Saturday, May 5, 2018

Wojciech Majewski – Nie Było Lata (2017)

Wojciech Majewski

Wojciech Majewski - piano
Henryk Miśkiewicz - alto saxophone
Robert Murakowski - trumpet, flugelhorn
Sławomir Kurkiewicz - double bass
Paweł Pańta - double bass
Michał Miśkiewicz - drums

Krzysztof Szmańda - percussion
and others

Nie Było Lata

MTJ 11769

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by Polish Jazz pianist/composer Wojciech Majewski, dedicated to poetry written by the relatively esoteric Polish poet/playwright Stanisław Grochowiak. This ambitious and complex project involves an ensemble of Polish Jazz instrumentalists, a string quartet, a brass/woodwind section, six vocalists and two persons reciting poems. Some of the well known musicians appearing on this album are: saxophonist Henryk Miśkiewicz, bassists Sławomir Kurkiewicz and Paweł Pańta, drummer Michał Miśkiewicz, percussionist Krzysztof Szmańda and vocalists Janusz Szrom and Stanisław Soyka. The entire list is simply way too long to be listed. The album presents twenty one relatively short pieces, all linked together into a Jazz & Poetry suite.

The music is a collection of Jazz songs which use the poems as lyrics and background/incidental music played under the recitation of the poems or between the songs. Mostly deeply melancholic and often outright gloomy, the music does ideally suit the texts, which of course is the essence of this project. As such it is a brilliant collaboration of music and words, which expresses the spirit of Grochowiak's complex poetry. The songs are superbly performed by the vocalists invited by the composer and are all a continuation of the Polish lyrical Jazz & Poetry tradition.

There is no doubt that Polish Jazz musicians create more Jazz & Poetry projects than any other country on earth, which reflects their sensitivity to Art Forms other than music. Music and words are of course both expressions of the innermost human feelings and the combination of the two is probably the most powerful means of human creativity. The love of the Polish language and Polish literary tradition is a strong characteristic of this and other similar projects.

Although the language barrier seemingly limits the potential audience to Polish Language speaking listeners, the overall wealth and powerful musical content this album offers should be also of interest to people who do not know the language but can enjoy the music and absorb the Artistic atmosphere. Overall this is a wonderful piece of music artistry, clever, intelligent, sensitive and dazzling in its complexity. It will take a while for the listener to comprehend the multi-layered intricacy of this music and its many hidden treasures, but every effort invested in the listening process will pay back with hefty interest. Definitely most wholeheartedly recommended!

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