Friday, January 4, 2019

Jerzy Milian/Maciej Fortuna/Poznańska Piętnastka – Big Club Band (2018)

Jerzy Milian/Maciej Fortuna/Poznańska Piętnastka

Maciej Fortuna - trumpet/director
Poznańska Piętnastka Orchestra

Big Club Band

SJP 006

By Adam Baruch

This is the second installment of the project dedicated to the music by and the memory of the iconic Polish Jazz vibraphonist / composer / arranger / bandleader Jerzy Milian, carried out trumpeter / composer Maciej Fortuna. The music is performed by the re-activated Poznańska Piętnastka Orchestra (The Poznan Fifteen Orchestra), which was originally co-founded by Milian, in his hometown as a Radio Orchestra and for which he wrote many original compositions. The re-activated Orchestra under the artistic direction of Fortuna consists of young generation Polish Jazz musicians. The album presents seven compositions by Milian and two compositions by Andrzej Zieliński, all arranged and orchestrated by Iwona Witek.

The music Milian composed for the Poznańska Piętnastka Radiowa at the time was not intended to be Jazz oriented but was basically instrumental entertainment music, which was more ambitious than simplistic popular music. The new arrangements stay more or less faithful to the originals but are slightly more Jazzed up and feature more Jazz oriented soloing.

Overall this is only marginally Jazz oriented music, but the album is a nice gesture towards Milian and his contribution to Polish Jazz and Polish music in general and an educational enterprise to get young Jazz musician involved in Big Band/Orchestral music, which is almost completely absent from the contemporary scene.

For people interested in the career of Jerzy Milian and his compositions, this is a welcome reminder of his mostly forgotten and hard to find early works. This album is not a commercial release and as such might be not so easy to find, but its historical and educational values are obvious. It follows the same unusual triangular design, unpractical for storage, but nevertheless very unique.

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