Sunday, July 9, 2017

Various Artists – Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 30 (2017)

Various Artists

Zbigniew Namysłowski - saxophone
Adam Makowicz - piano
Janusz Kozłowski - bass
Czesław Bartkowski - drums
and others

Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol.30


By Adam Baruch

This is the thirtieth 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 October 1966 during the ninth Jazz Jamboree Festival in Warsaw and are the second volume of a collection of tracks from that event.

The first ten tracks present the legendary French vocal group The Swingle Singers, led by Ward Swingle (an American in Paris) and including seven more vocalists. The vocal octet is accompanied by bassist Guy Pedersen and drummer Daniel Humair. In contrast to the earlier iconic French vocal ensemble Les Double Six (which included several of the Swingle Singers members earlier on), which sung vocal versions of Jazz standards, The Swingle Singers performed mostly vocal Jazz arrangements of Classical Music pieces, by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and others. The tracks present here are all in this particular idiom.

The next two tracks present a trio led by American organist Lou Bennett, who moved to Paris in 1960. The other members of the trio are: Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine and Italian drummer Franco Manzecchi. These tracks are of interest as early examples of Catherine's playing before he started his illustrious solo career. The last track presents a Polish Jazz quartet led by saxophonist Zbigniew Namysłowski, which also includes pianist Adam Matyszkowicz (a.k.a. Adam Makowicz), bassist Janusz Kozłowski and drummer Czesław Bartkowski. They perform an original composition by Namyslowski, recorded on his debut Polish album by the same lineup.

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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