środa, 30 listopada 2011

Kamil Szuszkiewicz - Prolegomena (Slowdownrecords, 2011) by Stef Gijssels

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)

(Editor) Stef Gijssels review of very strong debut by young, avantjazz trumpeter Kamil Szuszkiewicz.  

In January last year I wrote my first review of some albums with Polish trumpeter Kamil Szuszkiewicz, already sensing that it would not be the last. We find him back as the leader of a full band and with a somewhat more ambitious programme. The band consists of Kuba Cichocki on piano, Tomasz Duda and Marcin Gañko on baritone saxophonen Wojciech Traczyk ion double bass and Marcin Ułanowski on drums. 

Szuskiewicz's compositions and arrangements are really strong, with lots of variation and shifting between melancholy pieces for small ensemble ("Aria", "Pawana"), a pianoless quintet that bookends the album, using the warmth of the horns to the full, but it is when Cichocki's piano joins that the music gets its full dramatic power. The compositions are inventive and contain a wealth of clever rhythmic changes, great arrangements and a kind of inherent tension, with lots of a kind of stop-and-go feel. 

All musicians are excellent, but what is really strong for a debut album is the coherent vision and sound, something special and unique that is captivating and enjoyable. If you need comparisons, then Darren Johnston and Kirk Knuffke come to mind, two trumpeters who also understand how to create complex music with substance. 

Modern jazz at its best. I truly hope Kamil Szuszkiewicz gets audiences outside of Poland. 

(Editor) Check tune "Pavana" from this album:

wtorek, 29 listopada 2011

Bennie Maupin - Early Reflections (Cryptogramophone, 2008)

Bennie Maupin - bass clarinet; tenor and soprano saxophones, alto flute

Michal Tokaj - piano
Michal Baranski - bass
Lukasz Zyta - drums, percussion
Hania Chowaniec-Rybka - voice (4, 13).

Early Reflections (Cryptogramophone, 2008)

Bennie Maupin's rediscovery gathers pace with this fine follow up to his memorable 2006 album "Penumbra". It is no longer enough to talk about the talented multi-instrumentalist who featured on Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew", "Big Fun" and "Jack Johnson", appeared with Herbie Hancock in "Headhunters" and then somehow lost his way; Bennie Maupin, aided also by the recent re-release of his classic ECM disc 'The Jewel In The Lotus", is back in his own right and is making exceptional, beautiful, inspirational music.

There should be no surprise that that the supporting musicians are all from Poland. (The band is: Bennie Maupin (bass clarinet; tenor and soprano saxophones, alto flute), Michal Tokaj (piano), Michal Baranski (bass) Lukasz Zyta (drums, percussion)). If you suspect that these guys can't cut it, listen to just one track: "Prophet's Motives", a soulful and funky workout featuring Bennie Maupin's bass clarinet over a decidedly cooking trio. 

But there is much more to enthuse over here. 

There are eight compositions by Bennie Maupin, one by Michal Tokaj (who plays wonderful Bill Evans inspired lines throughout) and the remaining four tracks are jointly improvised by the band.

It is the very well controlled balance between tightly composed ideas and freewheeling improvisation that points to the realization that the time spent with Miles Davis was not wasted. This allows in the same space the lyricism of Michal Tokaj's "Tears" to stand alongside the almost free form "Not Later Than Now" or "Inside The Shadows" or an extended modal reworking of "The Jewel In The Lotus" to juxtapose to the challenging final track "Spirits Of The Tatras" without contradiction.

And if you don't like jazz scat singing, do not worry; the singing of Hania Chowaniec-Rybka is used sparingly on just two tracks and does not distract too glaringly.

Another milestone for this highly rated musician.

"Escondido" from this album:

poniedziałek, 28 listopada 2011

Niski Szum - Songs From The Woods (AudioTong, 2011)

Niski Szum (project)

Marcin Dymiter - guitar, voice

Songs From The Woods (AudioTong, 2011)

Not often one hears Robert Frost lines around here... Niski Szum (gotta love that nom) is Marcin Dymiter (vocals, guitar) and on two of the four tracks here, he breaks out that old warhorse, "Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening". The opener, "Blues from the Green Hills", has something of a Frithian air to it, an attractive, propelled piece of overlaid guitars, loping along pleasantly enough. "The Woods, Part 1" brings in the Frost. There's kind of a moody, folk aspect, Dymiter's Polish-accented English charming, softly sung over a shimmering backdrop. "The River" is the longest track, something of a drone with maybe a bit much fuzz; there's a smoothness overall to Dymiter's work here that strains my interest, needs a bit more bite. The final track is a recapitulation of the second with a bit more instrumental time. As said, pleasant enough but in the end, one-dimensional.

Music from this album - check this link or player:

Author: Brian Olewnick

niedziela, 27 listopada 2011

Olbrzym i kurdupel - frrrr... [EP] (OiK, 2009)

Olbrzym i kurdupel (duo)

Marcin Bożek - bass
Tomek Gadecki - tenor sax

frrrr... (OiK, 2009)

This is very good EP indeed!!! It really surprised me very positively and I had loads of fun while listening to it. I really did not expect such a interesting sounds from those two musicians as they are almost unkown on Polish jazz scene yet.  As for Olbrzym (tranl. "giant") that is saxophonist Tomek Gadecki I listened to him recently during this year Warsaw Summer Jazz Days when he substituted for Tomek Glazik in Contemporary Noise Sextet. Surprisingly he made excellent impression on me, not trying to copy Glazik's sound buy speaking with his own voice. Honestly he somehow sounded more fresh and challenging than other players of so famous CNS and I was astonished by such a situation. He has outward, masculine, unrestrained tone. Unlike many virtuoso saxophonists so abundant among Polish young generation he rather concentrates on pure emotions, on directness and on authencity of his message. He leaves behind all unnecesary ornaments and embelishments so typical for those who put too much stress on "how" instead of "what" in jazz. With this EP his talent is confirmed and it's obvious that good show he gave at WSJD was not an incident but that he simply is musician of significant capacity about whom we shall hear much more in future.
As for Kurdupel (tranl. "short") that is bassist Marcin Bożek he comes as even bigger surprise for me. I know virtually nothing about him except he has beautiful tone on his bass guitar, distinct, elegant, perfect to emphasize wholesome tenor licks by Gadecki. His mind is open and like Gadecki he made good impression on me. Summarizing, these two birds are singing so well that regardless that it is their debut recording and just EP I believe that if they continue on this road they might soon be counted among best horn & bass duos in Poland like Keir Neuringer & Rafał Mazur ("Unison Lines") or Piotr Mełech & Fred Lonberg-Holm ("Coarse Day"). 

Sample of music from this EP:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

sobota, 26 listopada 2011

Jazz Forum digitalized now available!!!

We announced this a while ago (link) and now it's available. You can read archive issues of Polish legendary Jazz Forum magazine, some of them not only in Polish but also in English and German. Congratulations to all persons involved in this project and we strongly recommend visiting this page: 

Neurasja - Neurasja (Unzipped Fly Records, 2011)

Neurasja (band)

Asja - vocal 
Karol Czajkowski - guitar & sytnth, production & arrangements
Wojtek Traczyk - bass, double bass
Hubert Zemler - drums

Neurasja (UZF Records, 2011)

If you feel inclined towards jazz and are looking in direction of its distant and glimmering shore from indie rock or indie pop positions then "Neurasja" may be perfect bridge over which you will cross from land of darkness to that of light. It is centered around a psychodelic vocal by Asja who is surrounded by young & excellent jazz instrumentalists: Karol Czajkowski on guitar, Wojtek Traczyk on bass and Hubert Zemler on drums. Check this link for sample of music from this album: http://soundcloud.com/uzf-recordings/neurasja-promomix

Author: Maciej Nowotny

piątek, 25 listopada 2011

KRAN - K.R.A.N (Gateway Music, 2009)

KRAN (band)

Tomasz Licak - tenor saxophone
Marek Kądziela - guitar
Richard Andersson - bass
Kasper Tom Christiansen - drums

K.R.A.N. (Gateway Music, 2009)

One of more interesting mainstream debuts of this year, "Quintet", by a band led by saxophonist Tomasz Licak and pianist Artur Tuźnik moved me to check for earlier recordings by this saxophonist. And I found this one: released 2 years ago with  guitarist Marek Kądziela and Scandinavian rhythm section consisting of Richard Andersson on bass and Kasper Tom Christiansen on drums. All these musicians are connected to Danish Musical Academy in Odense and are concerting in Denmark, Germany and Poland. Musically speaking this album is verging between between bop and cool jazz aesthetics and it stands out for high level of craftsmanship as displayed by these young instrumentalists.

Sample of music:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

czwartek, 24 listopada 2011

DM&P Trio - Insular Dwarfism (AudioTong, 2011) by Bartek Adamczak

DM&P Trio (band)
Pawel Dziadur - electronics: wave_attack improvisation software, laptop, synth, controllers, feedback loop, miking

Slawomir Maler - tenor saxophone, alto saxophone
Philip Palmer - alto saxophone, found objects

Insular Dwarfism (AudioTong, 2011)

A while ago I've wrote about this Krakow-based group's performance - half torn between appreciation for their experimental and no-compromises attitude and struggle to absorb and get through the wall of abundant and invasive wall of electronics.
Pawel Dziadur created wave-attack software as a tool for electro-acoustic improvisation that allows for real-time sound manipulation without any presets or pre-recorded materials and his scope is to achieve and explore the level of swiftness that was supposedly available only performing on acoustic instruments. And quite simply he's close to it - on the stage his gesture control interface is impressive, as is the number of ways he's able to transform and disfigure any musical input to the point it's impossible to individualize its connection to the source material.
Slawomir Maler and Philip Palmer are in clear connection as they react to each other spiralling their saxophone lines together, around (the coda in "Trepanning for Dummies"), echoing each others longing notes or exchanging spitting notes ("Glass of Water") or meandering together through the labyrinth of echoes and silence ("Reason in Question"), the swirling melodic series remind me of Steve Reich music for example. But this trio's focus is on the electro-acoustic merger and Dziadur is there to invade, expand, enhance, alienate, penetrate the acoustic reality with his output. Sometimes with a subtle loop, echo, or an uneasy background noise, creatively colouring the main lines ("Medicine Man"). And I find the music is the most inspiring at those minimalistic or chamber-like segments. At other times Dziadur goes all the way wreaking havoc with a full-scale noise attack (one second interruptions in "Wok Wet to Sing"). "Trepanning for Dummies" starts exactly as the title suggests but if you withstand the initial brutal force you are rewarded with the echoes of beauty in the serene conclusion.
It's much easier to appreciate this trio's music in small doses (a big difference between the extended and continuous live performance and the 9 tracks on the cd clocking total under 40 minutes). And, although the initial goal of no aesthetic limit to the produced sound stands, there's much more subtlety and intimacy to the music on the cd that the one I remember from the concert (or my memory doesn't serve me well and the feeling of intimacy was simply achieved through multiple listenings). Still the minimalism achieved (represented superbly by the cd's cover) makes the moments of expansive expressivity even more relevant in my opinion, if still hard to digest.
As challenging as this music is, its radicalism is also quite refreshing. I kind of feel a need to watch a stupid teen comedy after that as an antidote but one could say that in the world where everything comes easy and is supposed to be so a challenge like this is a true antidote, just to keep some balance. Not for the faint of heart, but for those who like to be challenged - it might not all work but it does surprise you. A daring statement.

*Insular Dwarfism: The process whereby animals living on small islands or in other environments with constrained gene pools reduce in size over time through a process of natural selection.

Author: Bartek Adamczak

wtorek, 22 listopada 2011

Andrzej Przybielski - Tren Zalobny (Multikulti, 2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Andrzej Przybielski - trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet
Jacek Mazurkiewicz - double bass, electronics
Paweł 'Model' Osicki - drums

Tren Żałobny (Multikulti, 2011)

Death comes always untimely, guest unwelcome. It leaves those who stay behind speechless, shocked, awed. Like many natural disasters it should not be surprise but still it is. It is denied by 99,99 % of living creatures, especially human beings. But this album proves that they are birds that can sing even about her. One's own death to be precise.
Everything that I have just written may sound quite controversial but it is only simple reflection of what music I found on this disc. Not the nicest discovery at all: gruesome, ominous, dark. For several reasons it has all chances to provoke more doubts than other albums released after Przybielski's premature death earlier this year (February 2011).

First, it is far from complete. Being recording of music in-statu-nascendi in its obscenity it comes close to semi-pornographic pictures of models taken just before pret-a-porter show. And obviously, because of that, it's even more fascinating, negotiating well with voyeurism so characteristic for modern culture built on TV reality shows.  

Second, unlike other albums released after Przybielski's departure ("Sesja Open" and "De Profundis") his companions on this session are young musicians with whom he never played before. Jacek Mazurkiewicz (his profile on this blog) produces coarse, rough, even vulgar sound on his double bass which I am sure will be despised by many. But he knows how to follow Przybielski's mood and assisted by electronics makes tone of his trumpet more barbarian, dramatic, tribal. Paweł Osicki on drums is even more difficult to appraise: his pulse reminds me heart beat of some mammoth animal which in turn suffocates, gasps in pain, roars in anger.

Third, this is most free in spirit and experimenting albums of those three. "Sesja Open", although released summer 2011, was in fact recorded in 2006 as kind of summary to music Przybielski played with his only regular band called Asocjacja. "De Profundis" on the other hand, released in February 2011, was another instance of Przybielski cooperation with Oleś Brothers, along with "Free Bop" (2000) or "Abstract" (2005). Oleś Brothers are musicians who were among very few able to establish long-lasting and fruitful relationship with Przybielski. However "Tren Zalobny" is more adventurous, spontaneous, unpredictable and therefore perhaps closer to the innermost spirit of Przybielski music conceptions. 
Summarizing, it is extremely difficult to take position on this album. I prefer to think about it as yet unfinished journey to the essence of jazz, to its improvising soul, between  madness and sanctity, into beauty of the sound which is looming somewhere ahead, between horizon and sky...

"Rotacje II" (Guru) from this album:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

poniedziałek, 21 listopada 2011

Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski - Jazz Trio (2003)

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski – tenor saxophone
Jazz Trio
Bogusław Kutnik – piano
Jarek Michaluk – bass
Sebastian Urban – drums
Polonia Records, 2003

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski (saxophones) is living legend of Polish Jazz and his biography (which you can find here) may be read as concise history of Polish jazz. Since his debut in 1956 he played with... everybody in Polish jazz and make an invaluable contribution not only to our jazz but also film, pop and many other musical genres. Although long ago he ceased to be creative force in Polish jazz he is still active as an educator, journalist, juror in jazz contests (like Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa). Truly fantastic effort taking into consideration that he is not the youngest among our jazz pack. 

Moreover, he still records valuable music which is evidenced by this record issued in 2003 with Bogusław Kutnik (piano), Jarek Michaluk (bass) and Sebastian Urban (drums). This trio is at its best only a background for Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski talent. But somehow even on this setting Jan Ptaszyn's horn manages to catch attention and warm our heart. Very much alike Sonny Rollins who recently has come back with couple of new recordings which may be called sentimental rehearsal of great years of bop, Jan Ptaszyn with this album proves that he remains in good form and regardless passing years he still retains his own, unchanged and unmistakable sound.

Please check this video to see how this old master plays (although with different personnel):

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

niedziela, 20 listopada 2011

Tomasz Stanko – Wolnosc w sierpniu (MVD Visual, 2006)

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet, composer
Marcin Wasilewski - piano
Janusz Skowron - synthesizer
Sławomir Kurkiewicz - double-bass
Michal Miśkiewicz - drums
Antymos Apostolis - percussion
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor saxophone
Wojciech Karolak - orchestral arrangements
String Section of Polish Radio Orchestra under the direction of Marcin Nałęcz Niesiolowski
Wolnosc w sierpniu (MVD Visual, 2006)

This magnificent album by Polish trumpeter / composer Tomasz Stanko includes the music commissioned by the Warsaw Rising Museum, which accompanies the permanent exhibition. The heroic and tragic struggle to free the Polish Capital from the Nazi occupation in August of 1944 is to this very day a pivotal episode of modern Polish history, in many respects unresolved (morally and politically) to this very day. The bold decision to bestow the task of composing the music played at the museum upon Poland's most distinguished Jazz composer is surely unusual and highly commendable. Stanko, of course, had little trouble to produce a masterpiece, which consists of a six-piece suite for Jazz combo and string orchestra. The participants are all Polish Jazz heroes, starting with the members of Stanko's regular quartet at the time: pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz. Additional players include Stanko's veteran partners: keyboardist Janusz Skowron, saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski and guitarist Antymos Apostolis (who plays only percussion here). Another old friend, keyboardist Wojciech Karolak, is responsible for the string orchestra arrangements, played by the Polish Radio String Orchestra. The music, as always with Stanko, is absolutely breathtaking, from start to finish, performed brilliantly by all the musicians involved. Stanko's trumpet, with its distinctive and unique sound, soars vigorously and caresses gently, both with the same magic quality only he seems to be able to produce. Overall, this is definitely one of the finest Stanko's later period albums and an essential peace of European Jazz. An absolute must!

Side Note: It's a great pity that this album as now out of print and absolutely impossible to find. A repress is desperately in order!

(Editor) Pieśń Kanałów (Song Of The Sewers):

Author: Adam Baruch

sobota, 19 listopada 2011

Laboratorium - The Blue Light Pilot (Helicon, 1982)

Laboratorium (band)
Janusz Grzywacz / piano, Fender Rhodes, synthesisers (Roland Jupiter 4, Micro Moog)
Marek Stryszowski / vocal, sax
Ryszard Styła / guitar
Krzysztof Olesiński / bass guitar
Andrzej Mrowiec / drums

The Blue Light Pilot (Helicon, 1982)

This one really rocks!!! Recorded back in 1982 it contains all original compositions as well as standard "Straight No Chase", this album is so expressive, engaging, emotional that regardless of time I cannot simply detach myself from this fantastic music. Centered among powerful figure of keyboardist Janusz Grzywacz, guitarist Ryszard Styła, bassist Krzysztof Olesiński, drummer Andrzej Mrowiec plus vocalist and saxophonist Marek Stryszowski created a splendid space where both jazz and rock could interact freely. Another feature of this album that adds spice to the pot is that it was recorded live and enthusiasm and zeal of musicians is fully reflected by spontaneous and emphatic reaction of audience. Those times seem now long gone in jazz, at least as far as mainstream concerts are concerned, where most of people remain sombre and thoughtful during gigs even if music calls for dancing and shouting. Sometimes then in spite of attending today's snobistic jazz events it is good to step back a little and discover recordings like this emanating with authenticity and joy that is seldom found in our days.    

Strongly recommended!   

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

piątek, 18 listopada 2011

Tomasz Licak/Artur Tuznik Quintet - Quintet (Blackout Music, 2011) by Stephan Moore

Tomasz Licak (sax) & Artur Tuznik (piano)

Andreas Lang (bass)
Anders Mogensen (drums)
Tomasz Dabrowski (trumpet)

Quintet (Blackout Music, 2011)

A wonderful discovery for me in the last few days has been a quintet session from Tomasz Licak and Artur Tuznik. This fairly new (in terms of lineup) Polish/Danish quintet are young but possess the great energy and punch of their influences. The group combine a sensual style of contemporary modern with well crafted improvisation. Their latest release, simply titled,Quintet feels like mid-period Branford Marsalis or an adventurous One For All.

The group manage to sound well at home in the modern hard bop setting as they do when they let the rhythm fly. "Uwaga" comes pounding out of the speaker with vigour. Tuznik and Mogensen drive the beat with cinematic effect. Tuznik shapes the piece with somber relaxed movements intertwined with improvised changes. These are cut across boisterous chords from the horn section which make "Uwaga" a massive opening statement.

"Lightblub In Green" reminds of the best moments of being in a jazz club and closing my eyes to the rhythm. Lang and Licak have a lovely exchange midway through that could resemble Jackie Mclean and Paul Chambers at their Blue Note best. The quintet quietly swing with verve and each member's contribution is heard crystal clear. The tone is lowered on the melodic and beautiful "Nardis" (also featured on their previous album as Last Call). It's a technical and introspective piece where Tuznik takes center stage and delivers a performance that slowly envelops you with very powerful emotions. Tearful.

While most of the material on Quintet has a contemporary atmosphere, "Hobbit" rips the cover off the box and the group conjure up a funky groove built inside patterns of free jazz. It may have the uninitiated shaking their heads and they will eventually be sucked into the groove. There are individual moments where band members create subtle colours and tones and then return to the fire free form of their original theme.

"Quintet" is a stellar addition to the brief catalog of Licak and Tuznik and they will definitely be one of the creative duos that we will be talking about in the next few years. I loved this record and think its a must for every music fan. And I'm not just talking jazz fans. This is the wonderful balance between contemporary and free jazz.

Author: Stephan Moore

Marta Król - The First Look (STJ, 2011)

Marta Król - vocal
Dawid Glówczewski - sax
Paweł Tomaszewski  - piano/rhodes
Andrzej Święs - d/bass
Paweł Dobrowolski - ds
Tomasz Kalwak - keyb/arrange

First Look (STJ, 2011)
It would be mistake to overlook this debut by Marta Król! Her voice is well-controlled, has depth and colour enough not only to attract attention but to keep it long enough to listen to the whole album. Consisting of standards it is typical debut disc which introduces talented jazz vocalist who is singing in charming, natural and emotional way. High quality Polish jazz players accompany her (Dawid Główczeski - sax, Paweł Tomaszewski - piano, Andrzej Święs - double bass, Paweł Dobrowolski - drums, Tomasz Lakwak - keyboards) who create top quality background for her singing. Although still having a lot time   to develop her own individual style, she already offers good performance and has even better prospects for future... 

Please listen Marta Król singing "Light My Fire" from this album.... 

Author: Maciej Nowotny

czwartek, 17 listopada 2011

Undivided - Moves Between Clouds (Multikulti, 2011) by Stef Gijssels

Undivided (group)

Klaus Kugel (drums)
Perry Robinson (clarinet)
Waclaw Zimpel (clarinet, bass clarinet)
Bobby Few (piano)
Mark Tokar (bass)

Moves Between Clouds (MultiKulti; 2011)

(Editor) We are getting closer to the end of this year 2011 so it is natural to look for the best albums of  all production. This is certainly one of them as much recognized in Poland as abroad which is evidenced by this review on excellent Stef Gijssels blog...

Last year, Undivided's "The Passion" won the "Happy New Ears Award", organised by this blog after a vote among you, readers. So it was with more than genuine interest that we started listening to its successor, which has again great artwork, both on the cover and inside the album.

Thematically, the music shifts from Christian spirituality to Judaism, with the reference of "Ohr Ein Sof" on the inside package, or the "infinite light" as described in the torah, of the creator's state of being before he created.

The band consists of Waclaw Zimpel on clarinet and bass clarinet, Perry Robinson on clarinet, Bobby Few on piano, Mark Tokar on bass and Klaus Kugel on drums. Adding Perry Robinson on clarinet was a clever idea, because both clarinets give each other depth and contrast.

The music is as before clearly indebted to the Coltrane legacy, including Alice Coltrane, with long and slow thematic developments, post-bop, but then less focused on the musician's individual soloing as it is on the overall effect created by the entire band. As the spiritual theme might suggest, the compositions are full of reverend, solemn drama, exalted and expansive, trying to capture this state of being where there are no boundaries, no demarkations, no differences. Yet this does not mean that there is no musical substance here, quite to the contrary, the compositions, the harmonic development, the playing itself is again fantastic, with its own yearning aesthetic, and its integration of elements of various jazz subgenres, including today's music, but also klezmer. And all this is brought with the ambition of a classical symphony, flowing endlessly, full of majesty and grandeur.

A band with a great musical vision, and pitch perfect delivery. Again a great achievement.

(Editor) Check a music from first album by Undivided titled "The Passion" as it demonstrates well this band's style as well as shows how interesting it may be to listen what is the next step in its development...

Stef Gijssels

środa, 16 listopada 2011

Nucleon - Commandor Konig To Alpha Base: The Eagle Is Ready For Take Off! (2009)

Nucleon (band)

Aleksander Papierz - saxophones
Jakub Rutkowski - ac. & el. drums
Tomek Głuc - handsonic sampler

Commandor Konig To Alpha Base: The Eagle Is Ready For Take Off! (2009)

Nucleon has lately become one of my favorite avantjazz bands in Poland so I am satisfied that with this review their discography on this blog is completed. Their first album "Nucleon" (2007) as well as last "Fitoplankton" (2011) are excellent proposals. This one is missing link and I think it will remain so. As far as I know it was kind of printed only for promotional purposes and never reached normal distribution. In my opinion to the detriment of audience since it contains very good music. Experimenting, improvising, creative it represents side of jazz  I like the most.  It is also exemplary for being able to balance well traditionally acoustic and electronically generated sounds, with neither dominating the other and yet supplying each other with interesting counterpoints.
Who is responsible for this inspiring recording? Jakub Rutkowski provides pulse on his acoustic and electronic drums, Aleksander Papierz sings on saxophone while Tomek Głuc and his  electronic sounds give depth to the conversation of this duo, refreshing and rejuvenating typical avantgarde sax-drums scheme.

Check tune "Eagle 2" from this album to draw your own conclusions:

and one more since the music is really interesting:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

wtorek, 15 listopada 2011

Wojtek Jachna / Jacek Buhl – Niedokonczone Ksiazki (Audio Tong, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Jachna/Buhl (duo)

Wojtek Jachna (trumpet, electronics)
Jacek Buhl (drums)

Niedokonczone Ksiazki (Audio Tong Music, 2011)

(Editor) Adam Baruch's (check his music boutique: https://www.jazzis.com/shop/on one of the most beautiful music coming from Polish artists this year! Read also no less enthusiastic review of this disc by Stephan Moore on this blog (link).

This wonderful album by the Polish duo: trumpeter Wojtek Jachna and drummer Jacek Buhl, is a superb example of how Jazz reinvents itself and updates itself constantly thanks to new and talented musicians. Of course the concept of the trumpet-drums duet in Jazz is not completely unusual, with the legendary Don Cherry / Ed Blackwell album "Mu" being an early example. Originally released in 1969 that double LP was a revolutionary step forward, redefining and expanding the genre's borders. In the course of history several other noticeable trumpet-drums duet albums were also recorded. This album, as mentioned above, updates this concept thanks to the new technology available today, which allows electronically generated ambient vistas to be incorporated into some of the tracks, but basically it's up to the two players to create the substance. The music, although mostly improvised and close to the Free Jazz movement, has a strong melodic content and atmospheric / ambient feel about it, which is characteristic of movie soundtracks. Buhl's ability to play the drums as a melodic instrument (as opposed to a purely rhythmic one) is truly remarkable. His extended solo passages never cease to amaze as far as inventiveness and sensitivity are concerned. Jachna's minimalism, combined with his complete command of his instrument is highly effective and artistically sublime. Their duets are wonderful example of two musicians listening to each other at all times, giving up their egos in order to achieve a fusion of their powers and a higher level of unity. This is definitely one of the most interesting Polish Jazz albums I've come across lately and I can't imagine any true Jazz enthusiast not finding this album worthy of their attention. Great stuff!

(Editor) "Zmęczony łoś" a tune from this album/ What a music!!!

Author: Adam Baruch

poniedziałek, 14 listopada 2011

Filip Wojciechowski - Moments (Licomp, 2011)

Filip Wojciechowski - piano 
Gary Guthman - trumpet, flugerhorn
Marcin Kajper - tenor sax, sopran sax
Paweł Pańta - doublebass, electric bass
Cezary Konrad - drums
Oskar Wojciechowski - acoustic guitar

Polish Philharmonic Sinfonia Baltica in Słupsk
Bohdan Jarmołowicz - conductor 

Moments (Licomp, 2011)

One of my friends Adam Domagała (check his interesting blog Z dżezem lżej) has recently told me that as far as smooth jazz is concerned, its quality rests mainly in how attractive are melodies. If to appraise this disc by such a measure it is rather unconvincing. This feeling of disappointment is increased by simplified, predictable and so-many-times-played arrangements. One must feel astonished indeed why so well educated and gifted musicians decided to play so schematic notes?! No freedom, no spontaineity, no innovation. Sure it is technically decent but jazz is not classical music! In fact the idea of jazz goes quite opposite!!! Jazz is all about searching for what is unexpected, surprise, spontaneous. Few such moments if any may be found in this music.  If however, like Wynton Marsalis or his likes, you treat jazz as new classical music in which success should be measured by fidelity of copy of music of masters (Davis, Coltrane, Evans etc.) of the past, well, then it is possible that you will have quite opposite opinion to mine!!! You will be enthusiastic about musicians' technical proficiency, their discipline in playing notes distinctively and so so smooth. You may even come to conclusion that this music is beautiful as many find women after many cosmetic surgeries correcting face, breasts, legs etc. very attractive. But I cannot... sorry...

Check sample of music from this album to draw your own conclusions:

Author: Maciej Nowotny

niedziela, 13 listopada 2011

Piotr Orzechowski – Pianohooligan (2011)

Piotr Orzechowski - piano

Pianohooligan (2011)

(Editor) Adam Baruch's keen eye spotted debut recording by talented Mr Piotr Orzechowski. He has recently won Grand Prix at prestigious Jazz Competition in Montreux (more), set up his first band called High Definition and is clearly going to make to the top of Polish jazz pianists...

Polish pianist / composer Piotr Orzechowski is at the moment the youngest Polish Jazz piano star. Tenderly aged 21 he already has an impressive CV, which many much older musicians could envy, which includes winning several competitions both as instrumentalist and composer. Classically trained, he discovered Jazz as a teenager and has been active on the Jazz scene since. His nickname "Pianohooligan" is quite appropriate for his disregard of music conventions, which he does not hesitate to break at every possible occasion. This incredible debut recording, present him both as a pianist and composer, in at the most difficult setting as a solo performer. The music presented starts with a prelude by Johann Sebastian Bach, continues with an eight-part scherzo composed by Orzechowski, followed by a Keith Jarrett tune and finally concludes with a fugue by Dmitri Shostakovich. This strange collage of musical pieces makes perfect sense when performed by Orzechowski, even though at the first glance one might wonder what all this music has in common. His incredible virtuosity and individuality, as well as his great sense of melody, harmony and rhythm manage to produce a coherent musical experience, which brigs the listener many moments of bliss and supreme musical joy. The attempt to fuse Classical music and Jazz in this case works beautifully, proving yet again that great music is cross-genre and universally aesthetically perfect. The treatment of the Classical pieces is genuinely sublime and the original music is masterfully crafted. Overall it is a great album from start to finish and honestly quite scary, considering the age of its creator. For people of such talent sky is the only limit!

(Ediotor) Please watch & listen to this kind of joke video showing what potential Piotr Orzechowski posseses, here accompanied by excellent young drummer Patryk Dobosz:

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

sobota, 12 listopada 2011

Enterout Trio - Pink Ivory (Multikulti, 2009)

Enterout Trio (band)

Piotr Mełech: clarinet & bass clarinet
Adam Wróblewski: cello
Sebastian Grzesiak: drums

Pink Ivory (Multikulti, 2009)

New album titled "Coarse Day" (2011) of avantgarde clarinetist Piotr Mełech  is already available and made a very good impression on me. So let us remind you his previous (and first as a leader) album "Pink Ivory" (2009) which brought very interesting music indeed. Here in excellent Stef Gijssels review (http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/):

When the Cracow Klezmer Band stopped playing, I was sad, because I liked their combination of traditional music with jazz and classical, of the dark menace behind the joyful themes, the combination of melancholy and aesthetic beauty, combining entertainment with virtuosity. Now, the Enterout Trio, equally Polish, is here with the same ingredients, but making a different stew out of it, more jazz, rawer, more adventurous. No klezmer this time, but rhythmic, melodic and lyrical improvisations full of gloom and foreboding.

Piotr Mełech plays clarinet and bass clarinet, Adam Wróblewski plays cello, and Sebastian Grzesiak drums. With just the three of them, they alternate composed with fully improvised pieces. The first track, "Terminus", combines it all: a somewhat abstract intro evolves into a forward driven rhythm, with the cello's supportive drone setting the ideal backdrop for the clarinet's joyful theme followed by free improvisation, and when the rhythm slows down again, the drums goes and the clarinet and bowed cello converse in a modern classical way, then the cello goes forth on its own, full of vulnerable hesitancy and clear of tone, tearing the composition out of its pattern and pushing it deep into uncharted territory, yet without losing its inherent lyricism, and when the clarinet and drums return, they rejoin the - now mournful - theme. The improvised pieces vary between free improv and melodious creativity. The longest piece, "Księżycowy" ("Lunar"), is a gem, but then one of terror and madness, with a dark unison theme that develops into nightmarish improvisations and volumes of sound you wouldn't expect from a trio. A great album: excellent musicians and the coherence of their creative vision is even more impressive if you know that this is only their debut.

Check his website for music: http://www.myspace.com/enterout2007.

Author of text: Stef Gijssels (http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com)

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