Monday, May 13, 2019

Eryk Kulm Quintessence – Private Things (2019)

Eryk Kulm Quintessence

Rasul Siddik - trumpet
Marcin Kaletka - tenor & soprano saxophones
Michał Szkil - piano
Michał Jaros - bass
Eryk Kulm - drums

Private Things


By Adam Baruch

This is an album by veteran Polish Jazz drummer/composer Eryk Kulm recorded with his Quintessence quintet, which includes American trumpeter Rasul Siddik and young Polish Jazz saxophonist Marcin Kaletka, pianist Michał Szkil and bassist Michał Jaros. The album presents six pieces, four (one repeated twice with an alternate take) of which are original compositions by Kulm and one is by American pianist/composer Dolph Castellano.

The music is surprisingly different from most of the output created on the Polish Jazz scene, completely dominated by American Jazz influences, not only due to the presence of Siddik, a relatively well known AACM member now resident in Europe, who displays his emblematic Post Bop/Avant-Garde mixture which he has been playing for the last fifty years, but also due to Kulm's rough compositions, which are basically just a base for the improvisations by the quintet members. The music is open enough to allow the musicians to contribute individually significantly more so than in a more structured environment.

The true surprise of the album are the three young Polish Jazz musicians, who not only are able to fit into the environment set by the two veterans, but actually to make the most effective contributions musically. Kaletka, Szkil and Jaros sound like true pros and in comparison to their other recorded projects (all three took part in several recordings already), they are able to open up and move into the specific "Chicago school" with ease, elegance and considerable vigor.

Of course it is great to see Kulm return to recording after several years of absence and see him in his full creative power. Hopefully this album will be followed shortly by more new projects. For lovers of the more ambitious American Jazz variety this album should be quite interesting, not only because it offers some excellent performances, but mainly because it is composed and performed mostly by Polish Jazz musicians, who once again prove that they can match if not beat their colleagues from across the pond.

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