Saturday, November 2, 2019

ZK Collaboration – Double Universe (2018)

ZK Collaboration

Maciej Kądziela - tenor saxophone
Mateusz Gawęda - piano
Damian Kostka - double bass
Adam Zagórski - drums

Double Universe

FPJ 2018

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish Jazz quartet called ZK Collaboration, co-led by drummer Adam Zagórski and saxophonist Maciej Kądziela, which also includes pianist Mateusz Gawęda and bassist Damian Kostka. The album presents ten original compositions, five of which were composed by Zagórski (three of them are combined into a triptych), four were composed by Kądziela and one was composed by Gawęda.

The music is modern melody based Jazz and offers excellent compositions and first class performances by the quartet members. A modest use of electronic effects is employed to spice the acoustic sound of the quartet, but does not dramatically alter the overall mainstream Jazz orientation of the music as a whole. But the music does offer a unique and characteristic sound, with the busy drums and the strong bass pulsations being often up front rather than behind the soloists, which creates a somewhat heavy and eerie effect.

This music is quite different from the "usual" young Polish Jazz efforts, since it completely lacks any of the typical Polish melancholy and romanticism, which most Polish Jazz musicians employ almost involuntarily. Here the music tends more towards harsh, almost industrial motifs, which are often challenging and provocative. This creates an element of tension and unrest, which of course keeps the listener on edge as long as the music is playing.

All four members of the quartet are well seasoned musicians, which of course is evident throughout the entire album. Gawęda tends to focus the listener's attention on himself, whenever given a chance, as his brilliant piano parts are indeed extraordinary and neck-breaking even when he is not soloing. He is balanced by the well structured and full bodied saxophone parts by Kądziela. Zagórski makes sure that the listener is aware of the fact that the drummer is the boss here, but all in all he drives the music safely and securely towards its goal, shoulder to shoulder with Kostka, who makes sure nobody misses a beat.

Overall this is an excellent debut effort, which offers highly original music and sound, different from most of what the Polish Jazz scene has to offer, excellent musicianship and first class compositions. Definitely worth being discovered and highly recommended!

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