Szymon Wójciński - piano
Maurycy Wójciński - trumpet
Ksawery Wójciński - double bass
Krzysztof Szmańda - drums
By Adam Baruch
This is a debut album by the Wójciński/Szmańda Quartet, which comprises of trumpeter Maurycy Wójciński, pianist Szymon Wójciński, bassist Ksawery Wójciński and drummer Krzysztof Szmańda. It presents eight original compositions, which are not credited on the album's cover and are therefore assumed to be co-composed by all the quartet members.
The Wójciński brothers are quite known on the Polish scene, each of them active in a separate setting, and this more or less spontaneous meeting of their respective talents is quite a surprise. They claim that the participation of Szmańda was the decisive factor, which turned the four individuals into a bona fide Jazz quartet.
The music, which is very difficult to describe as it eschews most of the Jazz conventions, is a form of conversation, which allows space and freedom for the individual players, but is coherent enough to create an aesthetic whole, which also makes a musical sense, although definitely does not try to make it easy to be absorbed. It develops slowly, often from an individual sound, changing into a duet and then being joined by the others, to eventually reach an ensemble form, with all four musicians contributing with equal intensity.
Although all four musicians are obvious masters of their personal instruments, the true hero of this album is beyond the doubt Ksawery Wójciński, who serves as the binding, driving and steering element, without which this music would have simply fallen apart. His virtuosity and self-confidence construct the spine on which the other performances relay for balance and guidance. Nevertheless the other musicians contribute formidably, with Maurycy producing several scorching solos and Szymon playing many brilliant phrases and laying the harmonic base for the improvisations. Szmańda brilliantly does not attempt to play any straightforward rhythms and turns his contributions into Baroque ornamentations, which simply emphasize the basic beauty of the musical structures created by the brothers.
Overall this is a brilliant Free Jazz/Improvised music album, bold, adventurous and interesting, which should make the participants proud of their work. There are endless little gems in this music that are worth being discovered and as such turn this album into a potentially repeated listening experience. It is also a superb example of music, which in spite of the strong element of freedom it is based on, does not venture into chaos and introvert expression that limits communication with the listener. This is definitely one of the strongest statements on the Polish Free Jazz/Improvised Music scene in 2016 (although recorded two years earlier) and another excellent release on the Fundacja Słuchaj Records.