeter Oskar Torok, saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski, pianist Joanna Duda and drummers Qba Janicki and Michał Bryndal. The album presents twelve compositions (one repeated twice), six of which are originals by Mazolewski, two are originals by Duda, one is credited to the entire quintet and three are covers.

The music on this album was written over a long period of time and reflects the personal life of the leader and the touring experiences by his quintet, as well as their musical preferences. It is a mixed bag of various influences, including Jazz but not necessarily strictly connected with Jazz, as usual with Mazolewski's albums. His tap-dance between Jazz and more popular Pop & Rock idioms seem to work miracles during the quintet's live shows, which are extremely well attended by enthusiastic audiences, but it does not translate that well into albums, like this one, which are a mixed, unfocused bag.

Of course these are top-notch players, especially Duda, who displays a remarkable ability to adopt her playing to the various musical environments present herein and sets her own voice in her compositions. The sound is smooth and likeable as is the music and overall this album is a lot of fun to listen to, but leaves very little of an afterthought.

The album is beautifully packaged in a fancy digibook format, with great photos and Mazolewski's reflections about the music. BTW the work "Polka" has a double meaning: a Folk dance (of Czech origin) and a Polish female person; a dichotomy Mazolewski explores in detail.

I had a lot fun listening to this album but at the same time, as with all albums by Mazolewski, I feel a bit cheated, always getting a bit less than I hoped for. Some music simply does sound better live…

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