Monday, August 17, 2015

Leszek Żądło/European Art Ensemble – Emotion (2015)

Leszek Żądło/European Art Ensemble

Leszek Żądło - saxophone
August-Wilhelm Scheer - saxophone
Wojciech Groborz - piano
Tolek Lisiecki - bass
Wiesław Jamioł - drums



By Adam Baruch

Polish (resident in Germany) Jazz saxophonist/composer/educator Leszek Żądło (born 1945) is one of the most formidable representatives of the first post WWII generation of Polish Jazz musicians. He was also one of the first amongst the Polish Jazz musicians to leave his country, which he did in the mid-1960s, first to Austria and then to Germany. Of course he still keeps very strong ties with the Polish Jazz scene and plays there often, and his ensembles often include other Polish Jazz musicians. On a personal note, Leszek and I have been friends since many decades.

Musically Żądło is a modernist, playing contemporary Jazz based mostly on the post John Coltrane tradition and his virtuosic abilities as a player place him in the top class of the Polish Jazz saxophonists, if not at the very top. His compositions are all classics of the Polish Jazz tradition, continuing, perhaps in the closest possible way, the path set by the compositions of Krzysztof Komeda.

This album is a live recording of a quintet led by Żądło, which also features the German baritone saxophonist August-Wilhelm Scheer and Polish Jazz musicians: pianist Wojciech Groborz, bassist Tolek Lisiecki and drummer Wiesław Jamioł. The quintet performs eight compositions, one of which is an original by Żądło and seven are standards, three of them by John Coltrane and two by Wayne Shorter, i.e. classic modern Jazz material.

Obviously an informal session, this music is all about having a good time and playing some great music. For listeners unfamiliar with Żądło's abilities as a player this is a wonderful opportunity to hear a true Master at work. Scheer also plays some very fine solos. The rhythm section supports the two soloists sympathetically and solidly. Overall this is a classic live modern Jazz recording, which should appeal to all lovers of the genre. The Żądło original, which is also the longest track on the album, is an absolute marvel.

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