piątek, 28 października 2011

Andrzej Przybielski - Sesja Open (2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Andrzej Przybielski - trumpet, flugelhorn

Yuriy Ovsyannikov - alto & soprano saxophones
Grzegorz Nadolny - double bass
Grzegorz Daron - drums

Sesja Open (2011)

Freedom! Is that what so many people crave for? Yet already Soren Kierkegaard when referring to so few true followers of Jesus doctrine noticed that most of us when offered freedom shade from it. Avoid it. Escape it. I see it as well-proven fact that when it comes to freedom the closer it approaches the stronger becomes its avoidance. Majority cannot stand its "shine" as if they sensed that once they go for it nothing will be the same again. Therefore if such a free soul happen to live nearby you may be pretty sure that it will be despised and in contempt. First of all she or he will be walking remorse of others' cowardice or indecisiveness. Secondly such a person is indeed usually very difficult to live on since every rule must be broken, no prisoners are taken, there is only all or nothing...

I wrote those few words when contemplating over personality and art of trumpeter Andrzej Przybielski. I will not repeat basics about his extraordinary and saddening biography, about his immense talent, equal among Polish trumpetres only to Tomasz Stańko, about his madness and his exclusion. This album is only one more proof of all what was said before. Recorded in 2005 and released this year  after untimely death of Przybielski in 2011 it is the SOLE recording which this genius of avantgarde trumpet EVER made under his own name  in his WHOLE life! It doesn't mean that we have no other excellent recordings by him, it is enough of them described even on this humble blog (pls check following: "Abstract", "De Profundis" or "Stirli People In Jazzga") but they are far too few, far from being able to document musicial searchings of this adventourous and unrestrained soul, far from what he COULD accomplish if he got more opportunity to work on his own ideas and not on ideas of others, ideas sometimes doubtful, sometimes simply far from matching his great talent.

The history of this session is as erraneous and chaotic like whole personal and artistic life of Andrzej Przybielski. Leading boheme life of artistic vagabond he wandered as a sideman through countless projects but managed actually only ONCE to set up his own band called Asocjacja. Coming to existence in early nineties 90ties it played significant role in Polish rejunaviting yass movement but its role was limited to concert scene of provincial city of Bydgoszcz and its formula resembled that of workshop bands. It took almost 15 years (!!!) untill Przybielski was able to arrange a regular recording session and put some of his musical ideas forward to wider public. And even then it was just an inch from becoming inconclusive because one of the regular members of the band, vibraphonist Karol Szymanowski, dropped out unexpectedly in last moment out of the roster. Fortunately it was possible to find quick replacement for him in person of saxophonist Yuriy Ovsiannikov who together with double bassist Grzegorz Nadolny and drummer Grzegorz Daroń completed the personnel for this session. So finally in 2005 they recorded this music but it was still impossible to find any label ready to publish it!!! It happened only after another six years of waiting and was spurred by Andrzej Przybielski death on 9th February 2011. However eventually no more than just 500 copies were printed making this issue sure candidate for one of future "rara avis" among Polish jazz albums. Speaking shortly, such is twisted and unbelievable chaotic story behind arguably one of best recordings in history of Polish jazz...

Author: Maciej Nowotny

czwartek, 27 października 2011

Light Coorporation – Rare Dialect (ReR Megacorp, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Light Coorporation (band)
Mariusz Sobański - guitars
Michal Fetler - baritone saxophone, alto saxophone
Michal Pijewski - tenor saxophone
Robert Bielak - violin
Tom Struk - fretless bass
Milosh Krauz - drums

Rare Dialect (ReR Megacorp, 2011)

This debut album by Polish ensemble Light Coorporation is a stunning revelation of musical genius present among the new generation of European musicians. Led by guitarist / composer Mariusz Sobanski, who composed all the music, the ensemble also includes saxophonists Michal Fetler (baritone and alto) and Michal Pijewski (tenor), violinist Robert Bielak, bassist Tom Struk (fretless bass) and drummer Milosh Krauz. Keyboardist Marcin Szczesny sits in as a guest musician. The music is a completely unique brand of RIO / avant-garde Prog, which is deeply rooted in the beginning of the movement (Henry Cow) but successfully updated to contemporary standards, both sonically and conceptually. Superbly matched and combined acoustic sounds of the reeds and electronic distortion from the guitar and keyboards, hypnotic rhythmic patters (similar to the Zeuhl movement) and dark melodic vistas create an overwhelming effect, which is completely fresh and unparalleled. Considering the fact that these are very young individuals and this is their debut recording one must wander about the possibilities of these gifted musicians in the future. No wander the prestigious ReR label released this album worldwide, especially since this kind of material suits their catalogue as a glove. On the band's site we can learn that their performances are usually accompanied by screening of video material, which seems highly appropriate, as this music has a very strong atmospheric / ambient content as well, which is usually ideal to be combined with visual material. But listening "only" to the music is also an immensely powerful and invigorating experience of rare magnificence and depth. I listened to the album for three consecutive times, being completely enchanted by it. I'm pretty sure the same will happen to most of the listeners. Of course such music requires repeated listening sessions to be discovered and uncovered in depth – as all great music does. It is rather obvious that this music is well beyond being recommended – it would (literally) be a crime if any serious music lover, regardless is he's a Prog or Jazz or RIO or Zeuhl fan if he was to miss this album! Such gems are so rare, that we must make everything in our power to make the world listen, especially since I can't recall hearing such great music in a very long time! This is a brilliant piece of intelligent music - chapeau Mariusz & co.

(Editor) Sample of their music played live: 

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

środa, 26 października 2011

Biotone – Unspoken Words (SJ Records, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Biotone (band)
Michał Tomaszczyk - trombone
Przemysław Florczak - saxophone
Andrzej Zielak - double bass
Sebastian Kuchczyński - drums

Unspoken Words (SJ Records, 2011)

(Editor) Adam Baruch (check his music boutique www.jazzis.com) writes favourable review of debut album by trombonist Michał Tomaszczyk...

This is the debut album by Polish Jazz quartet Biotone, led by trombonist Michal Tomaszczyk, who also wrote all the music present herein. The other members of the quartet are saxophonist Przemyslaw Florczak, bassist Andrzej Zielak and drummer Sebastian Kuchczynski. These four young musicians are all typical examples of the new generation, which is slowly establishing themselves on the, rather crowded one must say, Polish Jazz scene. This scene was always exploding with talent and is now overflowing, unfortunately not being developed enough, dynamic enough and flexible enough to contain all that incredible influx of talent flowing in at an ever increasing pace. One must admire Tomaszczyk for his self-confidence, as a trombone-led quartet is a very uncommon phenomenon in Jazz history. Even the greatest trombonists were usually satisfied with the role of a sideman, but Tomaszczyk boldly presents his approach, and shows us all an upper hand. The quartet has a fresh, well balanced sound and all the members play excellently throughout. The rhythm section is inventive and fully participates in the music-making process together with the two front soloists. The compositions are also very good, both melodically and rhythmically, presenting an interesting compositional palette, which at this stage already shows individuality and character. But of course the key point of the album is the solo work of the leader, who manages to make the most of his difficult and often ungrateful instrument. His performances are absolutely first class from top to bottom and as someone, who has a lot of trombone "mileage" (after producing several trombone-centered albums) I can definitely say this is first class work and more importantly a great promise for the future. Altogether a superb debut, worth investigating!

Please listen to "Another Space" from this album:

Author: Adam Baruch

wtorek, 25 października 2011

Zbigniew Seifert - Man of Light (1976 by Adam Baruch

Zbigniew Seifert - violin

Joachim Kühn - piano (1, 2, 4, 6)
Cecil McBee - double bass (1-4, 6)
Billy Hart - drums (1, 2, 4, 6)
Jasper van 't Hof - electric piano & organs (5)

Man of Light (1976) 

This exceptional album by Polish violin virtuoso / composer Zbigniew Seifert was the first major exposure of his talents outside of his motherland. Legendary MPS producer Joachim Berendt, who had close ties to the Polish Jazz scene, was aware of Seifert´s incredible talent and managed to pull off this recording session, bringing on board a superb team of players, which consisted of German pianist Joachim Kuhn and an American rhythm section: bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart. Dutch pianist Jasper van`t Hof also participates on one track. Seifert composed all the music on this album, which is a great example of typical Eastern European Jazz, which cleverly combines elements of modern American Jazz, especially that of John Coltrane, with Folklore and Classical influences. Seifert´s "obsession" with Coltrane´s music and his improvisational technique are plainly evident, especially during the up-tempo numbers. The album´s title track is dedicated to Coltrane´s pianist McCoy Tyner. Hearing the album 35 years after it was recorded makes one realize how great music gets better with time, losing absolutely nothing of its initial grandeur. Both Seifert and Kuhn play some incredible solos here and the rhythm section supports them admirably every step of the way. Tragically, just three years after this music was recorded Seifert died, stricken by cancer, before his endless potential was realized and recognized properly. Seifert managed to record several albums in the US before his untimely death, but this album is definitely his most important and most perfect legacy. Absolutely essential!

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

poniedziałek, 24 października 2011

Piotr Baron – Kaddish (Celestis, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Piotr Baron - tenor & soprano saxophone, bass clarinet

Adam Milwiw-Baron - trumpet, flugelhorn, didgeridoo
Michał Tokaj - grand piano
Michał Barański - doubles bass
Łukasz Żyta - drums, percussions

Kaddish (Celestis, 2011)

(Editor) Verging gracefully between mainstream and avantgarde this album is surely one of the most interesting albums released this year. Please read Adam Baruch's insightful review and listen to the music. 

Kaddish, the ancient Jewish prayer usually associated with Jewish funeral and mourning services can be considered as a representation of the essence of the Jewish religion and is also often associated with the faith of the Jewish People. The fact that the great Polish saxophonist / composer Piotr Baron used this idiom as the title of his new album, as well as the title of the central composition, which opens the album, is by no means accidental. Baron, a devoted Christian, dedicated many of his previous releases to religious themes, expressing the idea that any Artist's religious views are an integral part of his personality, which is also reflected in his Art, or in his case his music. In Poland, Jews and Christians lived together for centuries, sharing the same soil and culture. It was Poland's bitter destiny to become the central setting of the Jewish Holocaust, which almost completely eliminated the Jewish presence in Poland, separating the two Nations by a chasm, which is still bleeding after seven decades. Baron, paying respect to Jewish faith and tradition, represents a present-day trend among the Poles to build a new bridge between Christians and Jews, re-establishing the severed relationships, a trend strongly present and growing. How much all this background information is related and relevant to the music itself is a decision every listener will have to make, while listening to it. The album consists of seven pieces, of which two are composed by Baron, three are improvised duets by him and his respective partners and the remaining two originate from other sources. Three of the pieces are dedicated to specific persons (two religious personalities and one musician – the great mulireedist Bennie Maupin). The personnel includes Baron's son Adam Milwiw-Baron on trumpet and didgeridoo and three Polish Jazz veterans: pianist Michal Tokaj, bassist Michal Baranski and drummer Lukasz Zyta. The music is absolutely entrancing, deeply atmospheric and moving, constantly changing and elegantly amalgamating strong melodic content with advanced improvisational excursions. Baron's playing is virtuosic at all times, often reminiscent of John Coltrane's mid-period, which is about the highest compliment I can bestow upon any sax player. The other musicians are all masters of their trade, with Baron Jr. continuing the family name and trade with honors. It's obvious that Baron is making a statement here: spiritual, artistic, musical and philosophical, all combined. This is a very personal album, which definitely stands its ground on purely musical merits, but proposes a lot of added values, when put in its proper background. An album one can surely return to many a time, re-discovering its beauty repeatedly. I raise my hat, Maestro!

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

niedziela, 23 października 2011

Profesjonalizm - Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011) by Bartek Adamczak

Profesjonalizm (band)

Marcin Masecki - pianino, compositions
Kamil Szuszkiewicz - trumpet
Michał Górczyński - clarinet, tenor saxophone
Tomasz Duda - baritone saxophone
Piotr Domagalski - double bass
Jerzy Rogiewicz - drums

Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011)

(Editor) Bartek Adamczak is back in very interesting review of the record that made great impression on other reviewers as well...

Marcin Masecki's name resonates well in ears of any polish jazz/music fan but he's yet to gain international recognition and he most certainly deserves it. Masecki's talent, refined through years of classical education (graduated from Berklee College of Music) is undeniable. He's sound conception and style of playing is easily recognizable (he prefers, whenever it's possible, to play his own pianino instead of a grand concert piano, all in order to be able to create a personal rapport with his own instrument - something that comes more easily to musicians playing virtually any other instrument). The vast ground he covers with his activity is impressive - equally adept in mainstream jazz (with Zbigniew Wegehaupt Quratet), fully improvised concerts (solo, in duo with Ziv Ravitz, in power trio with Macio Moretti and Raphael Roginski), avant pop (Paristetris) or classical (fascinated with Bach's music). In any of those contexts Masecki remains unmistakenably Masecki, unique, idiosyncratic. Which brings us (well, sort of) to Profesjonalizm sextet, his latest release on Lado ABC (an alternative label he's been working with for quite a while now).

Masecki is a kind of revisionist-revolutionist musician. He paraphrases old music - rag, hollywood jazz, ballroom elegant dance music. He interlaces them with percussive explosions of clusters or semi-casual notes, a hint of minimalistic Satie-like lyricism, more than a hint of serial music as his solos often seem to oscillate around a certain chord or scale, built with repetitive, almost stubborn phrases, seeming deceivingly simplistic, like a practice-run, only to develop into an entire structure of intricate harmonic, melodic, almost visual patterns (while watching his fingers on the keyboard you start to immagine some kind of mathematical formula, he often choses to play a repetitive pattern with right hand).
With Profesjonalizm he takes his ideas and translates the concepts into a set of thouroughly written music for a medium-sized band. Swinging lightly and elegantly it comes like a music from past, suddenly sequenced, cut, interrupted with a series of dissonances. Masecki loves to play with various aesthetics, collides them, one after another or one by the other. As a result we get something of a postmodern music game, music about music, exceptional not only for its erudition but the sense of humour, as the sudden twists, the broken beats, broken melodes and scales, the orchestrated and pre-arranged chaos brings a true laugher. Masecki's music is at times bizzarre, grotesque, pastiche, vaudeville, cabaret. And if he's been often criticized for his attitude (playing with the music as much as playing the music) that's the quality I really love about his work.

Just to cite some (unnecesary) examples of the music - "Długi" ("Long") begins the cd with joyfull ravaging brassy sound, immediately cut into with a reharmonized quirky chord progression and almost naive, amiss melody, and thus back and forth, with an impressionistic piano solo in the middle and surf-rocking beat to go by near the end of the track. (check the "video" below)
"Drugi" ("Second") begins with a gently swinging tune (straight out of 30's upper class ballroom hall), scratched (like a vinyl record) with a returning dissonance, follows into a bebop baritone solo, than into a marching drums solo, than again into a circus-like theme, another (this time free) jazz sax solo soaring over an obsessive rhythm crescendo, leading for a percussive (filled with crazy clusters and thunderous scale runs) piano solo.
"Dęty" ("Brassy") crashes a 'r'n'b baritone base honking, broken funky beat and trumpet-clarinet fanfare.
"Ballada" mixes the lyrical piano phrase (Satie) with steady rock beat and separate horn melodies that seem all out of tune, out of scale, bizarrely false.

Chopin Chopin Chopin is playfull to begin with the title of the album (mockingly alluding to last year's anniversary of Chopin's birth when his music was overdone in every way possible) and the tracks' titles (apart from the ones cited above there's "Krótki" ["Short"], "Abersold", "Polonez") to end with the cover (it seems to be stained) and the notes on the inside (all musicians referred to as "Mister" and presented with both first and the second name). And it all reflects the music - humorous, cartoonish, filled with unexpected twists.

When John Cage was accused that his music provokes laughter he responded by saying that it's a reaction preferrable to tears. "Chopin Chopin Chopin" brings the music that can easily provoked laughter, an honest and deep reaction to what is a brilliantly written and performed set of music. While Masecki's music is best served live (obviously), this cd comes strongly recommended to anyone (laugh is an universal language, so is music).

(Editor) Check tune titled "Dęty" from this magnificent album:

Author: Bartek Adamczak
check his blog about free jazz: http://jazzalchemist.blogspot.com/

sobota, 22 października 2011

Jan Jarczyk / John Stetch - Smoked Pianos ( GAD Records, 2011)

Jan Jarczyk – fortepian
John Stetch – fortepian

Smoked Pianos ( GAD Records, 2011)

Polish pianist / composer Jan Jarczyk, who lives in the US & Canada since the late 1970s, is fondly remembered as member of the original Zbigniew Seifert quartet, where he played alongside Seifert in the late 1960s / early 1970s, contributing some of his compositions to the quartet's repertoire. The wonderful early recordings by the Seifert quartet ("Nora") were released on the same Gad label, which also released this album. Jarczyk continued his Jazz career in the US & Canada as educator, first at the Berklee Collage of Music in Boston and later at McGill University in Montreal. He also continued to perform and release Jazz albums. Jarczyk met Canadian (of Ukrainian origin) pianist / composer John Stetch twenty years prior to this recording, when Stetch was one of his students. He invited Stetch to play with him a series of concerts in a piano duet setting. These concerts, which were organized to celebrate Jarczyk's 60th birthday, were recorded and this album now brings these recordings to a wider audience. Of the seven duets included here three were composed by Jarczyk, one by Stetch, one co-composed by the two players and two are standards. The material presents a versatile setting, from ballads to up-tempo compositions, which allows the players to stretch out and exchange licks along the way. The deep empathy, understanding and mutual respect between the two musicians is obvious and plays a major role in the overall music-making / love-making ambience. Although both players are clearly highly talent performers, the duo is stronger than the sum of its individual parts. Stylistically the music moves between straight-forward melodic modern Jazz to mostly improvised stretches, so there are no dull moments here. For piano lovers, this is heavenly stuff, well worth having and of course returning to. Warmly recommended!

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

piątek, 21 października 2011

Specjal Jazz Sextet & Jerry Goodman, Jarek Smietana - Projekt Elbląg (Allegro, 2011)

Special Jazz Sextet (band)

Bartek Krzywda - keyboards
Szymon Zuehlke - tenor saxophone
Artur "Żółwik" Olewniczak - trombone
Marcin Gawdzis - trumpet
Janusz "Macek" Mackiewicz - acoustic bass
Grzegorz Sycz - drums
Special guests:
Przemek Dyakowski - soprano saxophone
Jarek Śmietana - guitar (6)
Jerry Goodman - violin (10)

Yet another interesting album from Allegro Records released this year (check also "Afreakan Project" and "Facing The Challenge") and again it is pleasent surprise. Surprise because though musicians are not from first ranks of Polish jazz yet they deliver very good music indeed. All compositions are by Bartek Krzywda while all members of the sextet taking part in this project are from Elbląg (or connected to this city). It is astonishing that so many fantastic musicians live in this relatively small city and that they managed to join their forces to deliver such a palatable dish. As far as regular members of this sextet are concerned I want to single out Marcin Gawdzis, the outstanding trumpeter, that should be much better known on Polish scene. Melodic lines as supplied by his instrument underline catchy Krzywda compositions and saturate music with lyricism and levity. But other players input is of no less quality be it Szymon Zuehlke on tenor saxophone, Artur Olewniczak on trombone or rhythm section: Janusz Mackiewicz on double bass and Grzegorz Sycz on drums. A lot of spice is added by guests' appearance: soprano saxophone by Przemek Dyakowski is an outstanding counterpoint to Gawdzis' trumpet, Jerry Goodman violin sounds other-worldly and hauntingly beautiful (like on "The Heart On A Plate") and finally well-known guitar of Jarek Śmietana. All in all, this is definitely worthy debut by Special Jazz Sextet, a tribute both to jazz and to city of Elbląg (from which also come from Jerzy Małek whose excellent album "Air" is our October Album Of The Month). 

Promo video: 

Author: Maciej Nowotny

czwartek, 20 października 2011

Grzegorz Nagorski Quartet - Over And Over (Fonografika, 2011)

Grzegorz Nagórski Quartet (band)

Grzegorz Nagórski - tormbone
Paweł Tomaszewski - piano
Andrzej Świes - double bass
Łukasz Żyta - drums

Over And Over (Intro Music, 2011)

Grzegorz Nagórski is an educator teaching jazz in Music Academy in Warsaw. His proficiency on trombone is beyond question and on his recordings he usually gathers around himself equally virtuoso musicians. This recording is not exception: pianist Paweł Tomaszewski (guess why he is nicknamed "Herbie"), bassist Andrzej Święs and drummer Łukasz Żyta are among the brightest stars in Polish jazz. It is therefore no surprise that music is brilliantly executed and it is a pure pleasure to listen to this elegant muse even if it brings nothing new to the language of jazz. Finally, let me notice that a situation of trombone in Polish jazz does not look bad at all because just recently I have listened to three quality releases featuring trombonist as a leader: this one by Grzegorz Nagórski, "Unspoken Words" by Michał Tomaszczyk's band Biotone and "Enthuzjazzm" by Grzegorz Rogala. It is comforting that these three albums bring different music, cool jazz, hard bop and folk jazz respectively, and only, as usual, I do regret that there is not in this "trombone parade in Polish jazz" any trombone blowing a little more free and avantgarde notes...

Check an excellent tune titled "Shadows from this album:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

wtorek, 18 października 2011

Aga Zaryan – A Book Of Luminous Things (Blue Note, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Aga Zaryan (vocals)

Michał Tokaj (piano)
Larry Koonse (guitar)
Darek Oleszkiewicz (double bass)
Munyungo Jackson (percussion)
Polish Radio String Orchestra

 A Book Of Luminous Things (Blue Note, 2011)

This is the 6th album by Polish Jazz vocalist Aga Zaryan and her second release on the legendary Blue Note label (she is the first Polish Jazz artist to release albums on that label, and so far the only one, which is altogether disheartening, considering the level of musical artistry readily available in Poland). Any reference to this album as yet another vocal Jazz release would be completely off the track. This is much more than just one more vocal Jazz album; it is an artistic statement, which encompasses different Art disciplines – in this case music and poetry – amalgamating them into an aesthetic whole, which becomes more than the sum of its parts. This kind of (music & poetry) format, which has an established tradition on the Polish cultural scene, continues the superb Jazz & Poetry movement, which has its roots more that half a century ago in the Beat generation. 
Zaryan created this concept work around the works of Polish Nobel laureate, poet Czeslaw Milosz, and three poetesses, which Milosz admired. Of the twelve songs presented on this recording, six are based on poems by Milosz and the other six are by the three poetesses, each with two poems. To complicate things a bit further, all the texts are in English, although most were written originally in Polish. Milosz, who lived in the US since 1960, firmly believed that he should write poetry only in his Mother tongue (i.e. Polish), and only later translated his own poems into English. He also translated the poems by the Polish poetess Anna Swirszczynska. The other two poetesses: British-born American Denise Leverov and American Jane Hirshfield wrote their poems in English of course. 
As to the music, the list of credits is no less impressive. The basic tracks were recorded in a quartet format with musicians, who cooperated with Zaryan on earlier recordings: pianist / composer Michal Tokaj, who also composed almost all the music, guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and percussionist Munyungo Jackson. The basic tracks were then ornamented by rich orchestral arrangements, written by Tokaj and performed by the Polish Radio String Orchestra, which was directed by another Polish Jazz celebrity, pianist / composer Krzysztof Herdzin. If all this is not confusing enough, the basic tracks were recorded in the US and the orchestra in Poland. 
But what really counts is of course the final result, and in this case in spite of the intellectual complexity looming in the background and the musical intricacy involved, the overall result is a delicate, almost reserved and unpretentious little gem of an album. There is nothing flashy and overbearing here, just an intimate dialogue between Zaryan, her cohorts and the listener. Yes, it takes some effort to plunge deep beneath the surface and yes it takes a few listening sessions to discover some of those wonderful details veiled behind the sounds. I'd be surprised if Zaryan would've wanted it any other way; after all subtlety and modesty were always her distinctive gifts. Her vocal performances here, mystical and sensuous, reveal her struggle with the lyrical content, which is often devilishly convoluted. 
Yet everything sounds seemingly effortless and natural, as if no sweat was spilled in the process. These are true star qualities, in the best possible meaning of the idiom and in complete contrast to what are commonly conceived as star qualities these days. Although the album does not break and new musical ground, it certainly manages to create a unique atmosphere and climate, proving once more that intelligent, meaningful and non-trivial music combined with an obvious love and conviction leading the Artist are the essential ingredients needed to create true Art. Zaryan's Polish listeners will probably impatiently await the Polish language version of this album, which should be available very soon, but it is this version which might bring some listeners in Europe and the US closer to the treasures of the Polish Cultural Heritage, which unfortunately remains mostly completely unknown beyond its own ghetto. Thank you Aga for your vision and conviction: chapeau! kudos! and respect!

(Editor) Please listen to wonderful song titled "This Only" from the album :

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

poniedziałek, 17 października 2011

Piotr Zaczek - Balboo (Borzym Music, 2011)

Piotr Żaczek - electric bass guitar

Adam Bałdych - electric violin
Maciej „Kocin” Kociński - saxophone
Marcin „Mały” Górny - synths &samplers
Grzegorz „Jabco Jabloński” - keyboard, piano
Robert Luty - drums

David Fuze Fiuczyński - guitar
Leszek Możdżer - piano
Jahiar Azim Irani - vocal, santur
Grzegorz Piotrowski - duduk

Balboo (Borzym Music, 2011)

(Editor) This album really surprised me positively! Close to fusion or jazz-rock stylistics as impersonated by such great bass guitarist like Marcus Miller it goes further because in its language are gracefully incorporated free jazz influences. Retaining its communicative and dance-like character this is simply good piece of entertainment. Please read review posted on Piotr Żaczek webpage. I do it rarely but in this case I agree with every word of it. 

This is one of the most awesome CDs I have reviewed in a long time. Piotr Zaczek is a Polish bass player. With a few bass guitars and fellow musicians, armed with a huge collection of samplers and sound effects, he creates music that is both breath-taking and totally eccentric, yet never fails to maintain an infectious catchiness.
Zaczek creates his unique mix using Eastern European and Middle Eastern instruments and vocals. He will sustain a harp sample or bass riff all the way through a track while the different beat patterns and sheets of sound keep rolling on underneath. This is how Zaczek makes you go from one surprise to the next: with a mix of rap samples, snippets of jazz wafting by, unstoppable thundering beats, and extraterrestrial soundscapes. And on occasion, all that with some ten bass guitars playing at the same time.

Check sample of music from this album:

sobota, 15 października 2011

Ani cepelia ani muzeum czyli Ircha u Nożyków

Jazz to muzyka ludowa murzynów amerykańskich z delty Missisipi. Dopiero potem jako swing zawitał do sal tanecznych, jeszcze później jako bop stał się indywidualną formą wypowiedzi artystycznej najbardziej świadomej i pewnej siebie części społeczności czarnych muzyków, by wreszcie stać się czymś w rodzaju nowej muzyki klasycznej, której naucza się w akademiach i odtwarza w filharmoniach w sposób maksymalnie wierny orginałowi, którym najczęściej są złote lata be bopu, hard bopu i cool jazzu. Jednak to ten ludowy charakter jazzu jest tym co w nim ciągle żywe, bo przekazał on nowoczesnemu jazzowi skłonność do improwizacji, która nieustannie odświeża oblicze tej muzyki, chociaż jednocześnie zmienia je nie do poznania, tak że w pewnym momencie pojawiają się watpliwości czy to w dalszym ciągu jest jazz. Wreszcie u korzenia tej ludowości tkwi przeżycie religijne (i w jakiejś mierze też erotyczne, ale to już temat na inny tekst), które sprawia, że jazz i jazzmani nawiązują często kontakt z czymś co jest transcendentalne i metafizyczne.

Dlaczego o tym wszystkim piszę? Bo 2 października 2011 roku, w niedzielny wieczór, w trakcie koncertu kwartetu klarnetowego o nazwie Ircha wszystkie te wątki skupiły sie jak w soczewce w warszawskiej synagodze Nożyków. Przede wszystkim wątek ludowy, tym razem żydowski, którego renesans obserwujemy tyleż na świecie co w Polsce. Może nawet do przesady, bo ostatnio na co drugiej płycie młodej polskiej kapeli słychać jakieś oddźwięki klezmerskie co przypomina mi nieznośny klimat PRL-owskiej Cepelii. Bo Cepelia to była taka podróbka polskiej kultury ludowej w celu wyciagnięcia kasy od cudzoziemców. Przypominała troszkę jakieś piękne zwierzę wypchane sianem, ze wstawionymi plastikowymi oczami, które w Muzeum straszy dzieci przychodzące za karę z nauczycielką biologii. Na szczęście Ircha zdołała uniknąć zarówno Cepelii jak Muzeum, znajdując wolną przestrzeń dla autentycznej artystycznej ekspresji między sztuczną i udawaną ludowością a martwym i staroświeckim kultem eksponatów muzealnych. Jakimś cudem żydowski korzeń tej muzyki tu okazał się ciągle żywy, jakby nie było tych wszystkich tragicznych wydarzeń, które wstrząsnęły tą społecznością w Europie w XX wieku. I wypuścił on cztery nowe, zielone listki, dzięki muzykom jazzowym i to takim, którym bardzo bliski w muzyce jest element improwizowany.

Postacią główną w tym zespole jest bez wątpienia Mikołaj Trzaska, postać wyjątkowa w polskiej muzyce: samouk, jeden z ojców rewolucji yassowej w polskim jazzie, człowiek od wielu lat bezkompromisowo poszukujący w muzyce tego co awangardowe i... Żyd. To on powołał do życia ten kwartet, który w roku 2010 wydał swoją pierwszą płytę "Lark Uprising", z udziałem legendarnego amerykańskiego saksofonisty Joe McPhee, która przez wielu została uznana za jeden z najlepszych albumów roku 2010. Lecz stytuacja ma się tak, że w tym kwartecie grają sami wybitni muzycy, a nawet gwiazdy polskiej sceny awangardowej. Bo poza Trzaską Wacław Zimpel, zdaniem wielu najlepszy polski muzyk jazzowy ubiegłego, 2010 roku, który wydał takie płyty jak "The Passion" i "Hera", obsypane deszczem pozytywnych recenzji tak w Polsce jak i zagranicą. A nadto młode lwy z warszawskiej sceny skupionej wokół klubu na Chłodnej 25 czyli Paweł Szamburski znany nam ze wspaniałego duetu SzaZa z Patrykiem Zakrockim jak i z doskonałego Cukunftu oraz Michał Górczyński, który także znany jest z Cukunftu, a ostatnio pojawił się w prowadzonym przez Marcina Maseckiego wyśmienitym sekstecie Profesjonalizm.

Oczywiście najważniejsza jest muzyka jaka wybrzmiała tego wieczoru, a była ona nadzwyczajna! Kiedy słuchało się drewna klarnetów przychodziło mi do głowy pytanie o tajemnicę drzew zamieniających się w dźwięki. Artystyści wprawiali w wibracje instrumenty i było dla mnie oczywiste, że słowo dusza nie przypadkiem ma wspólny żródłosłów ze słowem oddech. Muzycy wędrowali po całej przestrzeni synagogi do piękna dźwieków isntrumentów dołączając zaskoczenie płynące z ich zmiennej lokalizacji. Częściowo skomponowana, częściowo improwizowana, daleka od jazzu, a bliższa muzyce klasycznej, z nutą klezmerską, na szczęście tak delikatną i elegancką jak kropla Chanel na pełnej klasy damie, muzyka ta wymyka się krytycznym opisom i klasyfikacjom, wzbudzając po prostu zdumienie, zachwyt, miłość. Powstała ona w ramach projeku "Pamięć przede mną", poświęconego bohaterom i ofiarom powstania w getcie warszawskim i wspieranego przez Muzeum Żydów Polskich. Mam nadzieję, że klimat tego koncertu znajdzie odzwierciedlenie na planowanych kolejnych albumach tego kwartetu, na które czekam z wielką niecierpliwością! 

Autor: Maciej Nowotny

Kamil Szuszkiewicz - Prolegomena (Slowdownrecords, 2011)

Kamil Szuszkiewicz - trumpet
Marcin Ułanowski - drums
Kuba Cichocki - upright piano
Wojtek Traczyk - double bass
Marcin Gańko - baritone saxophone
Tomasz Duda - baritone saxophone

Prolegomena (Slowdownrecords, 2011)

That Kamil Szuszkiewicz is great talent in Polish music I've been convinced for a long time. Unlike many critics is this country who obviously are excellent in establishing crucial (and well-paid) positions in Polish media & show business I am simple blogger and my main focus is music. I look for good music, all other issues are secondary. So I've seen Szuszkiewicz being like "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" among Polish young musicians and I've been waiting patiently when his time will come. The snow ball has been growing slowly which is evidenced even on this blog by albums like "Kapacitron" (2009), "Be Like A Child" (2009) or recently outstanding "Chopin Chopin Chopin" (2011) in which he took (significant) part as a sideman.  And now we have his debut under his own name so it is the time to ask a question whether all these promises are fulfilled...?...
Music on the album may be called free but not in form but in spirit. This overall form is well though-out, planned, carefully prepared but at the same time there is enough place left for musicians  to display spontaneity, creativity and bravery of the highest caliber. Moreover regardless its refined form the music remains communicative and relatively easy to listen! Rooted as well in free jazz idiom as in avantgarde classics of XXth century and... in indie pop or rock... it is as much continuation as something completely new... Moody, brooding, bluesy it has all coarse beauty of good modern art, be it painting, sculpture, photography, film or literature. It will fit perfectly as musical commentary to crazy politics of year 2011 with its bankrupting states, compromised politicians, crumbling traditions.
When we look at the cast we discover that along with the leader playing on trumpet, we find here creme-de-creme of young musicians responsible for sudden renaissance of jazz avantgarde in Warsaw in recent years: Wojtek Traczyk (double bass), Marcin Ułanowski (drums), Kuba Cichocki (upright piano), Tomasz Duda  and Marcin Gańko on baritone saxophones. These new wave of young, creative, open and very well educated musicians will alter completely what is the landscape of Polish jazz in years to come...

Promo - Kamil Szuszkiewicz "Prolegomena":

Author: Maciej Nowotny

piątek, 14 października 2011

Krzysztof Herdzin Trio - Capacity (LEMCD, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Krzysztof Herdzin Trio (band)

Krzysztof Herdzin - piano
Robert Kubiszyn - bass guitar, double bass
Cezary Konrad - drums

Trio (LEMCD, 2011)

(Editor) Good music evokes strong reactions, either positive or critical but it means that it was something more behind it than just duly- delivered craftsmanship. This is the case of Adam Baruch's review of newest album by Krzysztof Herdzin...   

Polish pianist / composer / orchestrator / arranger Krzysztof Herdzin is undoubtedly one of the most revered musicians on the local scene, incredibly prolific and omnipresent across the entire genre spectrum between Pop and Contemporary Classical music, with Jazz as his epicenter. Recent years found him frantically busy with so many non-Jazz projects, that it is heartwarming to see him return to the basic piano trio format, with bassist Robert Kubiszyn and drummer Cezary Konrad, to confront his listeners directly, without the ornamentation of elaborate orchestral arrangements. Listening to this album definitely re-establishes Herdzin's position as a piano virtuoso and the five original compositions present here (with one additional standard) again fanfare his compositional skills. Add to this the excellent sound quality and dynamic mastering and here you have a perfect piano trio album… and yet… after listening to it for a couple of times I discovered that I feel somewhat uneasy about it. Everything is simply too good, too perfect, too… everything. Like a cake, which is so sweet it is too sweet? It seems that Herdzin has a tendency to make things just perfect, which sometimes is simply overdoing it. To summarize, this is a beautiful, smooth, professional album, which most people will love to bits and rightly so. I love piano trios and this is a great piano trio! Have I been intellectually challenged? Not really, but the heck with it, good time was had by all.

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

czwartek, 13 października 2011

Komeda Project - Crazy Girl (WMRecords, 2006)

Komeda Project (band)
Krzysztof Medyna - saxophonist
Andrzej Winnicki - pianist
Russ Johnson - trumpeter
Michael Bates - bassist
David Anthony - drummer

Crazy Girl (WMRecords, 2006)

The legacy of the great Polish jazz composer/pianist Krzysztof Komeda runs especially deep, while straddling the worlds of film music and modern jazz. While his life was sadly cut short in 1969 at the age of 38, his compositional output included more than sixty film scores and the influential European classic Astigmatic (Power Bros, 1966), with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. Despite Hollywood credentials that boast the hit soundtrack for Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, the Komeda Project's Crazy Girl reveals that Komeda was a visionary jazzer in both mind and soul.

Saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna and pianist Andrzej Winnicki established the Komeda Project by conscripting trumpeter Russ Johnson, bassist Michael Bates and drummer David Anthony to form a very versatile and potent quintet. Their performance is anything but a slavish recreation of Komeda's music but speaks more to the composer's sensuality of expression and grasp of emotionality. Beginning with three examples of Komeda's melodic film music, the quintet is not long into the first and title cut before it shows its well-developed abilities to blow bop.

Medyna and Johnson play exceedingly well together and they pleasantly blend for a sweet singular voice when remaining true to the thematic material, while also blowing up a storm when they expand the music's structure. Several Winnicki originals are in this same vein but a bit more loosely composed and fit well with the older material, allowing the band to stretch its legs and show that along with Komeda, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Keith Jarrett are also influences. A major aspect of Komeda's genius was his touchingly delicate phrasing and Winnicki does an admirable job of highlighting this on reinterpretations of "Svantetic" from Astigmatic and CD closer "Sleep Safe and Warm" from Rosemary's Baby. The former has piano dexterously comping while sax and tenor take turns soloing while the latter's piano/horn duet is the disc's most beautiful, albeit shortest moment. A testimony that stands alone as an enjoyable session, recasts Komeda's works in an interesting fashion and serves as an intriguing entré for those unfamiliar with the godfather of modern Polish jazz.

Check part of Komeda tune titled "Svantetic" from this album in concert version... 

Author of text: Elliott Simon

środa, 12 października 2011

Krzysztof Scieranski – Bass Line (Anex, 1983)

Bass Guitar - Krzysztof Ścierański
Drums, Percussion - Jerzy Piotrowski
Guitar, Percussion - Paweł Ścierański
Percussion - Marek Wilczyński

Bass Line (Anex, 1983)

This is the 1st album by Polish bass virtuoso Krzysztof Scieranski, who was a member of such notable Polish groups as Laboratorium and String Connection, before starting his solo career. He is accompanied on this album by his brother Pawel Scieranski on guitar, Jerzy Piotrowski (of SBB fame) on drums and Marek Wilczynski on percussion. Scieranski composed all eight compositions on this album, which are quite excellent examples of intelligent Jazz-Rock Fusion and of course his incredible abilities as an electric bass player. Wholeheartedly recommended!

(Editor) The tune comes from album"Krzysztof Ścierański" issued in 1984 and very similar style:

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

wtorek, 11 października 2011

Contemporary Noise Quartet - Theatre Play Music (Electric Eye, 2008)

I became great fan of Contemporary Noise Sextet (CNS) after their two first albums "Pig Inside Gentleman" (2006) and "Unaffected Thought Flow" (2008) and though their last recording "Ghostwriter's Joke" left me little less enthusiastic, I am still of the opinion that CNS is one of the most interesting young bands in Polish jazz alongside Pink Freud, Sing Sing Penelope or Levity. Their jazz is tending to be close to film music, nu jazz, punk rock even. It is communicative, catchy, narrative - built of simple elements but certainly not banal.

"Theatre Play Music" (2010) was the only their album I did not yet listened to on the basis that I rarely find theatre music satisfactory. However this disc is exception to that rule: it's coherent and rewarding itself as separate soundtrack not linked with theatrical performance. BTW it was composed to accompany play titled "Miłość ci wszystko wybaczy" directed by Przemysław Wojcieszek and given in Warsaw's Teatr Polonia.

There is also one more reason to check this record, especially for all those already acquainted with CNS music because this is their only album in quartet format without horn section (Wojtek Jachna - trumpet, Tomasz Glazik - tenor sax). As a result music performed by Kuba Kapsa (piano), Bartek Kapsa (drums), Kamil Pater (gitara) and Patryk Węcławek (double bass) sounds especially fresh, less lavish but more elegant, suggestive, other-worldly. Must-listen for all CNS fans... 

Author: Maciej Nowotny (http://polish-jazz.blogspot.com/)
check my site in Polish as well: http://kochamjazz.blox.pl/html

poniedziałek, 10 października 2011

Tomasz Stanko – Egzekutor (Universal, 2001)

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet
Justyna Steczkowska - vocalise
Janusz Skowron - synthesizer
Slawomir Kurkiewicz - bass
Michal Miskiewicz - percussion
Zbigniew Brysiak - drums

Egzekutor (Universal, 2001)

(Editor) This soundtrack is a must for all in love with Tomasz Stańko blue notes. Read more in Adam Baruch's review:  

Polish trumpet virtuoso / composer Tomasz Stanko is universally recognized as one of world's top Jazz musicians since many years. However, his contributions as composer of music for cinema is somewhat lesser known, which is a pity. Stanko's work in that area started way back to the early 1970s, but even earlier, when he was a member of the legendary Krzysztof Komeda ensemble, he already became intimate with the art of writing for cinema from his mentor, who was one of the greatest soundtrack creators ever, mostly known for his work for Roman Polanski. It is therefore understandable that Stanko's music for films would become heavily influenced by Komeda's approach, which culminates with this soundtrack, written to a brilliant film by Polish director Filip Zylber. In fact this is the second time Stanko contributes the soundtrack to a film by Zylber, with "A Farewell To Maria" being the predecessor to this one. Stanko is accompanied by some impressive players on this album, most notably by singer Justyna Steczkowska, who contributes some breathtaking vocalese parts. Also present are Janusz Skowron on synthesizer, Slawomir Kurkiewicz on bass, Michal Miskiewicz on drums, and Zbigniew Brysiak on percussion, as well as a string quartet. But Stanko's trumpet dominates this music completely and overwhelmingly, when it plays completely solo or is accompanied by other instruments. Stanko's virtuosity and magic sound are truly magnificent and supported by the atmospheric and often melancholic melodic motifs, the overall effect is simply stunning. It is a rare occasion when a soundtrack stand alone as a full fledged Jazz album, and this is a superb example of this being the case. I can only say that every Stanko fan should try and listen to this album, even if finding it today, only 10 years after it was released, is virtually impossible. The album was released as a double set with a CD and DVD Audio (Surround Sound) version of the music, which present different mixes of the same music. An absolute must!

The music from "Egzekutor":

Author: Adam Baruch
check also his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/

sobota, 8 października 2011

Jerzy Malek - Air (Universal, 2011)

Jerzy Małek - trumpet

Marcin Wasilewski - piano
Michał Barański - doubloe bass
Michał Miskiewicz - drums

Air (Universal, 2011)

I am not jazz critic and I will never be. I have neither talent nor inclination in this direction. If you need proof for such my statement this text will provide good one. Why? Because this is album that many critics will disqualify while I wholeheartedly admire it! 
Before I clarify this situation let me tell you few words about players and this project. Jerzy Małek is arguably the most talented among young trumpeters in Poland (along with Artur Majewski). He is THE most in demand sideman in Poland playing in countless projects: always successful, always inspiring to his partners. But he nevertheless has modest achievements as a leader. Yes, he recorded something like 5 CDs released under his own name but honestly none of them persuaded critics that he is already stand-alone leader capable of joining the greatest in Polish jazz. So this time Małek invited musicians and composed music of such quality and caliber as to once and for all to silence all doubts about his talent. As for musicians better are impossible to find not only in Poland but anywhere! Marcin Wasilewski is on piano  whom we know from playing with Tomasz Stańko or in his own trio (check his newest "Faithful"). Michał Miśkiewicz, a drummer, is long-time companion of Wasilewski from Stańko quartet and member of above mentioned trio as well. While Michał Barański, himself absolute top player in Poland, in a smart move by Małek, has replaced third member of Marcin Wasilewski Trio, Sławomir Kurkiewicz, to alter rhythm section sound and make it more flexible in order to adjust it to the leader conceptions. 
Now as for music, it is all composed by the leader, and it sounds stylish, elegant yet simple and communicative. Although the root of this music is definitely bop and Małek's eclectic style is full of influences from Miles Davis through Lee Morgan or Booker Ervin to Tomasz Stańko, still he quite often sets his voice free. Certainly it's not free in Don Cherry ricochet but rather in Kenny Wheeler conceptual style. But the soul of this music is the beauty of the sound which is magnificent and augmented by excellent play by rhythm section. Marcin Wasilewski piano is capable of both to swing or drive full throttle in typical hard bop style. Michał Miskiewicz drums deliver great punch AND palette full of colours to this music. Michał Barański bass is solid rhythm anchor for Małek fly-aways while his voice remains individual enough never to be mistaken with anybody's else. 
So what's non-critic verdict on this CD? I do not care that it is nothing new, that musicians stay on so well-known ground, that it more looks back, towards classical roots of music, towards Schumann, Chopin or Haydn than towards American music distant shore. I know I still like it so much that my position is simple: album of the month!!!

Author: Maciej Nowotny

czwartek, 6 października 2011

Gos / Wojtczak - Jebal was pies (Sopocka Odessa Records, 2010)

Michał Goś - drums
Irek Wojtczak - saxophone

Jebał Was pies (Sopocka Odessa Records, 2010)

In 2009 trio Michał Goś (drums), Irek Wojtczak (saxophone) and Wojtek Mazolewski (double bass) recorded "Freeyo" (read post about this album to learn more about musicians), an excellent piece of free and improvised jazz, which was warmly received throughout Poland. Big chunk of interest from media as well as from public it owed to the presence of Wojtek Mazolewski who is one of the stars of Polish avantgarde music (check for example his latest "Monster Of Jazz" or "Smells Like Tape Spirit").
This CD looks like continuation of that project in duo format and though at least satisfactory in artistic terms it revealed to be disaster from commercial point of view. The reason is Wojtek Mazolewski withdrawal as well as title of this album which may be translated "Fuck You Dogs". It was very naive on artists' side to believe that album with such a title would be warmly received by distributors and shops. And it wasn't! Few months after its premiere in Autumn 2010 musicians announced that they managed to sell all 12 copies. I believe that their only consolation is that in that way they probably established new record worthy to be put among Guinness records.
In my opinion it is however great pity since music on this album deserves attention: spacious, deep, creative, it brings to its listener engaging dialogues between two very talented musicians. I look forward to their next projects hoping that next time they will show more professionalism in planning marketing side of their undertakings.
Check this video for sample of music from this album:

Gos / Wojtczak "Jebał Was Pies" Live

Gos/Wojtczak | Myspace Music Videos

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

środa, 5 października 2011

Włodek Pawlik Quartet - Waning Moon (Universal, 1999)

The Western Jazz Quartet is a peripatetic group, traveling to other countries and recording with other artists. Their visits to Poland have resulted in a number of recordings, the latest of which results from collaboration with a local pianist. The Wlodek Pawlik Quartet has released The Waning Moon (Mercury 546739-2), featuring the leader's compositions as well as his piano, with Trent Kynaston on tenor and soprano saxes, Tom Knific on bass, and Tim Froncek on drums. Pawlik's compositions cover a wide range of moods and influences, drawing on a variety of Polish folk music sources, but also on Chopin and Monk. The complex compound folk rhythms of the pianist's native land are used to good advantage on "Pieniny" (a mountain range) and "Polish Folk Dance;" the visiting Americans handle these difficult tunes with ease. The delicate ballad "Almost Nothing" reminds one of another Polish composer-pianist, Krzysztof Komeda, and Kynaston even recalls somewhat Bernt Rosengren, the Swedish tenor man who performed and record often with the famous film score writer. Both saxophonists share an admiration for Stan Getz. Knific also shows his perfect taste and intonation on a lovely solo on this ballad.

The musicianship on The Waning Moon is first rate, and the compositions are superior. As good as all of this is, to me the outstanding contributions are by Kynaston. A fabulous saxophonist, who is equally at ease in the classical as well as jazz repertoire, Kynaston seems to have found a perfect context to put all his skills together. On the ballads he transmits a poignant sense of love and desire; on the swingers he digs in to explore all the corners of the music handling the most difficult passages with ease. But he outdoes himself on "Kadysz," Pawlik's tribute to the history of the Jews of Poland. The tenor saxophone solo on this piece makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck — it is a cry over desolation, desecration, and loss that is pure poetry, saying things that cannot be said with words. 

The music sample comes from album titled "Anhelli" but is very similar to that on above described album:

Author of text: Piotr Michalowski (Semja Update)

poniedziałek, 3 października 2011

Grzegorz Karnas - Karnas (Hevhethia, 2011)

Grzegorz Karnas - vocal, voices
Michał Tokaj - piano
Adam Oleś - cello
Michał Jaros - bass
Sebastian Frankiewicz – drums

Edi Sanchez – bass (19)
Piotr Wyleżoł – piano (19)
Marek Podkowa – tenor sax (19)
Jean Paul Garces – percussion (19)
  • Karnas (Hevhethia, 2011)
After years of hearing close to nothing interesting from Polish male jazz singers I must admit that recently I am discovering some interesting projects from them at last! One of the albums I am waiting most impatiently for in Polish jazz is one planned by Oleś Brothers and vocalist Jorgos Skolias (check this link for more info) for Tzadik Records. But this one, released just couple of days ago by Hevhetia, Slovak record label, though unexpected brings pleasant surprise indeed. All due to vocalist Grzegorz Karnas who managed to record album intriguing, forward-thinking and challenging.
Grzegorz Karnas, born in 1972, graduated from well-known Jazz Faculty at Katowice Music Academy and has already recorded three albums starting in 2000 with "Reinkarnasja" for Not Two followed by "Dreams" in 2004 and "Ballads For The End Of The World" in 2006 issued by his own Ninth Floor Production. Honestly I cannot say much about his previous CDs since I simply got no opportunity to listen to them. But basing on this album I find his voice mature, his conceptions daring, his taste refined. He strives to imitate nobody, he is searching for his own sound and he succeeds in this not least through excellent choice of his fellow-workers. Mikołaj Tokaj is one of best pianist in Poland and permanent partner of allegedly the best Polish female jazz singer Aga Zaryan (check her "Looking Walking Being" and "A Book Of Luminous Things"). But Adam Oleś on cello, Michał Jaros on bass (very good on recent debut disc "I Remember" by pianist Michał Wróblewski) or Sebastian Frankiewicz (very active and present on recent albums by Przemek Strączek, Dominik Bukowski, Joanna Gajda or very interesting "Hendrix Piano" by Artur Dutkiewicz) are equally good support. 
Going back to music, this is nothing close to typical jazz singing, though we find here marvelous version of Sting immortal cover "Roxanne" but otherwise it is laborious search for what is "new land" in jazz singing. Although sometimes irritant (as any avantarde effort usually are), I do not want to hide it, sometimes it is simply breathtakingly beautiful like on "Fin d'ete" but always free in spirit and thus earning my respect. Worth-checking!

Check tune "Spytaj milicjanta" (tranls. Ask a policeman) from this album: 

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

niedziela, 2 października 2011

Profesjonalizm - Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Profesjonalizm (band)

Marcin Masecki - piano
Kamil Szuszkiewicz - trumpet
Michał Górczyński - clarinet, saxophon
Tomasz Duda - saxophone
Jerzy Rogiewicz - drums 
Wojciech Domagalski - double bass

Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011)

(Editor) Phenomenal review by Adam Baruch (check his music boutique http://www.jazzis.com/) of Marcin Macecki breakthrough recording...

Profesjonalizm is the name of the new sextet created and led by Polish Jazz pianist / composer Marcin Masecki, one of the greatest talents on the local scene in the recent years and the enfant terrible / eccentric artist spearheading the Jazz anti-establishment, a role that fits him like a glove. During my recent visit in Poland I was lucky to be invited to the concert the band performed in a dinky Warsaw restaurant called Mozaika, which remarkably managed to sustain the atmosphere (and look, not to mention the service) of the 1970s Socrealizm, completely oblivious to the changes around. The concert celebrated the release of this album, so the music was simply a live version of what is included here, in its entirety. I must say that I was completely unaware of what was about to happen musically and therefore the experience was a total culture shock, even though I am a difficult man to surprise in view of the heavy burden of my age upon me. Masecki and his cohorts: trumpeter Kamil Szuszkiewicz, saxophonists Michal Gorczynski and Tomasz Duda, bassist Piotr Domagalski and drummer Jerzy Rogiewicz played a stunning set of outlandish music (all composed by Masecki), which is so original, unique and devilishly clever that one's mind is completely boggled. How the hell did they manage to do it at all (live!) is beyond comprehension, but nevertheless they did it with a spectacular result. Listen to the studio version herein and imagine this being played live to get the scope of the task ahead.
As to the music itself, I'm not even trying to start describing it, as it is well beyond the scope of words (as most great music is). Suffice to say that it is a suite of sorts, in seven parts, which tells the story of Jazz from its earliest days (Ragtime) to now, flowing like a soundtrack to an imaginary movie, constantly (and unexpectedly) changing rhythms and scales, themes and patterns, but remarkably and completely coherently keeping a brilliant sense of unity. The rhythm section is absolutely dazzling, managing the impossible task of gluing this passionate and untamed music together. Masecki's piano work is a chapter in itself, which is worth studying separately, but it serves the role of the thematic / melodic beacon pointing the way ahead for of this music. During a short chat before the concert I asked Masecki about his musical influences; he mentioned some usual suspects but emphasized Thelonious Monk and Conlon Nancarrow, two superb examples of total non-conformism, suiting Masecki's image perfectly. The problem with non-conformism is often that eccentric artists become often self-centered and completely uncommunicative, which luckily enough does not apply to Masecki. In spite of all the lunacy herein, this is (amazingly) quite an easy album to listen to, against all odds. When I asked Masecki as to the nature of his music, he replied: "We are playing entertaining music" – well, he was after all right, in his own crazy way.
Now if anybody is wandering about the album's title, I must assure you that the album has absolutely nothing to do with the great Polish National composer Frederic Chopin. This is one more of Masecki's clever stunts, expressing his disgust and ridicule of the Polish Jazz scene's exploitation of Chopin's music in the recent years. Using this tongue in cheek / sarcastic reference Masecki protests against the "One can't go wrong by playing Chopin" attitude, where in fact one can go wrong and as the plentitude of available recorded evidence proves one does in most cases. So what do we have here: a work of a mad genius, a wizard, a prophet? Who am I to judge? Suffice to say I love this music, every note of it and most of all the chutzpah and complete disregard of convention – exactly the qualities I admire in Artists. Bless you, Marcin Masecki!

Check tune "Długi" from this album:

If you want to listen to broadcast containing more Marcin Masecki music in different formats and also some of his musical inspirations - check this podcast (link).

Author: Adam Baruch
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...