Saturday, September 24, 2016

Piotr Scholz – Suite The Road (2016)

Piotr Scholz

Poznań Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra
Krzysztof Dys - piano
Tomasz Orłowski - trumpet
Maciej Kociński - soprano saxophone
Jakub Skowroński - tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Kuba Marciniak - tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute
Piotr Banyś - trombone
Damian Kostka - double bass
Adam Zagórski - drums

Suite The Road


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album as a leader by Polish Jazz guitarist/composer/conductor Piotr Scholz, which presents a five-part suite for Jazz Orchestra. The music is performed by the Poznań Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra (PJPO), conducted by Scholz, which includes thirteen excellent players, most notably Krzysztof Dys on piano.

The music is an ambitious attempt to combine the contemporary Classical and Jazz idioms, which overall works quite well. The melodic themes arranged for the entire range of the orchestra, including vocalese, flow smoothly and feature numerous solos parts by the orchestra members. The music does not cross the boundaries of the mainstream expressionism, but keeps developing steadily and is able to keep the listener interested throughout the entire piece. The question remains if this music could have not been performed by a small ensemble, like a quintet for example, and if the orchestral arrangements add anything substantial to the musical content. But that is beyond the point here.

But of course it is commendable that young Polish Jazz musicians/composers are still interested in the Big Band/Orchestral forms, which have been grossly neglected in the last few decades, after flourishing in the early days of the Jazz idiom. Therefore this effort by Scholz is an important part of the young Polish Jazz scene, which witnesses an incredible renaissance of the genre. Hopefully his orchestra will continue to exist, perform and make additional recordings in the future.

Overall this is a pleasant album, which explores the realms of orchestral Jazz, and as such deserves to be heard and praised. Scholz still has to travel a bit on "the road" before he reaches his destination, but it is actually the travel that matters and not the final goal, as some wise men say. In the meantime well done!

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