Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dominik Strycharski – Flauto Dolphy (2017)

Dominik Strycharski

Dominik Strycharski - alto, tenor, soprano in B & bass recorders

Flauto Dolphy

FSR 2017/03

By Adam Baruch

This is a solo album by Polish avant-garde/Jazz recorder player and composer Dominik Strycharski. Recorded live in the legendary and now sadly demolished Pardon To Tu club in Warsaw, Strycharski performs eight pieces, five of which are compositions by Eric Dolphy, two are original compositions by Strycharski and one is a Mal Waldron composition. The recording has a crisp and clear sound quality, which adds significantly to the overall ambience.

Performing music composed by Dolphy is always a supreme challenge and doing so on a most unconventional instrument, like the recorder, and playing solo on top of everything is a staggering undertaking. Against all odds Strycharski manages to come out victorious from this adventure, although not entirely unscathed.

Strycharski uses a very unconventional method while playing the recorders, quite different from what listeners familiar with the instrument might expect. His playing involves not only the sound produced from the instrument, but also a sound produced by his mouth and throat, which, when combined, with the sound of the recorder produce very striking and surprising results. Of course it's impossible to describe this phenomenon verbally and only listening to this music will disclose the nature of the beast. This combined human/recorder sound dominates this recording and therefore the listener's reaction depends first and foremost on his ability to accept this sonic aura, which is by far not obvious.

Having crossed the sound barrier so to speak, the listener is exposed to Strycharski's virtuosity and complete command of the music he creates. By using several different recorders and changing his breathing and phrasing, he manages to produce a plethora of different sounds, which keep surprising the listener time after time. Considering that the music is only occasionally completely free form and most of the time is based on some melodic content, it is relatively accessible beyond the strict avant-garde circle of listeners.

The most important question is of course what happens once one removes the novelty, sensationalism, pioneering spirit and element of surprise and examines the pure musical content of this recording. Personally I don't have a clear answer to this wringer. I suppose Dolphy would be the ideal judge of that. Overall this is an unusual, daring and challenging album, which should be of interest to open-minded listeners, who are not afraid to be confronted by a highly individual musical personality, which Strycharski certainly embodies. Definitely worth investigating!

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