Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jerzy Milian – Neuroimpressions (2016)

Jerzy Milian

Jerzy Milian - vibraphone

and others


GAD 050

By Adam Baruch

This is the sixth installment of the archival series released by GAD Records, which presents the work of Polish Jazz vibraphonist/composer/bandleader Jerzy Milian. This chapter is dedicated to Milian's recordings from the early 1970s, done with small ensembles in Hungary and East Germany (DDR), captured during three separate sessions, each producing three tracks. All nine tracks are original compositions by Milian.

The Hungarian session was recorded with a quartet led by trumpeter Rudolf Tomsits with included also pianist Gyorgy Vukan, bassist Balazs Berkes and drummer Vilmos Javori. Both East German sessions find Milian accompanied by the legendary saxophonist Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, bassist Klaus Koch and drummer Willibald Winkler. Trumpeter Heinz Becker participated on just one of these sessions.

The music is by far the most avant-garde of all Milian's compositions presented on this series, and although obviously composed, it sounds like spontaneously Improvised Music most of the time. Both the Hungarian and the East German musicians were at the time representatives of the East European Free Jazz/Improvised Music scene, and their bold and adventurous attitude put them on the same level as their counterparts from across the Iron Wall. Petrowsky's saxophone work does not differ much from what Evan Parker played at the time in the UK or Willem Breuker played in Netherlands and so on.

From the historical perspective this album presents one more layer of Milian's diversity and versatility, which is certainly much less known than his Big Band activity, which made him popular among listeners of less complex music. There is no doubt that Milian was able to take advantage of the opportunities the Eastern Block had to offer, in order to create some of the most audacious music made at the time anywhere on the planet. As usual the original recordings are excellently remastered and the booklet offer informative bi-lingual background information about the music and the time it was created at. It is yet another must for all East European Jazz fans and collectors!

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