Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Janczarski & McCraven Quintet – Travelling East West (2015)

Janczarski & McCraven Quintet

Borys Janczarski - tenor saxophone
Rasul Siddik - trumpet, flutes, percussion
Joanna Gajda - piano
Adam Kowalewski - double bass
Stephen McCraven - drums

Travelling East West


By Adam Baruch

This is an album by the Polish/American quintet co-led by Polish saxophonist Borys Janczarski and American drummer Stephen McCraven, with Polish pianist Joanna Gajda, bassist Adam Kowalewski and American trumpeter Rasul Siddik. Together they perform eight tunes, seven of which are originals (three by Janczarski, two by Gajda and one each by McCraven and Siddik) and one is a standard by Woody Shaw.

The music is standard mainstream Jazz, with nice compositions and eloquent execution, but sadly not remarkable in any way. Except for the singular Siddik's tune, which has an interesting World Music motif, the rest of the material is well within the Bebop or even Swing tradition, which has been already exploited to death decades ago. The musicians are all professionals, but one can find hardly anything out of ordinary by any of them on this album. Siddik's presence in these proceedings seems completely accidental, considering his past musical path.

Of course many Jazz enthusiasts still like this kind of music, especially in America, where it still rules, but honestly it contributes nothing to the development of Jazz nowadays and recording such music, especially in Poland, as good as it might be, does not make much sense. Overall it is a pleasant, well played mainstream album, which surely will please many mainstream listeners, but is definitely not something I'd play again after enjoying it once.

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