Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Improvision Quartet – Free-Folk-Jazz (2017)

Improvision Quartet

Szymon Klima - clarinet
Dominik Wania - piano
Adam Kowalewski - double bass
Przemysław Jarosz - drums



By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish ensemble called Improvision Quartet, which comprises of clarinetist Szymon Klima, pianist Dominik Wania, bassist Adam Kowalewski and drummer Przemysław Jarosz. The album presents six improvisations based on Polish musical Folklore, arranged by the quartet. The album offers an unprecedented high quality recording sound, definitely one of the best I came across this year (2017).

The music, as already mentioned above, consists of Free Form improvisations based on Polish Folklore songs, some of those being well known and others completely obscure. The quartet offers a remarkable ensemble work, which presents a coherent and clear artistic vision, consistently developed throughout the album, deeply rooted in Free Jazz/Improvised Music tradition, but also astonishingly minimalistic, focused and full of breathing space. There is a beautiful atmosphere of relaxation and complete lack of pressure to state anything beyond the necessary. In some respects this album is the continuation of the "Lutosławski Retuned" album recorded three years earlier, but the statements are much bolder and refined this time.

The individual contributions by these virtuosi musicians are all absolutely brilliant from start to finish. The minimalistic approach allows for many solo/duo/trio and eventually also quartet statements, which expose each of the participants in complete "nakedness". Not surprisingly they all manage to come victorious from the challenging circumstances, which present to the listener some of the best moments these musicians ever put on record. Wania's contributions are definitely stellar and for me personally probably they are his best playing ever so far. His wondrous ability to say so much with just a few touches of the keyboard is simply miraculous. But Klima, Kowalewski and especially Jarosz also contribute amazing moments, with the latter producing some of the most amazing percussive effects I had the pleasure to hear.

This is definitely one of the finest hours of Polish Jazz in 2017, although it will probably not achieve the praise it deserves, as usual on the Polish scene, where often some pretty dismal albums get all the distinctions, prizes and attention. Well, life is not fair and people are stupid and deaf.

This is an amazing album from start to finish, which redefines the contemporary Free Jazz idiom, again emphasizing the fact that sublime things in Jazz happen only in Europe. One needs to be born in Poland and suck the Polish Culture from one's mother's breast, to be able to play like that and create music like this one. Luckily the Art aesthetic is universal and anybody on this Earth of ours, with some soul and musical ears should be able to enjoy this music on the deepest level. Absolutely brilliant!

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