Monday, February 24, 2020

Grzegorz Tarwid – Plays (2019)

Grzegorz Tarwid

Grzegorz Tarwid - piano

Plays

PRIVATE EDITION





By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album as a leader by Polish Jazz pianist/composer Grzegorz Tarwid, one of the upcoming young Polish Jazz personalities, who already managed to bring attention to himself through his recordings with the Jachna/Tarwid/Karch (a.k.a. Sundial) trio and other work as sideman/co-leader. This solo piano album presents just four improvised pieces called Etudes, the first three of which were recorded in the studio and the last was recorded live. The total playing time of the album is just slightly above the half hour mark, so technically it is an EP.

The music is extremely hard to categorize, as it manages to slip between the commonly accepted definitions of contemporary genres. It could be embraced by Avant-Garde contemporary Classical Music as easily as Improvised Music, but again it is innovative and unique enough to define its own niche. It combines a minimalist absence of melody with a fury of staccato notes, which create almost a "wall of sound" effect at times.

This album is definitely the most detached Tarwid's recording from his Jazz base, but his followers will have no problem with connecting the dots to his previous recordings. Such bold venture into uncharted territory reflects Tarwid's desire to expand his horizons and his journey in music, influenced by his residency in Denmark and the involvement with the local scene seems to suit ideally his growth path.

This music is as far from easy listening as music goes, which means that it requires an intellectual/emotional effort from the listener and certainly does not apply to the average Jazz listener. Nevertheless it is exemplary in its boldness and unprecedented in its approach as far as the composition and piano playing are concerned. Overall this is a highly unusual piece of music, recommended to open-minded listeners who are willing to make an effort before they can fully enjoy the music.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Więcek & Gawęda Quintet feat. Ralph Alessi – Berry (2019)

Więcek & Gawęda Quintet feat. Ralph Alessi

Kuba Więcek - saxophone
Mateusz Gawęda - piano
Ralph Alessi - trumpet
Max Mucha - double bass
Moritz Baumgartner - drums

Berry



AUDIO CAVE 2019/011

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by a quintet co-led by two of the most noticeable upcoming Polish Jazz musicians in the last decade: saxophonist/composer Kuba Więcek and pianist/composer Mateusz Gawęda. The quintet also includes veteran American trumpeter Ralph Alessi, Polish bassist Max Mucha and German drummer Moritz Baumgartner. The album presents nine original compositions, all co-credited to Więcek & Gawęda.

The music is typical American Post-bop based on sketchy melodic themes and open to extensive improvisations by the quintet members. The outcome of such approach is totally dependent on the musical chemistry that develops between the musicians and their ability to offer group improvisation, which is more important than the individual improvisations each of the participants is capable of.

This quintet is a collection of very strong musical personalities, each and every one of which is an accomplished performer, leader and composer on his own right. The question arises of course if this specific grouping of musicians works well in total, which as far as I am concerned remains undetermined. There is certainly a lack of balance as far as soloing is concerned, with Alessi, who in my opinion is definitely not the most interesting soloist herein, playing most of the soli whereas Więcek is almost completely silent except for the unisono intros, outros and a few brief solos. Gawęda and the rhythm section manage to hold their ground all in all and the piano trio parts are the highlight of this album.

There is also the basic stylistic dissonance that hinders the quintet's unity, with Alessi pushing the music into the Bebop schematics whereas the four young Europeans are trying to break away into the freedom zone, time after time. Having said all that, this is still a very interesting album, which offers some great playing and joyful, spirited music, which is very enjoyable to listen to. The four young Europeans have the whole life ahead of them and this album proves their incredible talents, which surely will bring us all a lot of superb music in the future.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Maciej Obara Quartet - Three Crowns (2019)

Maciej Obara Quartet

Maciej Obara - alto saxophone
Dominik Wania - piano
Ole Morten Vågan - double bass
Gard Nilssen - drums

Three Crowns

ECM 2662



By Krzysztof Komorek

Kwartet Macieja Obary po dwóch latach od debiutu w monachijskiej wytwórni ECM zaprezentował kolejny studyjny album. W odróżnieniu od pierwszej płyty, tym razem mamy do czynienia z materiałem premierowym - to sześć kompozycji lidera grupy oraz interpretacjae dwóch dzieł Henryka Mikołaja Góreckiego. Osiem utworów przynosi słuchaczowi godzinę intensywnych muzycznych doznań. 

Wiele osób zastanawiało się zapewne, jak wyglądać będzie drugie ecm-owskie wydawnictwo kwartetu. Dyskusje i spory nad "Unloved" szemrzą jeszcze od czasu do czasu w kuluarach jazzowego światka. Tymczasem Maciej Obara, w myśl zasady "langsam, langsam aber sicher", cierpliwie i konsekwentnie buduje swoją pozycję. Całość zaczyna się od "Three Pieces In Old Style (Part One)" Góreckiego z przepięknym intro Dominika Wani i kapitalną grą Ole Mortena Vågana. Także drugi utwór zmarłego w 2010 polskiego kompozytora, "Little Requiem For A Polish Girl", rozpoczyna się solowym wstępem fortepianu. 

Taki zabieg, ale już w wykonaniu innych instrumentów, pojawia się jeszcze kilkukrotnie. Gard Nilssen zaczyna w ten sposób tytułowe "Trzy Korony" – nazwane tak od słynnego pienińskiego szczytu. Sam Obara otwiera z kolei dwuminutowym solem "Vang Church", a Ole Morten Vågan wiedzie prym w pierwszej fazie zamykającego płytę "Mr. S", choć jemu akurat towarzyszy tu subtelny fortepianowy podkład. Jak nietrudno się domyślić, kompozycja ta dedykowana jest pamięci Tomasza Stańki, a Obara i Wania, którzy spotkali się właśnie w zespole legendarnego trębacza, przejmują potem utwór w swoje władanie. 

Nie zabrakło na "Three Crowns" klimatów podobnych do poprzedniego albumu. Najbliżej chyba do takiego właśnie brzmienia przybliża "Smoggy People", zaanektowany w pierwszej połowie przez saksofon, a w drugiej przez fortepian. Generalnie jednak wahadło nastrojów wysuwa się mocniej w stronę bardziej energetycznych i otwartych form. Daje to się najbardziej odczuć przy wspomnianych już "Little Requiem For A Polish Girl", "Mr. S" i "Three Crowns" oraz w rozpędzającym się z minuty na minutę "Glow" (tu znów fantastyczna solówka Dominika Wani). 

Kawał dobrej muzyki znajdziemy więc na najnowszym albumie kwartetu Maciej Obary. Solidnego jazzu dużej klasy. Płyta świetnie podsumowuje dobry ostatnio czas dla zespołu, zwieńczony między innymi zwycięstwem w połowie 2019 roku na BMW Jazz-Welt Competition w Monachium. Ewentualnym sceptykom zaleciłbym cierpliwość, bowiem daje się odczuć, że muzycy nie podążają wybraną przez siebie drogą po omacku, a ich kolejne kroki są dobrze przemyślane.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Ślina – Ślina (2019)

Ślina

Matylda Gerber - alto, tenor & baritone saxophones
Filip Zakrzewski - guitar, synth
Mikołaj Nowicki - double bass, electronics
Stanisław Olek - drums

Ślina



KILOGRAM 038

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish Improvised Music quartet Ślina, which comprises of saxophonist Matylda Gerber, guitarist Filip Zakrzewski, bassist Mikołaj Nowicki and drummer Stanisław Olek. The album presents just one extensive improvised piece lasting about thirty six minutes, which was recorded in a cabin in the woods, assumed to be co-composed by the quartet members.

The music is a continuous, meditative, trans-like piece, which starts in a very quiet, intimate level and very slowly increases in intensity, tempo and volume, reaching an emotional climax after about half and hour and then again get less intense until reaching silence.

Electric guitar and energetic drums during the powerful mid section turn this music away from the Jazz oriented initial quiet section, reaching Rock intensity at its apex. This music is stylistically and spiritually quite similar to the experimentations created during the late 1960s by Psychedelic Rock ensembles, which showed parallel impact of Indian and other Far Eastern influences.

The music is undoubtedly very original – at least in today's standards – and offers a fascinating listening experience. For listeners able to embrace the trans-like submission to the sounds the complete effect of the music becomes even more intensive.

Overall this is a very unusual and powerful piece of music that stands in a category of its own on the Polish scene, especially in view of the fact that this music is mostly acoustic as opposed to electronic music excursions of this kind. This album is definitely worth investigating and adding to the music library by open-minded connoisseurs, who are open to discovery of new sonic territories. Well done, and a very impressive debut effort!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Bastarda "Nigunim" - zapowiedź nowej płyty i trasa koncertowa


29.02. Polin, Warszawa
01.03. Żak, Gdańsk
11.03. Dragon, Poznań
12.03. Fabryka Sztuki, Łódź
13.03. Firlej, Wrocław
14.03. Mediateka, Tychy
15.03. Muzeum Narodowe, Kraków

Paweł Szamburski (klarnet), Tomasz Pokrzywiński (wiolonczela) oraz Michał Górczyński (klarnet kontrabasowy) sięgają po mistyczne, żydowskie pieśni bez słów – chasydzkie Niguny. Rozwój Nigunów, które niejednokrotnie czerpały z lokalnych tradycji i wzorów muzycznych w kulturze chasydzkiej, datuje się na XVIII wiek. To wyjątkowe modlitwy, za pomocą których w zbiorowym śpiewie i tańcu, w euforycznym uniesieniu chasydzi docierają do „komnaty Boga”. 

Bastarda, czerpiąc głównie ze spuścizny dynastii Modrzyc, a także z muzykologicznych zbiorów Moshe Bieregowskiego, odkrywa przed nami piękno żydowskich melodii, eksplorując i filtrując je przez unikatowy, ukształtowany już język zespołu. Sylabiczne pieśni chasydów pozwalają artystom na swobodną improwizację oraz bardzo osobistą, intymną formę wypowiedzi. Inspirująca jest dla Bastardy także wewnątrzmuzyczna, narracyjna siła Nigunów. Bez słów opowiadają one o radości i smutku, o życiu w pełnym spektrum doznań, stanowią niejako istotę chasydyzmu, który zawsze oscylował między oczekiwaniem na koniec świata, a radosną, niemal ekstatyczną afirmacją życia. Mistyczne kompozycje tworzą przestrzeń, w której artyści poruszają się z ogromną swobodą, wielką klasą, wiedzą i wrażliwością tworząc nowatorskie, wybitne dzieło o niezwykłej sile i urodzie.

Bastarda  to zespół powołany do życia przez Pawła Szamburskiego, Tomasza Pokrzywińskiego oraz Michała Górczyńskiego. Grupa wydawniczo i środowiskowo związana z wytwórnią Lado ABC, jest również partnerem międzynarodowego projektu badawczego HERA "Sound Memories. The Musical Past in Late-Medieval and Early Modern Europe". Artyści podejmują odważną próbę reinterpretacji muzyki dawnej oraz stworzenia na jej podstawie autorskiego języka dźwiękowego. Muzyka formacji to współczesna, oryginalna wypowiedź artystyczna wsparta na bogatych tradycjach muzycznych.

Monday, February 17, 2020

RASP Lovers – Romantic Alternative Schizophrenic Punk (2019)

RASP Lovers

Szymon Wójcik - guitar
Jerzy Mączyński - tenor & baritone saxophones
Marcel Baliński - piano, microkorg
Rafał Różalski - double bass
Bartosz Szablowski - drums

Romantic Alternative Schizophrenic Punk


HOWARD 4

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by the Polish Jazz ensemble RASP Lovers, led by guitarist Szymon Wójcik and also including saxophonist Jerzy Mączyński, pianist Marcel Baliński, bassist Rafał Różalski and drummer Bartosz Szablowski. However, four of the above listed musicians (all except Baliński) appeared last year as members of the P.E. Quartet which released their debut album "Cokolwiek" then, so one might wonder why the change of moniker? The album presents eleven original compositions, all by Wójcik. The music was recorded at the Monochrom Studio and engineered by Ignacy Gruszecki, who is probably the only person on earth up to the task.

To my surprise the music on this album does not continue the direction of the above mentioned P.E. Quartet's debut album, which perhaps answers the question about the name change. It is a harsh, often conflicting amalgam of many musical elements, from Avant-Garde, Jazz, Rock and Punk (more in attitude than musically). As a result the music shakes the listener at first contact, which perhaps is the desired effect. It is very difficult to find a coherent direction or concept in this music at first, again perhaps intentionally so, with the music jumping between rocky riffs and improvised music parts without warning and which, as a result, can be quite masochistic for a casual listener.

But on the other hand one has to admire the non-conformism and the courage to follow the Artistic vision, which obviously stands behind this music. The five musicians all perform wonderfully and imaginatively throughout this album, creating absorbing flow and fascinating moments, given the opportunity to be heard and noticed. It takes time and patience to create a mental bridge to this music, which probably very few listeners are able to build eventually, and which is probably not a primary concern of the music's creators. For hardened Improvised Music/Avant-Garde fanatics this is an obvious chaotic heaven, the rest of the world – you have been warned.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Grzegorski / Ślusarczyk / Białowolski / Adamczak / Skolik – To Muniak With Love (2019)

Grzegorski / Ślusarczyk / Białowolski / Adamczak / Skolik

Tomasz Grzegorski - tenor saxophone
Marcin Ślusarczyk - alto saxophone
Tomasz Białowolski - piano
Maciej Adamczak - bass
Arek Skolik - drums



To Muniak With Love

PRIVATE EDITION 5908254159879

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by Polish Jazz quintet co-led by saxophonists Tomasz Grzegorski and Marcin Ślusarczyk with a rhythm section comprising of pianist Tomasz Białowolski, bassist Maciej Adamczak and drummer Arek Skolik. The album presents ten Jazz standards and one original composition by Białowolski, which is both the title track and a bonus track. The album is dedicated to the memory of the legendary Polish Jazz saxophonist/composer Janusz Muniak, who was a Father figure to many younger Polish Jazz musicians. The album was produced by Sławomir Majewski, Polish Jazz activist and a great connoisseur of classic mainstream Jazz.

The albums holds no surprises, exactly as intended, and is meant to be listened to by lovers of conventional, well known Jazz tunes, which are amicably played by professional musicians. This type of unpretentious, good time and somewhat nostalgic mainstream Jazz is relatively not so easy to come by in Poland, where the new generation of musicians and apparently also listeners tend to prefer much more complex and advanced Jazz explorations, which often distances older and more conventional Jazz connoisseurs from the contemporary scene.

The music offers a nice blend of ballads and up tempo numbers, which should keep the listeners happy and the beautiful piano/saxophone duet closing the album is an appropriate gesture to commemorate one of the most beloved figures in Polish Jazz history.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Milo Ensemble – Live (2019)

Milo Ensemble

Milo Kurtis - clarinet, trembita, djembe, percussion, voice
Bartłomiej Smorągiewicz - saxophones, flutes
Misza Kinsner - saxophone, sajat
Bartłomiej Pałyga - sarangi, tarhu, morin-huur, shah kaman
Adeb Chamoun - darabouka, djembe, voice
Mateusz Szemraj - oud, cymbals

Live

MILO 305

By Adam Baruch

This is a live recording by the ensemble led by Polish (of Greek origin) multi-instrumentalist/composer/band leader Milo Kurtis, which includes some of the top World Music musicians active in Poland, all of whom are multi-instrumentalists playing authentic acoustic instruments originating from many different corners of the world. They are: saxophonists Misza Kinsner and Bartłomiej Smorągiewicz, percussionist Adeb Chamoun, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Bartłomiej Pałyga and oud player Mateusz Szemraj. The album presents eleven original compositions, eight of which were composed by Kurtis, one was co-composed by him and Smorągiewicz and one each were composed by Smorągiewicz and Pałyga. I had the pleasure not only to be present at the Polish Radio Agnieszka Osiecka Studio, where this album was recorded, but even introduced the ensemble to the public before the concert started.

The album faithfully captures the music that was played during that evening, which was mostly improvised on the basis of the pre-composed themes, completely acoustic and deeply spiritual, with Kurtis directing the ensemble but allowing the individual players to venture into extensive improvisations, and eventually bringing them back into the structured framework. Amazingly everything worked out beautifully together and the superb sound quality and separation allows the listener to hear every tiny detail within the complex wall of sound created by the six musicians.

In comparison to the earlier recordings by Kurtis, the music on this album is less Jazz oriented per se and is much more atmospheric, venturing into Improvised Music idiom, but more form the World music direction rather than from the Jazz direction. As a result this album emerges as one of the most successful achievements in his substantial recording legacy. Of course this is not only due to the compositions and direction setting done by the leader but also thanks to the amazing talents of the participation musicians, who offer a vast kaleidoscope of sounds, instruments and influences, more extensive than what Kurtis ever managed to collect within one ensemble.

Overall this is probably the most impressive Jazz-World Fusion album released in Poland in 2019 and a most significant addition to the important recorded legacy of Milo Kurtis, who remains, after many years of activity, to be at the vortex of creativity and activity of the Polish musical scene, hopefully for many years to come. Se efcharistó file mou!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Annie Chen Octet – Secret Treetop (2018)

Annie Chen Octet

Annie Chen - vocals
Rafał Sarnecki - guitar
Tomoko Omura - violin
David Smith - trumpet, flugelhorn
Alex LoRe - alto saxophone, flute
Glenn Zaleski - piano
Mathew Muntz - bass
Jerad Lippi - drums



Secret Treetop

PRIVATE EDITION 9787799319759

By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Chinese (resident in US) Jazz vocalist/songwriter Annie Chen recorded with her octet, which includes Polish (resident in US) guitarist Rafał Sarnecki, who was in charge of the arrangements, except in one case. The album presents nine tracks, seven of which are original compositions by Chen featuring her lyrics (in English), except for one tune which features wordless vocalese, and two are arrangements of folk songs with lyrics in Chinese.

The music is quite complex, richly orchestrated and excellently performed by the octet. Surprisingly it shows relatively little influence of Far Eastern motifs, even in the folklore based tunes, and the Chinese vocals are the only real connection with Chen's roots.

Chen offers an original approach to vocals, mixing effectively lyrics and vocalese, and as a result turns her voice into one of the instruments of the octet. Her approach to vocals, and in fact the entire aesthetics of the album are unexpectedly non-American, much closer to what one might expect from European Jazz, which is probably due mostly to Sarnecki's approach to the arrangements and Chen's open-mindedness.

Overall this is an excellent album, full of unusual, highly intelligent music, superb vocals and instrumental performances by all the members of the octet, and most importantly a breath of fresh air in the dull mainstream vocal Jazz produced usually in the US. This gem is definitely worth investigating!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Marcin Pater Trio – Nothing But Trouble (2019)

Marcin Pater Trio

Marcin Pater - vibraphone
Mateusz Szewczyk - double bass
Adam Wajdzik - drums
Jakub Mizeracki - guitar (5,6,7)

Nothing But Trouble

EMME 1917



By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by young Polish Jazz vibraphonist/composer Marcin Pater recorded in a trio format with bassist Mateusz Szewczyk and drummer Adam Wajdzik. Guitarist Jakub Mizeracki guests on three tracks. The album presents nine original compositions, eight of which were composed by Pater and one co-composed by him with other musician. The album was released by the Italian label Emme Records, as the result of the trio winning the first prize at the 2018 Jazz Juniors competition in Krakow.

The music is a wonderful amalgam of cross-genre explorations, moving between modern mainstream Jazz and Jazz-Rock Fusion, based on beautifully melodic themes. The level of all the compositions is truly excellent and very surprising considering the young age of the composer. The three tracks featuring Mizeracki are understandably much more Fusion oriented, due to the dominating sound of the electric guitar, whereas the trio tracks are much more airy and atmospheric.

Pater emerges as a surprising vibraphone Master, playing with remarkable confidence and technical proficiency. Every strike of his mallets is precise and superbly expressive, using sustain and delicate variations of the pressure to produce a wonderful palette of sounds. It is truly heartwarming to see the much neglected instrument finally being treated with respect and virtuosity it deserves.

The rest of the crew is also excellent of course. Szewczyk and Wajdzik support the leader with swinging fluidity and Mizeracki adds another layer to the music, stirring things up with his edgy approach, but also remarkable flexibility. Altogether the trio/quartet present a clockwork precision and a velvety sound, which work like a dream.

The album brings on some fond nostalgic memories or early Gary Burton quartet featuring Larry Coryell (or the birth of Fusion), which are still some of best examples of vibraphone virtuosity not related to Bebop. Overall a very impressive debut album, perhaps not very innovative musically, but very refreshing and focusing on a neglected and much loved instrument, which definitely put this album in the short list of best Polish Jazz debuts for 2019. Well done and definitely worth investigating!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Ted Novak – Runit (2019)

Ted Novak

Ted Novak - guitar
Jan Smoczyński - hammond organ
Krzysztof Pacan - bass
Paweł Dobrowolski - drums

Runit

PRIVATE EDITION


By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by Polish guitarist/composer Ted Novak, this time recorded in a quartet setting with organist Jan Smoczyński, bassist Krzysztof Pacan and drummer Paweł Dobrowolski. The album presents eight original compositions, all by Novak. The music was recorded at the excellent Studio Tokarnia and engineered by Smoczyński, with the usual superb sound quality.

The music is a mixture floating between Jazz, Jazz-Rock Fusion, Blues-Rock, and even Progressive Rock, featuring extensive improvisations by Novak and Smoczyński wonderfully supported by the rhythm section. The retro sound and overall sonic ambience of the recording create an impression that the music might have been recorded decades ago, when guitar/organ based ensembles ruled the world of Rock and Prog and even Jazz to some extent.

Novak is able to weave superb tunes, which are unique both in their harmonic approach and rhythmic complexity and as such are ideal vehicle for improvisations without loosing their melodic contents. The stylistic diversity of the tunes on the album turns it into a fascinating listening experience which is over in a blink of an eye.

All four musicians are veterans with attested achievements, which are fully illustrated by the performances on this album. Smoczyński's organ playing is absolutely brilliant and one can only lament that he makes relatively few recordings featuring his organ "shenanigans". Novak is more reserved on this album in comparison to the predecessors, which enables the listener to be exposed to his more lyrical side. Pacan and Dobrowolski are a perfectly oiled swing machine, which keeps the music afloat and sparkling at all times.

Overall this is a very unique, in today's standards, album, which offers an adventurous cross-genre journey through guitar/organ dominated music, which is a most pleasing listening experience, especially for people with affiliation with Jazz/Fusion/Rock originating on the 1960s. Well done again!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Radek Wośko Atlantic Quartet – Surge (2019)

Radek Wośko Atlantic Quartet

Stian Swensson - guitar
Søren Gemmer - piano
Mariusz Praśniewski - bass
Radek Wośko - drums

Surge

MULTIKULTI MPJ 025



By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish Jazz drummer/composer Radek Wośko and his Atlantic Quartet, which includes Norwegian (resident in Copenhagen) guitarist Stian Swensson (who replaced Israeli Gilad Hekselman who played on the debut), Danish pianist Søren Gemmer and Polish bassist Mariusz Praśniewski. The album presents eleven original compositions, eight composed by Wośko and three co-composed by all four members of the quartet.

The music, although sonically continuing the guitar dominated Fusion ambience of the debut, is way more open and offers significant proximity to European Jazz elements, including the Nordic loftiness and Polish lyricism, two of the most powerful ingredients of modern European Jazz. It is great to find Wośko finally approaching his "natural" elements in his music, which combined with his maturity and experience accumulated over time and his excellent compositions come all together on this album.

The playing is also excellent all the way, with the two Scandinavian melody weavers leading the way with confidence and finesse. Swensson is a wonderful surprise (sadly I failed to hear his debut album so far) and steps easily into Hekselman's shoes with complete confidence. His playing is the most significant color of the music, but he respectfully leaves space for his cohorts to have their say. He can be firm and decisive but also delicate and considerate, showing great sensitivity. Gemmer is a superbly lyrical player and his sense of melody and atmospheric vistas are simply hair-rising. Praśniewski offers both a solid bottom filling to the quartet's sound and a significant rhythmic drive. Wośko offers inventive and supportive drumming parts, especially significant during the open/almost free compositions, but does not dominate the music, staying respectfully in-line with the other quartet members.

The album is a wonderful example of the ideal balance between melody and order and freedom and open space, which is always so difficult to achieve without pulling the music one way or another; one could almost say that it is case study of such vague and evasive musical phenomenon. Overall this is a beautiful and superbly executed album, for me definitely the best recording by Wośko so far and a gate of hope for his future endeavors. This quartet is a formidable team, which exemplifies the best there is in contemporary, still young but already mature European Jazz. Well done!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

trio_io - Waves (2019)

trio_io

Zofia Ilnicka - flute
Łukasz Marciniak - electric guitar
Jakub Wosik - violin

Waves

BR1055




By Andrzej Nowak

Trójka młodych, polskich muzyków proponuje intrygujący melanż post-gatunkowej, inteligentnie zdefiniowanej improwizacji. Radzą sobie z tą pokrętną materią niezwykle przebiegle, a nic, co boskie, nie jest im obce. Niemal trzy kwadranse zmysłowej zabawy w dźwięk, w dziewięciu częściach opatrzonych tytułami. Zapraszam koniecznie!

Wita nas fonia amplifikatora, który cicho pracuje. Dźwięki snują się płaskim dronem, pełnym niepokoju, mroku, pewnej analogowej niepewności, co do ciągu dalszego. Po niedługiej chwili wiemy już, że na scenie są trzy instrumenty. Sustained piece as well! Roztańczone fale radiowe na końcu świata rzeczywistego – podpowiada wyobraźnia recenzenta. Skrzypce i flet jakby śpiewały, gitara rozdziera szaty pod nimi, a aura oniryzmu zmysłowo pożera narrację. Druga pieśń stawia na suchą akustykę. Bukiet dźwięków najrozmaitszych – drżenie struny, tuba fletu, gryf gitary, przedmioty. Wolna kameralistyka na otwartej przestrzeni. Garść mikrofaz, pytania i odpowiedzi. 

Na starcie trzeciej opowieści flet śpiewa o porzuconej miłości. Ckliwe pasaże o semickim posmaku, w towarzystwie depresyjnego smyczka. Delikatność i drapieżność w tym samym niemal momencie. Szczypta rytmicznej inspiracji ze strony łagodnej gitary. Taniec, który wyzbywa się smutku, ale nie do końca. Czwarta część, podobnie jak druga, budowana trochę na zasadzie kontrastu – ucieczka od harmonii, pląsy, akcje i reakcje, twórczy chaos swobodnej improwizacji z elementami elektroakustyki. Post-gitarowy rezonans i płacz na strunach skrzypiec. Śpiew fletu i basowe pulsacje u samego dołu. Piąta historia - matowe skrzypce, akcenty percussion na gryfie gitary i flet, który szuka zaczepki. Dobra szkoła brytyjskiego free improv z wyważoną dawką preparacji - podpowiada google research. 

Szósta piosenka i wolt stylistycznych ciąg dalszy – electro pulsar, harmonia, melodia i metaforyczny śpiew na nieistniejących ustach fletu. Gitara frazuje wręcz post-jazzowo, skrzypce odrabiają zadanie domowe z free chamber, aura zagubionej, rockowej estetyki także staje się udziałem muzyków. Po małej kulminacji, narracja gaśnie magią potencjometru. Po szóstej czas na siódmą opowieść, którą na wejściu kreuje modulowany ambient gitary. Struny stroszą pióra, flet buduje mikro dron. Znów posmak kameralistyki, stylowy, ładny i intensywnie niepokojący. 

Ósma część i drobna zabawa improwizacyjna, czyniona metodą call & responce! Akord gitary, pląsy fletu, cisza skrzypiec. Po chwili temperatura narracji rośnie, cała trójka rusza w imitacyjne tango, które wieńczy rockowa niemalże kipiel. Tuż po niej ślad ciszy i basowy przester gitary. Repetycja w kierunku dobrego zakończenia. Ostatnia część "Waves" zdaje się kontynuować pomysł części ósmej – taneczna repetycja gitary, małe śpiewy po góralsku. Rytm, bijące serce, zwarty półgalop. Free after rock with chamber taste! – językiem Szekspira recenzent puentuje tę wyjątkowo smakowitą płytę.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

Gorczynski/Palmer/Wiracki – A Soul Not All Of Wood (2019)

Gorczynski/Palmer/Wiracki

Michał Górczyński - bass clarinet
Sean Palmer - vocals
Tomasz Wiracki - piano

A Soul Not All Of Wood

MULTIKULTI MPO 003


By Adam Baruch



This is the second album by the trio comprising of Polish Jazz clarinetist / composer Michal Gorczynski, British (resident in Warsaw) actor / vocalist Sean Palmer and Polish pianist Tomasz Wiracki, which apparently decided to call the trio William`s Things after the name of their debut album. Same as with the debut, this is also a kind of Jazz & Poetry project, this time based on the writings of the American poet / philosopher Henry David Thoreau. The album presents eleven compositions, all by Gorczynski, to texts by Thoreau, a pioneering environmentalist and ecologist.

In complete contrast to the debut album, the musical approach on this album is almost completely "conventional", with all the pieces being basically melodic songs, in most cases accompanied only by the piano and with minimal instrumental contributions by Gorczynski. Having said that, the music and the entire concept are excellent from start to finish and Gorczynski again proves to be a superb weaver of melodies and moods and an Artistic spirit of great importance on the local scene.

The minimalistic approach is also present in Wiracki's playing, which is devout of any improvisation and offers harmonic chord accompaniment to the singing only. As a result the focus of this album lands almost entirely on Palmer's shoulders, and he uses his theatric training and abilities to express the deeply emotional charge of some of these pieces, although most of the songs are contemplative and calm.

Overall this is a very powerful piece of music, even if most of it reserved and minimalist, exemplifying the "less is more" concept to the max. Even if the English texts somewhat limit the audience to English native speakers, which on the Polish scene is a bit problematic, as usual with Poetry & Jazz projects these limitations can be transcended by the sheer Artistic power of the music. The trio manages to create a distinct niche for its Artistic endeavors, which is highly commendable.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...