Marcin Oleś - double bass
Bartłomiej Oleś - drums
One Step From The Past
By Adam Baruch
This is a beautiful album by the Polish Jazz duo comprising of two brothers: bassist Marcin Oleś and drummer Bartłomiej Oleś, collectively known as the Oleś Brothers. Although they are, what in the Jazz world is known as a "rhythm section", and not just any rhythm section but by far one of the top European rhythm sections at that, but in fact they are much more than just a rhythm section, often creating the notion that they are a two man orchestra. Of course they also write music, very exquisite music, they run their own record label and if all that does not suffice, they are a couple of wonderful human beings, which I am proud to call my friends.
The music presented on this album was recorded at the invitation of the BBC and intended for the prestigious "Jazz on 3" program. It was recorded at Studio S4 of Polish Radio in Warsaw and presents eight pieces, three of which were composed by Marcin, two by Bartłomiej, another two co-composed by both brothers and one is a standard.
For people unfamiliar with the Oleś Brothers phenomenon it is quite impossible to imagine the depth and richness of the music this duo is capable of creating just by playing with each other. Although it might seem logical that the bass would play the melody and the drums the rhythm, nothing can be taken for granted with these guys and role reversal is perfectly normal for them. Of course there are many virtuosic bassist and drummers around, but there is hardly any bass/drums duo which comes even near to the level of inventiveness, imagination, creativity and elegance of this particular duo.
In many respects this music belongs to the moment it was created. Improvised music is often very impressive when performed live, but loses almost all of its value and meaning when it is recorded and made into an album in order to be reproduced repeatedly. Sometimes it is painful to listen to such music when it completely fails to reproduce the magic moment of its creation. The Oleś Brothers have a great gift, which enables them to create music which sounds breathtakingly beautiful when played live, but also transforms perfectly into the recorded medium, as exemplified here. They are quite a singularity in that respect.
Many Polish Jazz musicians managed to create wonderful albums over the years, but only very few ones manage to maintain the same level of achievements and such consistency like the Oleś Brothers, both as a duo and individually. Therefore each and every one of their albums is simply a must to every serious Jazz/Improvised Music connoisseur, this one included of course. Although this music is half a decade old at the time of its release, it is a perfect example of timelessness and intrinsic aesthetic values that exist outside of the fourth dimension's scale. All I have to say is a humble thank you!