Sunday, December 11, 2016

Various Artists – Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 26 (2016)

Various Artists

Various Artists

Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 26


By Adam Baruch

This is the twenty-sixth installment in the series of releases initiated by the Polish Radio, which presents archive Jazz recordings from the radio vaults. Radio recordings are always a fabulous source of remarkable material, and as far as Polish Jazz history is concerned, the Polish Radio, which was a state monopoly for 45 years, recorded over time a plethora of invaluable material, which apart from the albums released by the Polskie Nagrania record company (also a state monopoly), is the only available additional source of Polish Jazz recordings. For many years Polish Radio recorded concerts presented during Poland's most important Jazz venues, including the annual Jazz Jamboree Festival and many other festivals as well.

The tracks presented here were recorded live in December 1965 during the eighth Jazz Jamboree Festival in Warsaw and are the first volume of a collection of tracks from that event. The first five tracks present the great British vocalist Annie Ross, who revolutionized the vocal Jazz idiom as a member of the legendary trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, which she left in late 1962 to start her solo career. She is accompanied by a trio consisting of Polish pianist Wojciech Karolak, bassist Juliusz Sandecki and Swedish drummer Rune Carlsson. All the songs are Jazz standards.

The next four tracks present the great Polish vocal ensemble NOVI Singers in their earliest incarnation as a quintet, which includes in addition to their leader Bernard Kawka also Ewa Wanat, Janusz Mych, Waldemar Parzyński and Aleksander Głuch, who left the ensemble before they recorded their debut album "Bossa Nova" in 1967. NOVI Singers modeled their vocal style on earlier vocal Jazz ensembles like Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, and their tracks appearing immediately following the Ross's tracks is symbolic. NOVI are accompanied by pianist Adam Matyszkowicz (Adam Makowicz), bassist Janusz Kozłowski and drummer Czesław Bartkowski. All the tracks are vocal arrangements of Jazz standards.

The next three tracks present a quartet led by legendary Polish Jazz pianist/trombonist/composer Andrzej Kurylewicz with guitarist Janusz Sidorenko, bassist Roman Dyląg and drummer Jerzy Bartz. The rare appearance of Kurylewicz playing the trombone is one of the highlights of this album. They perform a couple of adaptations, one of a classical piece by Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko and the other of a folk tune and finally one original composition by Kurylewicz.

The last two tracks present a quartet led by legendary Polish Jazz saxophonist/composer Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski with pianist Wojciech Karolak, bassist Juliusz Sandecki (here misspelled as Janusz), and drummer Andrzej Dąbrowski. They perform on original composition by Wróblewski and an extended version of a Miles Davis classic.

The beautifully restored sound quality is excellent and the warm ambience of the analog recording is a true joy. As usual with this series, which is very reasonably priced, I miss the presence of "in depth" liner notes/booklet, which should convey the circumstances at which this music was recorded and its importance to the development of Jazz in Poland. Nevertheless this is an absolutely essential piece of Jazz history which every Jazz fan will surely consider an absolute must.

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