Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Various Artists – Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 27 (2016)

Various Artists

Various Artists

Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 27


By Adam Baruch

This is the twenty-seventh 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 second volume of a collection of tracks from that event.

The first two tracks present a trio led by one of the Godfathers of modern European Jazz, the German pianist/composer Joachim Kuhn with bassist Klaus Koch and drummer Reinhard Schwartz. They perform two original compositions by Kuhn and the performance is one of the earliest examples of European Free Jazz. Kuhn's performance here is absolutely stunning as everything he played at the time, before he moved from East German to West Germany. The fact that his Free Jazz playing was tolerated by the GDR regime is a fascinating story by itself. More details about his activity around the time this music was recorded can be found in the review of the Zbigniew Namysłowski's album "Live At Kosmos, Berlin", which was recorded just a month earlier.

The next four tracks present a quintet led by another Godfather of modern European Jazz, the German trombonist/composer Albert Mangelsdorff with saxophonists Gunter Kronberg and Heinz Sauer, bassist Gunter Lentz and drummer Ralf Hubner. They perform three original compositions by Mangelsdorff and one composition by the British trumpeter/composer Ian Carr, a great pioneer of modern British Jazz. Although the music performed by the Albert Mangelsdorff quintet is not as Free Jazz oriented as that by Joachim Kuhn, it is a superb of early modern European Jazz, which was already emancipated from the American Jazz influence and clearly showed the new direction being created in Europe. Both these performances show the importance of German musicians as co-creators of early European Jazz.

The last track present a sextet led by yet another Godfather of modern European Jazz, the Polish Jazz pianist/composer Andrzej Trzaskowski with American trumpeter Ted Curson (who was living in Europe at the time), saxophonists Janusz Muniak and Włodzimierz Nahorny, bassist Jacek Ostaszewski and drummer Adam Jędrzejowski. They perform one extended original composition by Trzaskowski. The music is again a stunning example of early modern European Jazz and a great precursor of the explosion of the Polish Jazz scene, which was happening at the time.

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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