Friday, February 3, 2017

The Flash! – Siła (2016)

The Flash!

Sławomir Pezda - tenor saxophone
Jakub Dworak - bass
Max Olszewski - drums



By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish trio The Flash!, which consists of saxophonist Sławomir Pezda, bassist Jakub Dworak and drummer Max Olszewski. The album presents eleven original compositions, all by Pezda.

The music is a very surprising twist of Punk/Rock/Jazz power trio approach, very similar to the stuff done by Scandinavian trio The Thing. Pezda's solid tunes are structured and melodic enough to be easily followed and serve as a basis for his lengthy improvisations. The bass uses electronic fuzz and distortion to produce a very thick and loud sound and the drums are primarily used to supply a straightforward steady beat. The overall idea is to sound as loud and uncomplicated as possible, providing a hypnotic and easy to follow grove, although the saxophone improvisations are far from simplistic.

It is difficult to guess if the band recorded this album as a cynical exercise to ridicule some of the contemporary directions in Jazz, which tend to castrate the music from its artistic values and its power, or perhaps this is a serious protest against the musical establishment, hypocrisy of the Art world and other social dilemmas. Whatever the motivation might be, this is a very strong statement, which is difficult to be ignored.

Some of the Polish musicians who established the Yass movement in the 1990s might smile and say to themselves "we have already tried this ages ago", but in all fairness this music has perhaps some of the Yass attitude, but musically it is quite different and often much more ambitious. Pezda's performances on this album are a unique example of treating the saxophone as a Rock instrument, similar to what was quite natural in the early 1960s as part of the Rhythm And Blues and Big Beat music, and than completely disappeared.

This album is definitely worth hearing and experiencing (watch the volume!) and it is difficult to predict how it will be accepted by the Jazz audiences, but it's pretty easy to guess that the young generation should love it, as it usually loves everything that is loud and projects anti-establishment (in music this time). Congrats to the band for being unconventional! I had a great fun listening to this stuff!

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