Thursday, April 5, 2018

Antoni Gralak – Ganga (2017)

Antoni Gralak

Antoni Gralak - trumpet, bass, synth, keyboards, sampling
Raj Kumar Verma - sitar
Tayagi Mohanlhl - shanay
Babl - tabla
Zbigniew Brysiak - percussion


AUDIO CAVE 011-2017

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by renowned Polish trumpeter / composer / bandleader Antoni Gralak, one of the most colorful and fascinating figures on the independent / avant garde / anti establishment Polish music scene, who participated in many musical projects like Tie Break, Free Cooperation, Young Power, Graal, Yeshe and others. Completely unpredictably, as always, this album finds Gralak, who plays trumpet, bass guitar and keyboards, in the company of three Indian musicians who play tabla, sitar and shehnai (Indian reed instrument) respectively and Polish percussionist Zbigniew Brysiak. The album presents eight original compositions, all by Gralak.

The music is heavily influenced by ethnic Indian musical motifs, incorporating Jazz improvisations, Drum & Bass, electronics and other elements, creating a fascinating amalgam of melodies and rhythms, which sounds exotic, vibrant and exciting. The folkloristic, innate to Indian music, improvisations intertwine with Gralak's Jazzy playing quite naturally and create a cross-cultural dialogue. Parts of this music bring forward a reminiscence of the Miles Davis sessions featuring Badal Roy, which also showed some Indian influence, albeit much more subtle than here.

Of course Indian music is never simplistic and its meditative nature requires attentive listening and submission, which is not easy to a Western ear, even when slightly dressed up in Western ornament. Some listeners might find this music somewhat monotonic in the long range, but hopefully the majority will be able to embrace it and enjoy it in full, as it surely deserves to reach as many listeners as possible.

Overall the album shows another facet of the multitude of Gralak's talents and musical worlds, which always was his personal signature. The restless search for new discoveries and diverse environments is the trademark of progress in Art in general and in music in particular, and Gralak deserves the title of the Great Wanderer probably more than most of his Polish contemporaries. If anybody can sit still while listening to this album, he is either in coma or dead already.

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