Friday, November 8, 2019

Janusz Szuber – W Centrum Źrenicy (2019)

Janusz Szuber

Janusz Szuber - recitation
Julia Kotarba - cello
Łukasz Sabat - vocals, duduk, alto saxophone
Wojciech Inglot - piano, keys

W Centrum Źrenicy


By Adam Baruch

This is an absolutely delightful album presenting the poetry by Polish poet Janusz Szuber, accompanied by three musicians: cellist Julia Kotarba, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Łukasz Sabat and keyboardist/saxophonist Wojciech Inglot – the last two known together as the Insza duo. Szuber selected eighteen poems form his wide-ranging poetic legacy, which he recites, and the three musicians composed the music, which they perform accompanying his recitation.

Although the music encompasses a wide stylistic range, I warmly embrace this album as part of the Polish Jazz & Poetry realm, as it has a distinctive Jazzy feel about it, if not stylistically surely conceptually. This amalgamation of words and music turns out to be especially effective primarily due to the fact that the music was carefully constructed to fit to the intrinsic rhythm of the poems and their natural "musicality", as well as the careful balance between the recitation, which is distinctly forefront, and the music which respectfully stays in the background, although being perfectly well audible. Of course, as usual with Jazz & Poetry projects, the final result is way more than just the sum of its ingredients.

The poetry of Szuber is a multilayered and highly emotional affair. His usage of vocabulary, mostly based on everyday, seemingly simple language, conceals deeply philosophical, often harsh reflections about life's truths, and yet always points towards the light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that he spent most of his lifetime in a wheelchair did not manage to let him become dominated by bitterness, which is of course commendable. Sadly the language layer of this project is limited to Polish speaking public, although personally I love Jazz & Poetry recordings which include languages completely unfamiliar to me – the power of this idiom often transcend language barriers. I can only hope that this little gem of an album gets to as many listeners as possible, as it truly deserves an audience. Most warmly recommended!

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