sobota, 31 marca 2012

Andrzej Trzaskowski – Seant (Polish Jazz Vol.11, 1966)

Andrzej Trzaskowski - piano

Janusz Muniak - soprano sax
Ted Curson - trumpet
Wlodzimierz Nahorny - alto sax
Jacek Ostaszewski - bass
Adam Jędrzejowski - drums

Seant (Polish Jazz Vol.11, 1966)

This monumental album, perhaps as important as fellow Polish Jazz Godfather Krzysztof Komeda's "Astigmantic", recorded at the same period, is unfortunately significantly less known and appreciated, both in Poland and abroad, which is a great misfortune. Pianist / composer Andrzej Trzaskowski contributed enormously to the development of Polish Jazz, especially in the field of more experimental, avant-garde, Free Jazz music, which was rapidly developing worldwide in the 1960s. This sextet recording, which includes American trumpeter Ted Curson (of Charles Mingus fame), who was spending as much of his time in Europe as at home, playing along brilliant Polish crew: saxophonists Wlodzimierz Nahorny and Janusz Muniak, bassist Jacek Ostaszewski and drummer Adam Jedrzejowski. The music, all original compositions by Trzaskowski, is simply brilliant and absolutely pioneering in every respect. Listening to this album in retrospect one can hear clearly that in the historic perspective it was as innovative and groundbreaking as anything else created at the time over the pond and beyond the Iron Curtain. In addition it is also aesthetically beautiful and intellectually challenging. An absolute must to any Polish Jazz enthusiast; this is an essential piece of Polish Jazz history.

Track listing: 1. Seant; 2. Wariacja na temat „Oj, tam u boru” / Variation on the theme „Near the Forest”; 3. The Quibble; 4. Cosinusoida

By Adam Baruch

Ragtime Jazz Band – Ragtime Jazz Band (Polish Jazz Vol.07, 1966)

Ragtime Jazz Band

Władysław Dobrowolski - cornet, leader;
Jerzy Galiński - clarinet;
Dymitr Markiewicz -trombone;
Mieczyslaw Mazur — piano;
Alfred Baranowski —banjo;
Andrzej Jastrzębski - tuba;
Jerzy Dunin-Kozicki - drums,

- and also as sideman:
Hans Carling – trumpet (1,4,5,6,8,9,10,12,13)

Ragtime Jazz Band (Polish Jazz Vol.07)

The Traditional Jazz (a.k.a. Trad) is a term describing several Jazz sub-genres, which were stylistically developed mostly in the early 20th Century, and includes a plethora of quite distinct types of music including Ragtime, New Orleans, Dixieland and others. With the development of modern Jazz in the 1950s, a parallel movement of "returning to the roots" swept the Jazz world and a plethora of Trad groups appeared everywhere, including of course the lively Polish Jazz scene. Trad was especially popular with Polish students, and most Polish Trad group originated in the various Universities around the country. Ragtime Jazz Band, formed by cornet player Wladyslaw Dobrowolski in 1962, comprised of student from Warsaw. The septet lineup crystallized rapidly and the group gained popularity first around Poland and later also abroad. It was considered as one of the best Trad bands on the Polish scene and this is their only album. The group managed to enlist the help of excellent Swedish trumpeter Hans Carling, turning the group into an octet for most of the tracks included on the album. The music is all original, composed by the group's members and is absolutely brilliant from start to finish, definitely as good as any such music played at the time around the world. In retrospect it's a real gem and a proud evidence of how good the Polish Jazz scene was at the time. Recommended!

Track listing: 1.RAGTIME’OWY CHŁOPIEC The Ragtime Boy (D. Markiewicz) 3’50; 2.KALOSZ The Galosh ( Dobrowolski) 2’50; 3.RAGTIME-SZCZYPAWKA The Ragtime Earwig (M. Mazur) 1’35; 4.BONGA BONGA (D. Markiewicz) 3’05; 5.W CIEMNYM POKOJU In the Dark Room (W. Dobrowolski) 4’10; 6.BECZKA ŚMIECHU Barrel of Laughs D. Markiewicz) 3’40; 7.U CIOCI NA IMIENINACH My Auni’s Birth-day Party (M. Mazur) 2’25; 8.DZIURAWY PARASOL The Leaky Umbrella (A. Skorupka) 2’50; 9.RAGTIME NA DWIE RĘCE Ragtime for Two Hands (M. Mazur) 2’00; 10.NA TRAMPOLINIE On the Spring-board (W. Dobrowolsky) 3’35; 11.ZAKŁAD WIEWIÓRKI Squirrel’s Shop (M. Mazur) 1’25; 12.MR. CARLING (D. Markiewicz) 3’00; 13.SPACER PO TARGÓWKU AWalkAlongTargówek (W. Dobrowolski); 14.ETIUDA RAGTIME’OWA Ragtime Etude(M. Mazur) 210; 15.JUBILEUSZ Jubilee (D. Markiewicz) 3’30

By Adam Baruch

piątek, 30 marca 2012

Tomasz Szukalski - Tina Kamila (Polish Jazz Extended Vol. 83, 2005)

Tomasz Szukalski - tenor sax

Czesław Bartkowski - drums
Dariusz Oleszkiewicz - double bass
Wojciech Karolak - piano
Grand Standard Orchestra Jana Pt. Wróblewskiego

Tina Kamila (Polish Jazz Extended Vol. 83)  

This wonderful album is the debut recording as a leader by Polish Jazz saxophonist / composer Tomasz Szukalski, one of the veterans of the local scene. Although Szukalski has been active on the scene for many years and participated in many recordings, the opportunity to make an album under his own name came only relatively late in his career path. This album is quite a surprise in many respects, as it presents Szukalski playing Jazz standards accompanied by the Grand Standard Orchestra led and conducted by Jan "Ptaszyn" Wroblewski. His tenor sounds absolutely marvelous against the orchestra's strings and the album is one of the most beautifully melodic Polish Jazz releases. Stylistically the album resembles similar sax and strings recordings, such as those by Ben Webster for example, and Szukalski's virtuosity and incredible feel easily match those of the legendary Jazz Masters. He is accompanied by a great rhythm section with pianist Wojciech Karolak, bassist Dariusz Oleszkiewicz and drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski. The music comprises mostly of Jazz standards, but includes also compositions by Polish Jazz composers like Karolak, Wroblewski, Bronislaw Suchanek and one tune by the Szukalski himself. In retrospect this album lost nothing of its power and intrinsic beauty, and any Jazz lover in the world should be able to enjoy it wholeheartedly. Brilliant stuff!

Track listing: 1. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning (Mann, Hilliard); 2. Laura (D. Raskin); 3. Like Someone In Love (Burke, Van Heussen); 4. Dolej olej (J. Pt. Wróblewski); 5. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington, Mills); 6. Stardust (H. Carmichael); 7. Lonesome Dancer (B. Suchanek); 8. Ballada o spełnionych snach (W. Karolak); 9. My One And Only Love (Mellin, Wood); 10. Tina Kamila

By Adam Baruch

NOVI – Bossa Nova (Polish Jazz Vol.13, 1967)

NOVI (band)

Bernard Kawka
Aleksander Gluch
Waldemar Parzyński
Janusz Mych
Ewa Wanat

Bossa Nova (Polish Jazz Vol.13, 1967)

This is the debut album by the sensational Polish vocal quartet NOVI, which was one of the greatest Polish Jazz acts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Continuing the tradition of Jazz vocalese groups like the French Les Double Six and Swingle Singers, NOVI expanded the borders further on into more experimental areas and used more instrumental backing, provided the best Polish Jazz musicians at the time. The quartet was led by singer / arranger / composer Bernard Kawka and included also the incredible female vocalist Ewa Wanat and two additional male vocalists Janusz Mych and Waldemar Parzynski. All the singers were also capable instrumentalists. Together they created beautiful vocal harmonies of exceptional sophistication and unique style, unparalleled to this day. On this album they performed all original material, composed by all three male singers with Kawka responsible for six of the fourteen tunes and the incredible arrangements turning everything into a distinctive NOVI vocal signature. This is definitely one of the most unique Polish Jazz acts and an absolute must for every vocal jazz connoisseur!

Track listing: 1. Brownie; 2. Cichy wieczór; 3. Żółty słoń; 4. Trzeba wracać; 5. Nastroje małych misiów; 6. Dwa po dwa; 7. Następny proszę; 8. Pyzate słoneczniki; 9. Jak powrócić do tej chwili; 10. Mini dziewczyna; 11. Bariera uczuć; 12. GOGO; 13. Król Salomon; 14. Tańczące orzechy

By Adam Baruch

czwartek, 29 marca 2012

S.P.P.T. Chalturnik – Chalturnik (Polish Jazz Extended, Vol. 95, 1974)

S.P.P.T. Chalturnik (band)

Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski - tenor saxophone, "mouth synthesizer", leader
Zbigniew Namyslowski - alto saxophone
Janusz Muniak - tenor saxophone
Tomasz Szukalski - bass clarinet, clarinet, tenor saxophone
Zdzislaw Piernik - tuba
Jan Jarczyk - piano, trombone
Tomasz Ochalski - piano (tracks 2, 10 only)
Bronislaw Suchanek - bass
Jerzy Bezucha - drums

Chalturnik (1974)
This wonderful album is the debut recording by the S.P.P.T. Chalturnik ensemble, invented, founded and led by saxophonist / composer / bandleader Jan "Ptaszyn" Wroblewski. As the title suggest, the idea behind this ensemble is all about humor in Jazz, a relatively rare attitude in modern Jazz but something quite common in traditional Jazz. The ensemble consisted of the crème de la crème of the Polish Jazz scene: saxophonists Zbigniew Namyslowski, Janusz Muniak and Tomasz Szukalski, tuba player Zdzislaw Piernik, pianist Jan Jarczyk (replaced by Tomasz Ochalski on two tracks), bassist Bronislaw Suchanek and drummer Jerzy Bezucha, with the leader playing saxophone and a "mouth synthesizer" (i.e. a comb) and contributing four of his original compositions. The rest of the music comes from various sources, including even one theme by Tomasz Stanko (obviously a tongue in cheek towards modern Jazz). Although the humorous approach to the music is easily detected, the perfect performances and the wonderful arrangements turn this album a true gem. These great musicians prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that sometimes it pays to take a slightly relaxed approach to music. Great stuff!

Tracklisting: 1. Nasze male trzydziestolecie; 2. Lampasiasty; 3. El Condor Pasa; 4. Medley: Serende in Blue/ I'm Getting Sentimental; 5. Cockneyem; 6. What's New Pussycat; 7. Podwieczorek bez mikrofonu; 8. Music for my friends; 9. Experience

By Adam Baruch

Jerzy Milian – Orkiestra Rozrywkowa PRiTV W Katowicach (Polish Jazz Extended Vol.92, 1975)

Jerzy Milian - Conductor, Vibraphone

Orkiestra Rozrywkowa PRiTV W Katowicach (1975)

This album presents the veteran Polish Jazz vibraphonist / composer / bandleader Jerzy Milian as the founder / director / conductor of the Polish Radio and TV Orchestra in the southern Polish region of Silesia (with its capital in Katowice). This Orchestra, comprising of young musicians, mostly from the Jazz Department of the local Music Conservatory, perform original music which includes also two of Milian's compositions. Although only marginally Jazz, it is a great example of how Jazz musicians were able to find jobs in the Socialist System, playing original music. The Orchestra also includes a vocal combo, which sings in some of the tunes, stylistically resembling the famous Polish vocal ensemble NOVI. In retrospect this music is certainly not a Polish Jazz milestone recording, but is still quite fun to listen to after all these years and certainly a document of the era.

Track listing: 1. Waleczny Biedron; 2. Niedzielne Popoludnie; 3. Sloneczna Podroz; 4. Kung To Jest To; 5. Biala Magia; 6. Nie Widzisz A Widzisz; 7. Autostrada Pelna Slonca; 8. Astrobolid; 9. Nie Martw Sie O Wianek; 10. Z Nuta W Herbie; 11. Hop, Zdzis Dzis; 12. Przyjdz Z Jesienia

By Adam Baruch

środa, 28 marca 2012

Michal Urbaniak / Constellation – In Concert (Polish Jazz Vol.36, 1973)

Michal Urbaniak / Constellation (band)

Michał Urbaniak - el. violin
Urszula Dudziak - vocal, percussion instr.
Wojciech Karolak - Hammond Organ, Fartisa
Czesław Bartkowski - drums
Adam Makowicz - Fender piano & Fender bass

In Concert (Polish Jazz Vol.36, 1973) 

This is the second album on the legendary Polish Jazz series by the Polish saxophonist / violinist / composer / bandleader Michal Urbaniak. A veteran Polish Jazz musician, Urbaniak was a member of the legendary ensembles led by Krzysztof Komeda, where he played the saxophone, but by the early 1970 he switched to the violin and plunged into Jazz-Rock Fusion, rapidly becoming one of the most inventive and creative pioneers of the genre. This album and the albums recorded in Germany and later in the USA are absolute Fusion milestones, but also stand out as completely unique in their approach to the genre. Urbaniak combined the marvelous abilities of his wife Urszula Dudziak and her extraordinary and experimental vocalese technique with his common usage of Polish Folklore motifs, creating a superb and completely unparalleled Fusion music. This live recording captures his baseless / double keyboard ensemble, which also includes organist Wojciech Karolak, pianist Adam Makowicz and drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski. The music, all composed by Urbaniak, is simply out of this world, brilliant and fresh, absolutely resistant to the tides of time and fashion. In retrospect one can only regret that Fusion followed mostly the direction of flashy virtuosic display of neck-breaking guitar races rather than the direction proposed by Urbaniak's Fusion, but it's unfortunately too late now. At least we can savor this music, 40 years after it was recorded, well aged and beautifully eternal. A must!

Track listing: 1. Bengal (17:41); 2. Spokoj (3:32); 3. Lato (8:01); 4. Seresta (9:42); 5. Theme (3:04)

By Adam Baruch

Krzysztof Sadowski – And His Hammond Organ (Polish Jazz Vol.21, 1970)

Krzysztof Sadowski - Hammond organ (mod. M-120)

Andrzej Dąbrowski - drums
Jazz Studio Orchestra of the Polish Radio -
Jan 'Ptaszyn' Wróblewski - leader

And His Hammond Organ (Polish Jazz Vol.21, 1970)

This is the first album on the legendary Polish Jazz series, which is dedicated to the Hammond organ, the godfather of the electronic keyboards and probably the most significant new instrument, which dominated Jazz and Progressive Rock in the late 1960s and early 1970s (although available since the 1930s). Keyboardist Krzysztof Sadowski belongs to the first post WWII generation of Polish Jazz musicians, debuting in the 1950s and active on the local scene for many years. He combined his love of Jazz and Rock, playing with the leading ensembles of both genres with equal dedication and success. This album presents his Hammond organ performances in two different environments: Side A of the original LP captures him accompanied just by drummer Andrzej Dabrowski and the duo moves through a Rocky set, which includes a Beatles medley. Side B finds him accompanied by the Polish Radio Jazz Studio Orchestra, led by saxophonist / composer Jan "Ptaszyn" Wroblewski and featuring top Polish Jazz players, among them saxophonist Janusz Muniak, bassist Bronislaw Suchanek, drummer Janusz Stefanski and many others. This set is much closer to Jazz and features a beautiful version of Krzysztof Komeda's ballad from "Rosemary's Baby".

Track listing: 1. Z Malej Chmury Duzy Deszcz (Heavy Rain From a Little Cloud); 2. Impression Of The Beatles (With a Little Help From My Friends, Yesterday, A Hard Day's Night); 3. Kołysząc się - Swingind; 4. Skąd my to znamy - Something Familliar; 5. Blues z morałem - Don't Count on Neal; 6. Ballada z filmu 'Rosemary's Baby' Main Theme From 'Rosemary's Baby'; 7. Punkt docelowy - Aim Point; 8. Za parę dźwięk

By Adam Baruch

niedziela, 25 marca 2012

Jachna / Buhl - Pan Jabu (Monotype, 2009)

Wojtek Jachna - trumpet

Jacek Buhl- drums, percussion

Pan Jabu (Monotype, 2009)

On "Pan Jabu", Wojtek Jachna plays trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn and electronics, and Jacek Buhl plays drums and percussion. Although Jachna is a guitarist and punk rocker "by education", his trumpet-playing is mainly self-taught and refined by studying with other players. Both musicians add rock and electronic elements in every track, resulting in an atmospheric meditations combined with a sometimes powerful drive. "Nu jazz" if you want. To it's credit, the album does not have the pretense of Nils Petter Molvaer (although his influence is obvious, yet without the Swede's power), nor does it fall into the abyss of commercial sentimentalism like some of the more recent work of Markus Stockhausen or Matthias Eick. It's a pleasant, sometimes even joyful and promising album, although one would have expected more power, anger and creative attack from two musicians who have been active in the alternative, punk and noise scene. 

Track listing: 01 - Welcome Suchary; 02 - Ponad miastem...; 03 - Niezdrowe jedzenie; 04 - Walczyk nad Brdą; 05 - Żegnaj mikrob!!!; 06 - Koczis spotyka blade twarze; 07 - Lunatique; 08 - Niezwyciężony; 09 - Pan Jabu rozmyty; 10 - Wakacje z duchami; 11 - Muzyka dla sumów 

sobota, 24 marca 2012

Wojtek in Bangladesh!

Fot. Paweł Joźwiak
Bangalore may be the rock capital of the country, but its jazz enthusiasts have a plenty of reason to rejoice — a performance by Wojtek Mazolewski and his quintet was recently held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in the City. The concert was a delightful one, because unlike most other fusion performances, this one was pure jazz. The concert was held as a part of the Bangalore School of Music’s silver jubilee celebrations.

The quintet comprised Oskar Torok on trumpet, Marek Pospieszalski on saxophone, Joanna Duda on piano, Michal Bryndal on percussion and Wojtek himself on double bass. They formed quite a picture on stage — especially the pianist, who despite being attired in a dark suit, had a blonde mohawk and turquoise Wayfarers.

With no preamble, the quintet began their first piece for the evening, a melodious tune with long-drawn notes and soft accompaniment on the piano. Wojtek proved to be master at manipulating his instrument — he pulled the strings in such a way that they created harsh, almost digitalised notes. The saxophone was especially a delight to hear. 

The composition was such that each instrument was given its moment in the sunshine, while the others took the background. The trumpet and saxophone were especially mesmerising. At the end of the piece, the drummer asked for his sound to be adjusted, and then delighted the crowd with a quick bow and a namaste.

Next up, they played a Polish dance number, a folksy piece which went down well with the audience. The drummer switched his sticks for soft, tasselled ones, and created very unconventional noises on the drums — at times gentle tapping the cymbals, and otherwise merely drawing the sticks over their length to produce a hushed, barely-audible noise. The trumpet was clearly the star of this piece.

After this, they delighted the audience by playing their composition ‘Smells Like Tape Spirit’ — an ode, it would seem, to Nirvana’s classic anthem. It was a delight to watch Wojtek’s fingers tripping over the strings of his instrument. The overall tone of the piece was light and deliberate, and somewhat slower than the other numbers. The play-off between the saxophone and double bass was excellent. 

They also played a ballet, which is called ‘Princess No 9 and 10’. The audience was delighted with the performance, clapping throughout. Ankur, a member of the audience, said, “I always make it a point to come for jazz concerts. This was very nice, and I loved the music on the saxophone.”

piątek, 23 marca 2012

Grazyna Auguscik - Past Forward (GMA Records, 2003)

Grażyna Auguścik - vocals

Jarek Bester - accordion
John McLean - guitars
Kelly Sill - bass
Steve Eisen - saxophones & flute
Tom Hipskind - drums, percussion

Past Forward (GMA Records, 2003)

Although English has been jazz' primary language, there is no law stating that jazz must be performed in English 100 percent of the time. Jazz can sound great in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Italian, as well as in various Germanic languages; in Sweden, some vocalists have brought a jazz perspective to Scandinavian folk songs. But what about Polish? On this adventurous and generally excellent CD, Grazyna Auguscik demonstrates that Polish lyrics can, in fact, be appropriate for jazz singing. Some jazz purists and bop snobs might claim that what the Poland-native-turned-Chicago-resident does on Past Forward isn't really jazz -- that it's simply world music with jazz overtones. But thankfully, Auguscik has a broader, more expansive view of jazz than the Stanley Crouch/Wynton Marsalis crowd, and she is insightful enough to realize that jazz singing doesn't have to be a faceless Sarah Vaughan clone giving us yet another knee-jerk version of "My Funny Valentine." 

Auguscik brings a wide variety of influences to this material (some of which is based on traditional Polish folk songs), and they range from fellow Polish singer Urszula Dudziak to Pat Metheny, Keith Jarrett and ECM Records to Brazilian singer Flora Purim. Although Brazil is a long way from her native Poland, Auguscik often draws on Purim's influence -- especially when she gets into wordless scat improvisations. Occasionally, Auguscik sings in English, which can be problematic because her accent is quite heavy (in contrast to Sweden's Jeanette Lindström, Holland's Fay Claassen, and many other European jazz vocalists who sing in perfect English). But that's a problem that Auguscik can work on and correct with the right vocal coach. Past Forward is still a fascinating, visionary effort from a distinctive artist who obviously isn't afraid to take risks.

Track listing: 1. Mother (Matulu) [09:13]; 2. Why me (Czemu żeś mnie) [06:03]; 3. Soul Migration [07:54]; 4. Lullaby (Uśnijże mi) [07:28]; 5. Past Forward [08:41]; 6. Krywań [05:14]; 7. No return [05:22]

By Alex Henderson

czwartek, 22 marca 2012

Chordofon Szarpany czyli Damaś i Buba w Szpulce

Wiele można powiedzieć o ludziach obserwując jak sobie radzą, gdy jest im zimno. Niektórzy zamykają się w domu, uszczelniają drzwi i okna, ubierają się w ciepłą piżamę, zakładają grube skarpety, by na koniec wśliznąć się pod pierzynę skąd ledwie widać zaczerwieniony i wilgotny nos. Ale są i drudzy, którzy zachowują się w całkowicie przeciwny sposób! Rozpinają koszulę, podwijają spódnicę, zsuwają buty ze stóp, biorą kogoś w ramiona i zaczynają tańczyć, śpiewać, szaleć! Muzyka jak ciepło z farelki przenika przez ich skórę, dociera do każdej komórki, wywołuje w każdej z nich minieksplozję entuzjazmu, paroksyzm energii, wprawia w lewitację. I oto czujesz jak po plecach przechodzi Ci dreszcz. Jeszcze przed chwilą byłeś jak wielki sopel lodu, a już jesteś jak przyczajony tygrys i ukryty smok. Muzyka zmieniła Cię z przygniecionego szaroburą, nadwiślańską zimą zombie w człowieka światła, który razem z innymi nutkami wspina się po pięcioliniach schodami do nieba...

To mniej więcej przydarzyło się Waszemu zziębniętemu korespondentowi, gdy w sobotni wieczór 17 marca anno domini 2012 “przechodził z tragarzami” opodal przenajświętszej kawiarnianej trójcy współczesnej Warszawy czyli Szparki, Szpilki i Szpulki położonych na najpiękniejszym chyba warszawskim placu Trzech Krzyży. I właśnie w tę ostatnią, w Szpulkę, udało się wtłoczyć, innych słów nie znajduję biorąc pod uwagę, że kawiarnia ta jest doprawdy maleńka, kilkadziesiąt osób publiczności i... jedenastu muzyków tworzących razem Piotr Damasiewicz Ensamble! Projekt nosi nazwę “Power Of The Horns” i jest ciągle w fazie kształtowania, dlatego muzycy zmieniają się, a w tej konfiguracji byli to lider na trąbce, Maciej Obara i Adam Pindura na saksofonach altowych, Gerard Lebik na saksofonie tenorowym, Piotr Łyszkiewicz na saksofonie sopranowym, Paweł Niewiadomski na puzonie i sekcja rytmiczna Jakub Mielcarek i Marcin Jadach na kontrabasach, Michał Trela na perkusji i Wojtek Romanowski na perkusjonaliach. A to jeszcze nie koniec! Bo w jednym z trzech granych tego wieczoru utworów zatytułowanym ‘Botswana’ zagrał sympatyczny gość z Afryki imieniem Buba, który wspomógł zespół grą na chordofonie szarpanym zwanym korą.

Znawcy wśród publiczności (która była znakomita i muzycznie wyrobiona!) wskazywali na takie źródła inspiracji jak Art Ensemble of Chicago z niezapomnianym Lesterem Bowie na trąbie i Roscoe Mitchelem na saksofonie tenorowym. Podobnie jak ta wywodząca się z ruchu AACM formacja band Damasiewicza ma charakter warsztatowy, skład jest płynny, a punkt ciężkości leży nie na kompozycji, a na spontaniczności danego wydarzenia (patrz ad hoc dołączenie Bubu do składu!) czy interkakcji między muzykami grającymi w zmieniających się jak w kalejdoskopie układach. Brakuje jeszcze tylko pewnego elementu show, który jak wiadomo towarzyszył występom zespołu z Chicago, gdy Joseph Jarman występował odziany jedynie... w pasek do saksofonu, a Lester Bowie wychodził na scenę ubrany w biały kitel i maseczkę jak chirurg do operacji. U nas to chyba nie przejdzie, ale i tak zespół ten wnosi powiew świeżości o jaki w naszej dość konserwatywnej jazzowej rzeczywistości niełatwo, a energia muzyków i ich poświęcenie (tak należy określić ośmiogodzinną podróż z Wrocławia do Warszawy na darmowy koncert) porywają. Podsumowując, granie było nieco chaotyczne, ale power (nazwa zobowiązuje) rzeczywiście był!!! Chciałoby się usłyszeć to zagrane starannie i w optymalnym składzie (lider wspominał, że w wersji ostatecznej pojawi się na fortepianie Dominik Wania), w odpowiedniej sali i nagrane tak, żeby wybrzmiały wszystkie detale. I koniecznie w wersji Live...

Autor: Maciej Nowotny

Krzysztof Herdzin - Chopin (Polonia Records, 1996)

Krzysztof Herdzin - piano

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet, fluegelhorn
Maciej Sikala - tenor sax
Jacek Niedziela - bass
Marcin Jahr - drums

 Chopin (Polonia Records, 1996)

Although K. Herdzin is a classically trained pianist, his "Chopin" is the most jazzy and universal of all jazz renditions of Chopin's music published to date. All of the compositions are based on motifs and fragments of reworked Chopin phrases. One cannot accuse Herdzin of misusing or abusing Chopin's music because of the sheer fact that Herdzin has ventured very far from the original. He does not quote Chopin directly but uses variations of the motifs. He never cites the original, never borrows (or as some would say - never steals). Herdzin's Chopin-like tunes are his own original creations and in themselves testify to his substantial talent. This is one of the most interesting albums released in Poland to date.

Tracklisting: 1. Etiuda E-dur op.10 nr.3; 2. Walc cis-moll; 3. Mazurek F-dur op.68 nr.3; 4. Walc h-moll op.69 nr.2; 5. Preludium A-dur op.28 nr.7; 6. Grande Valse Brillante As-dur op.34; 7. Preludium Des-dur op.28 nr.15; 8. Zyczenie

By Ryszard Borowski Jazz Magazine

środa, 21 marca 2012

Levity Trio & Toshinori Kondo - Chopin Shuffle (2010)

Levity Trio & Toshinori Kondo

Jacek Kita - fortepian, pianet, syntezatory, samplery

Piotr Domagalski - kontrabas, gitara basowa, szklanka, papier, odglosy paszcza
Jerzy Rogiewicz - perkusja
Toshinori Kondo - trabka elektryczna
Gaba Kulka - spiew (8)
Grzegorz Uzdanski - recytacja (9)
Raphael Roginski - gitara elektryczna (6)
Tomasz Duda - saksofon barytonowy (12-A, 10-B)

Chopin Shuffle (2010)

Levity is Jacek Kita (keyboards), Piotr Domagalski (basses) and Jerzy Rogiewicz (drums). They started playing together in 2005, when Kita and Rogiewicz met during their composition studies at Academy of Music in Krakow. Their debut, self titled album released in 2009 by buoyant label Lado ABC was exploring the boundaries of improvisation within the schemes of classical jazz song form. All pieces written by Levity, ranged from ethereal „scandinavian” sounding lyricism to complex, polytonal broken beats played with punk energy. 

Their second, double album „Chopin Shuffle” (Universal 2010) presented the band extending their sound with synthesisers, electric basses, effects, samples and top notch production. It is also a concept album with all the pieces based on Frederic Chopin’s cycle of 24 preludes op.28. A special guest on „Chopin Shuffle” is Toshinori Kondo – legendary Japanese avantgarde trumpet player. Moreover the album features Gabriela Kulka (vocals), Grzegorz Uzdanski (poetry), Raphael Roginski (guitar) and Tomasz Duda (baritone sax).

„On Chopin Shuffle a weel trained ear may hear politexturalism of John Zorn, Jamie Saft’s serenity, rhythmic combinations of Autechre and Aphex Twin, naivity of polish cartoons from the sixties, hardcore noise, gentleness of a good song. And Chopin? Not too much, but that’s the strenght of Levity – they made Chopin’s preludes they own pieces. „Shuffle” is the most adventurous up to date attempt of creative use of Chopins music.” 

CD 1: 1. The Funniest Joke; 2. Canis Major; 3. Fashion Victims; 4. Ticking Love; 5. Kolberger; 6. Grave; 7. Riff?49 (Chant Of The Plants); 8. Sans Voix; 9. Cieplo; 10. Tempus Fungus; 11. Elephant Vs Lion; 12. 16 Tons?
CD 2: 1. Humans; 2. Keya; 3. Take Me To The Woods; 4. Hommage A Emil Zatopek; 5. A Miracle; 6. Mchy; 7. We Also Have Snow In Poland; 8. In C; 9. Hennessey; 10. Passacaglia - Animals; 11. Interludium; 12. Finale - Spirits

By Jacek Hawryluk
Polish Radio

wtorek, 20 marca 2012

Czesław Niemen - Marionetki (Polskie Nagrania, 1972)

Czeslaw Niemen - organ, piano, vocals

Apostolis Anthimos - guitar
Andrzej Przybielski - trumpet
Helmut Nadolski - bass, vocals
Jerzy Piotrowski - drums
Jozef Skrzek - bass, piano, organ, vocals

Marionetki (Polskie Nagrania, 1972)

This is the first Niemen album with the then SBB members. Psychedelic and blues components still here, with jazz and avantgarde elements." Marionetki" is a mournful ballad with church sounding organ and calm trumpet. "Piosenka Dla Zmarłej" starts with floating organ and continues with Niemen's soulful vocal and bluesy guitar of Anthimos. "Z Pierwszych Ważniejszych Odkryc"is a pure hendrixian psychedelic blues. Excellent ! "Ptaszek" is a filler with vocal , upright bass and laughing. "Com Uczynił": Niemen steps in the jazz territory: agressive hammond playing a'la Quatermass and soaring trumpet. Second vinyl begins the "Requiem Dla Van Gogha".This is a pure contemporary piece with reading role of the upright bass, prepared piano and space sounding organ, infuenced by John Cage. "Sariusz" is an another filler. The last "Inicjały" is very Miles Davis- In Silent way sounding, with Niemen's vocal acrobatic. This is very interesting, experimental album. (by fluiddruid)

This album shows a phase of improvisation and psychedelic rock made ​​in the seventies in Poland Psychedelic moments presents a chaotic context, which goes to other moments of pure rock We can hear some jazz improvisation in the context of fusion, mixed with moments ethnic backgrounds, which makes this multifaceted album difficult to appreciate in the first hearings. The lyrics are in Polish and I know your message but the voice is pleasant and is not the main component of this work It is a good time to appreciate jazz fusion and enjoy good times rock, but we have to get used to enjoy these more complex jobs that can only be properly assessed after several auditions. Another great Polish author of Progressive and compulsory for lovers of progressive rock in Eastern Europe, which is high quality and to discover these unique works 4 stars but 4,5 really. (by Joao Paulo)


Tracklisting: 1.Requiem dla Van Gogha, 2.Sariusz, 3.Inicjały, 4.Marionetki, 5.Piosenka dla zmarłej, 6.Z pierwszych ważniejszych odkryć, 7.Ptaszek, 8.Com uczynił

poniedziałek, 19 marca 2012

Aga Zaran - Picking Up The Pieces (Cosmopolis, 2006)

Aga Zaryan (Vocals)

Nolan Shaheed (Trumpet)
Larry Koonse (Guitar)
Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz (Double-Bass)
Darryl Munyungo Jackson (Drums, Percussion)

Picking Up The Pieces (Cosmopolis, 2006)

While traveling in Poland a few years ago, I visited a music store in Krakow. There was a row of inviting headsets to hear some of the latest offerings of Polish artists. There was a CD with a cover picture of a woman of indeterminate age wearing a turban, so I gave it a shot. The first song was "Day Dream" - and I was floored. Like a potent cocktail mix of Carmen McRae and Shirley Horn with a dash of Susannah McCorkle, I had stumbled onto a rare gem. Could the whole album be this good? Yes it could. A little research shows the singer had won a passel of awards in Poland, and occasionally appeared in the US at small venues like Joe's Pub in NYC, and that she had changed her name from Agnieszka Skrzypek. She's been Jazz Vocalist of The Year in the European Jazz Forum Magazine's yearly Jazz Top readers' poll in 2007, 2008, and 2009. And yet no one in the states knows her. Whenever I play her music for anyone who loves music, they are immediately smitten and say "Where can I buy that?" Alas, her albums are not easy to come by, and it's the world's loss. She's just released her fifth album, this time on Blue Note - and I still can't find it. Amazon, get with the program. This woman may be the best living jazz vocalist and deserves a hearing.

Track listing: 1 Day Dream; 2 Throw It Away; 3 Picking Up the Pieces; 4 Woman's Work; 5 Answer Me, My Love; 6 The Man I Love; 7 Here's to Life; 8 It Might As Well Be Spring; 9 Sophisticated Lady; 10 Suzanne; 11 Tender As a Rose

By Joseph R. Lex Jr. MD

niedziela, 18 marca 2012

Zbigniew Namyslowski & Zakopane Highlanders - Jazz & Folk (2000)

Zbigniew Namyslowski - sax

Krzysztof Herdzin - piano
Olo Walicki - bass
Grzegorz Grzyb - drums

Zakopane Highlanders Band:
Jan Karpiel "Bulecka" - fiddle, bagpipe, folk whistle, vocal
Piotr Majerczyk - first fiddle, vocal
Wojciech Topa - bass, vocal
Stanislaw Michalczak - first and second fiddle, vocal
Jan Zatorski "Siecka" - bass, vocal

Jazz & Folk (2000)

Polish folk music is incredibly diversified and original as much in melody as in rhythm aspect. Created to dance with it possess moreover simplicity which immediately make it charming and engaging to any listener exposed to it. Back in XIX century it was quickly grasped by such a genius as Frederic Chopin which using then contemporary language of Italian opera and new powerful instrument of grand piano sung those folk songs in his own and entirely individual way. It brought him huge success worldwide! Such a scheme appeals also to subsequent generation of Polish musicians and it is no surprise that jazz musicians also addressed this part of national music heritage. Among most convincing attempts in this field are those undertaken by Zbigniew Namysłowski. 

Namysłowski is outstanding saxophonist and simply one of founding fathers of Polish Jazz. Well over seventy now not only his is still active (planning new record) but bringing new things to jazz. His greatest contribution is introducing elements of Polish folk music to jazz. Such his albums as "Winobranie" (1973) or "Kuyaviak Goes Funky" (1975) are pivotal in development of jazz in Poland and in forging its own unique style.  In following years he continued on this road with two albums recorded with Zakopane Highlanders band. This one is second after "Zbigniew Namysłowski Quartet & Zakopane Highlanders Band" released in 1995. They were not received by critique (opposite to audience) as enthusiastically like his previous attempts in folk jazz. There were opinions that jazz and folk languages do not alternate with one with each other as successfully as on his previous albums remaining at moments separate, not congruent. But I personally do not share all this criticism. Years that has passed show that despite many attempts by other artists Namysłowski interpretation of Polish folk in language of jazz remains by far the most inspiring...    

Tracklisting: 01. Skarga (6:48); 02. Krywan & Jazz (7:20); 03. Zablakana Owiecka (9:21); 04. Jazz Pod Jaworkiem (6:06); 05. Idzie Janko Z Jazzem (5:57); 06. Zboj (8:32); 07. Co Sie Stalo W Jazzie (7:19); 08. 4 Po 4 (5:39)

By Maciej Nowotny

sobota, 17 marca 2012

Minimatikon - The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (2011)

Minimatikon (band)

Konrad Zawadzki - vocals, sounds, noise
Dawid Lewandowski - guitar, vocal, sounds
Marcin Yadach - double bass, bass guitar
Janek Kiedrzyński - drums
Marcin A. Steczkowski - keyboards, trumpet, sounds
Mariusz Godzina - saxophones

The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari (2011)

(Editor) Soundtracks can be divided into bad (independent enough that can be listened without film) or good (not independent enough to be listened separately from film). This one is closer to this second category. I really wish I could listen to it while watching film! It sounds enough intriguing, dark and oneiric to make me curious how this two elements, music and film, coexist together. But even without film I cannot say that its rehearsal is unsatisfactory. It shows that Marcin Staczkowski (leader) and his partners are clearly making progress since they started in 2010 as The Transgress ("Oneisrism op. 1") and in 2011 released very promising EP "Romanian Beach" (2011) by their next band Orange The Juice. Names of the bands change but core personnel remains the same which is beneficial to the music of this ensemble which is becoming more mature, coherent, deep. Saying all this positive things I still must notice that there are also on this CD weaker moments. For example pulse as supplied by rhythm section is at moments so simple, obvious and mechanical. That is why after listening to this material I am still waiting for first release showing all their potential actualized... 

"MINIMATIKON - a movie soundtrack project by Orange the Juice – are planning to release a soundtrack for the 1920 movie “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” on 31st October, 2011. The CD will be a limited collector’s edition. 

Supported by two additional musicians and going by the name of MINIMATIKON, Orange The Juice have composed a score for Robert Wien’s horror movie “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, which has become the movie’s official soundtrack in Poland’s indie movie theatres. 

Minimatikon’s music illustration for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, which is often considered one of the greatest horror movies of the silent era, was created and recorded at Minimatikon Studio in Stalowa Wola, Poland. It was produced by Marcin A. Steczkowski, Daniel Lewandowski and Marcin Jadach. As in the case of Orange The Juice’s debut album You Name It, the cover art for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was made by Gdańsk, Poland-based Studio TOF." (source:

1. Them Birds; 2. Them Skies; 3. Them Merchants; 4. Them Delusions; 5. Them Nights; 6. Them Shades; 7. Them Angels; 8. Them Traps; 9. Them Potions; 10. Them Journeys; 11. Them Roses; 12. Them Conversations; 13. Them Eyes; 14. Them Demons; 15. Them Legends; 16. Them Gods; 17. Them Doors; 18. Them People; 19. Them Whispers.

By Maciej Nowotny

Chromosomos - Ultra Project (2001)

Chromosomos (band)

Marcin Bors - git
Artur Dominik - dr
Robert Szydło - bass

Adam Pierończyk - sax, zoucra (1-6)
Artur Majewski - tp (1)
Blanka Mikłaszewska - voc (2)
Venetta Nenova Bogdanowa - voc (1)

Ultra Project (2001)

(Editor) This band is created by rock drummer Artur Dominik. It is a debut recording by this band and though lacking depth and complexity of best jazz bands it compensates with freshness of ideas and enthusiasm. Judging by what they are doing right know (check their YouTube video from recent performance at Sibiu Jazz Festival in Romania) music of this ensemble is constantly evolving becoming more and more interesting...  

"Chromosomos is a Polish ensemble with varied influences, from Balkan and Near Eastern folk music, klezmer, eastern European new music, post-rock, and the funk Jazz fusion of M-Base. Throw in a dash of electric Ornette Coleman, and you start to get the idea. Quite heavy on the virtuoso guitar solo, this project avoids slipping into the quagmire of Jazz-rock fusion by virtue of its intelligent compositions and folk influences. If you enjoy the more rock tinged recordings of Knitting Factory Records you should give this a listen. It is also very well recorded."

Track listing: 1. Chasyd [07:03]; 2. Świrek [06:55]; 3. Spidi [06:07]; 4. Pitbul [07:23]; 5. Tire [11:24];
6. Jascha [09:13]; 7. Tire (trans mix) [01:57]

source: Eric Lewis from JazzNow

Topolski / Szwelnik - Polymer (2012)

Topolski/Szwelnik (duo)

Krzystof Topolski (drums, electronics)
Tomasz Szwelnik (piano, guitar, electronics)

Polymer (Self Produced; 2012)

I stumbled into Krzystof Topolski's work as Arsyn last year thanks to Maciej at the great blog, Polish Jazz. Since then I have been devouring everything I could find with his name on it.

On his latest collaboration, Polymer, he has created another other-worldly concoction of found sounds and beautiful improvisations. Added by the Cage-ian work on keys by Tomasz Szwelnik, the duo set out on a path that is dense and expansive. Their use of space and soft, short notes develops a level of calm in the listeners ears as these two long pieces move through your speakers and your mind.

"Poly I" builds slowly with pops and subtle percussion's and kit brushes until midway where Topolski and Szwelnik deliver an abstract exchange of ideas with broken chord changes and interesting sound effects, leaving you wondering if you are experiencing a performance by The Necks. It's fascinating material that later moves a series of nature sounds aided by some light strumming from Szwelnik on guitar. A quiet yet haunting conclusion to an opening movement.

"Poly II" picks up on the haunting imagery with some echo chamber effects on the drums and stop/start pecking the piano. "Poly II" seems to be the more free formed of the two pieces. Each musician plays off the other uniquely with different instruments and layered effects/loops. Topolski makes great use on found instruments within the opening minutes as his percussion sounds almost like hard pulses on the vibes.

The atmospherics are revved up towards the middle as the sound become more deep and ominous. Almost turning into a groove before leveling off with a melody that emerges by Szwelnik's hands. This carries on for awhile before returning to a bass drum heavy with electro-acoustics and experimentation. The duo battle this theme out to the end wonderfully with chimes and counterpoints from all sides.

Polymer, like many of Krzystof Topolski's other combinations is an acquired taste. And like the chemical definition of the albums title, there are multiple streams occurring throughout this forty minute piece, but if you let your mind wonder through the darkness, you'll find this is yet again an unbelievable journey.

By Stephan Moore

piątek, 16 marca 2012

Wojtek Jachna Jacek Buhl – Niedokonczone Ksiazki (Audio Tong, 2011) by Stef Gijssels

Jachna/Buhl (duo)

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

Niedokonczone Ksiazki (translated: Unfinished Books) Audio Tong Music, 2011

On their second album, Polish musicians Wojtek Jachna on trumpet, flugehorn and electronics and Jacek Buhl on drums continue their journey, although a little more erratically. 

It is fun at times, as on the highly rhythmic "Bernstein's Mood", with really great moments at others, as on the more free form "Tajemne Schody". But the overall approach lacks coherency, it's like tasting from various fruits in a market place without being able to decide which one to buy in the end. "W Słońcu Dawnych Dni" offers a more soft rock electronic background, with full reverb melancholy playing, "Przypływ Odpływ" is all electronics and noise,"Katastrofa w Porcie" brings us in the realm of Nils Petter Molvaer, etc. 

The challenge of every artist is to make a choice, and rather than demonstrating a wide variety of skills, to come with a unique voice and vision. The ingredients are here, but this voice is still absent. Radical unity is needed. I'm interested to hear what's coming.

Track listing: 1. Pusty Pokój; 2. Modlitwa; 3. Bernstein's Mood; 4. Tajemne Schody; 5. W Słońcu Dawnych Dni; 6. Straż Ogniowa; 7. Przypływ Odpływ; 8. Katastrofa w Porcie; 9. Popołudniowe Mewy; 10. Rycerz w Pogniecionej Zbroi; 11. Zmęczony Łoś

By Stef Gijssels

Maciej Obara Trio - Message From Ohayo (2007)

Maciej Obara Trio

Maciej Obara - saxophone
Maciej Garbowski - bass
Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums

Message From Ohayo (2007)

Although debut this is excellent piece of music! Based on solid tradition of jazz as much in its bop (so dear to Obara) as cool form (to Garbowski and Gradziuk) these musicians set an example for other s in Poland how to successfully mix different influences into something new and individual. Of course it is now easy to make such a statement when these (then) young lads already made significant careers (at least in Poland). But fact remains is that they have played very well just from the beginning! What appeals most to me that however is symbolized by first track on this album namely 'Trinkle Tinkle' by Thelonius Monk. Bravery, open-mindedness and dedication to search what is surprising in jazz understood in its most general sense. Hopefully they will stay on this track in years to come...

Track listing: 1. Trinkle Tinkle (5:46); 2. Aleatoric Ribbons (3:09); 3. Cofeina (4:16); 4. Psalm Iii (5:53); 5. Delete Me (2:56); 6. Obara 1 (3:38); 7. Message From Ohayo (5:50); 8. Everything About You (6:58); 9. Mastanero (4:43); 10. Big Nick (7:09)

By Maciej Nowotny

czwartek, 15 marca 2012

Aga Zaryan - My Lullaby (2002)

Aga Zaryan – vocals 

Tomasz Szukalski – tenor sax 
Michał Tokaj – piano 
Darek Oleszkiewicz – bass 
Łukasz Żyta – drums

My Lullaby (2002)

"In 2002, Zaryan's debut album My Lullaby – recorded with a group that included Tomasz Szukalski, Darek Oleszkiewicz, Michał Tokaj and Łukasz Żyta - was released. This collection of jazz standards, sung with the backing of a jazz quartet in original and personal interpretations, brought her critical acclaim as one of Poland’s premier vocal talents. In 2006, Zaryan performed at the JVC Jazz Festival in Warsaw, opening for Branford Marsalis, an occasion which enabled her to introduce herself to a wider audience as a great performer and sophisticated jazz vocalist." 

Tracklisting: 1. To See A World; 2. Waltz For Debby; 3. I’ve Got The World On A String; 4. My Lullaby; 5. You And The Night And The Music; 6. I Put A Spell On You; 7. Never Said (Chan’s Song)/Trust Me; 8. Still We Dream (Ugly Beauty); 9. I Hear Music; 10. Polka Dots And Moonbeams

source: wikipedia

Niechec issued its first singiel...

(Editor) Band called Niechęć (tranls. "distaste") announced its first singiel. Honestly I know next to nothing about them except they want to draw on the traditions of jazz among other such musical genres as rock or indie music in general. Personnel consists of: Rafał Błaszczak playing guitar, Maciej Zwierzchowski - saxophones, Tomasz Wielechowski – piano, Stefan Nowakowski – bass (the only musician I know who collaborated with Jazzpospolita on "Almost Splendid") and Michał Kaczorek - drums. The premiere of whole album is set for beginning of April 2012. Check music to learn how this band sounds like:

Tomasz Stanko - Music 81 (Polish Jazz Vol. 69, 1982)

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet

Sławomir Kulpowicz - piano
Witold Szczurek - bass
Czesław Bartkowski - drums 

Music 81 (Polish Jazz Vol. 69, 1982)

Like many, among them great Miles Davis, in 80ties Tomasz Stańko looked to popular music for inspiration. Slowly his music was losing its free jazz, Ornettian features to become more and more accessible for average listener. Fortunately Stańko did it in entirely his own, individual way. From first note we know exactly whose trumpet is singing and music remains challenging sounding fresh and engaging regardless 30 years since its recording. 

That is partly due to his partners in this recording. Rhythm section is reliable if somewhat too predictable for my modern taste with Witold Szczurek on bass and Czesław Bartkowski on drums. But Sławomir Kulpowicz on piano is different story: his line is influenced by bop piano masters like Bud Powell, Wynton Kelly and, most of all, McCoy Tyner. Beautifully edged and coarse it counterpoints perfectly Stańko slow yet refined trumpet meanderings. This dialogues between Stańko and Kupowicz are without question main attraction of this disc making it indispensable position for any soul enamored in good jazz.

Track listing: 1. Alusta; 2. Daada; 3. Bushka; 4. Third Heavy Ballad; 5. Ahuha


By Maciej Nowotny

środa, 14 marca 2012

New Bone - It's Not Easy (Gowi Records, 2009)

New Bone (band)

Tomasz Kudyk - trumpet & flugelhorn
Marcin Ślusarczyk - alto saxophone
Paweł Kaczmarczyk - piano
Maciej Adamczak - bass
Arek Skolik - drums

It's Not Easy (Gowi Records, 2009)

This is second release of this band after debut "Something For Know" and before this year "Destined..." which premiere is announced for beginning of April 2012. Historically it is yet another band of friends who once studied together, in this case in Kraków and Katowice Music Academies with an important exception of veteran drummer Arek Skolik. Like other such bands one can marvel at high level of musicianship. It appeals to me much more than other proposals because it is clearly influenced by bop tradition which gives music big punch and energy I so appreciate in jazz. But... to be honest it is too little to really make me excited. Unfortunately nothing surprises me here, I therefore should call it classical music rather than jazz which by definition should be focused on new, creative and rebellious side of music. If however you believe (like so many worldwide) that quality of jazz today shall be measured by how exact it is copy of music of great masters who lived and created 50 or 60 years ago, then you may find this disc satisfactory. I do not...   

1. The Torn Veil [11:35]; 2. Song for Kacperek [09:38]; 3. It's Not Easy [06:24]; 4. How I Miss You [08:33]; 5. Freddie [06:44]; 6. Charlie Knows [06:02]; 7. Blues for L.M. [03:29]; 8. Mekta Hakumba 

By Maciej Nowotny

Jaromir Honzak - Getting There Together (1995)

Jaromir Honzak - bass   

Piotr Baron - saxophones
Kuba Stankiewicz - piano
Peter Binder - guitar
Martin Zbrozek - violin
Pavel Zboril - drums

Getting There Together (1995)

Ties between Polish, Czech and Slovak jazz musicians are not so tight as between Poles and Scandinavians but in recent times are getting obviously stronger. Many young people from both Czech Republic and Slovakia study in excellent jazz faculty at Music Academy in Katowice. Among those some show themselves as very talented like Stepanka Balcarova or Vit Kristan and are already taking active part in Polish jazz scene (check Inner Spaces Quartet). Other like Nothing But Swing trio from Slovakia turn their attention to Polish jazz as source of inspiration which is evidenced by their fantastic album "Komeda". Finally there are already existing bands uniting best musicians from these countries of which Jaromir Honzak combo is very good example.

Jaromik Honzak is double bassist who apart from being trained in Teplice Conservatory studied for one year in famous Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since returning to Czech Republic he has recorded six albums as a leader with this one being his debut. He is versatile bass player and composer as he penned most of material for this album. He surrounded himself here with pack of young players form both countries in persons pf Kuba Stankiewicz playing on piano, Pawel Zboril on drums, Martin Zbrozek on violin and Peter Binder on guitar (outstanding performance). However all these musicians deserve praise this album owes much of its value to stunning performance of Polish veteran reedist Piotr Baron. His play transcends this music from very solid but typical mainstream to something simply very beautiful (at least in some moments). For example check this ballad titled "Boston Is Cool" from this record: 

Track listing: 1. Boston Is Cool (10:29); 2. October In Poland (7:12); 3. You And The Night And The Music (6:41); 4. Today (3:09); 5. Fossilized Tear (3:36); 6. Woman From "Na Maninach" Buffet (5:45); 7. Say Hello To Marc (6:16); 8. Getting There Together (7:47)

By Maciej Nowotny

poniedziałek, 12 marca 2012

Ircha Clarinet Quartet - Watching Edvard (Kilogram, 2011)

Ircha Clarinet Quartet (band)

Mikołaj Trzaska - bass, Bb metal clarinets
Michał Górczyński - Bb, bass clarinets
Paweł Szamburski - Bb, bass clarinets
Wacław Zimpel - alt, Bb, bass clarinets and tarogato

Watching Edvard (Kilogram, 2011)

Ircha Clarinet Quartet created and led by Mikołaj Trzaska is one of the most interesting bands in Polish jazz these days. Their first release featured legendary reedist Joe McPhee and was unanimously voted as one of most interesting albums in 2010. Next CD from this band, although without American support, brings music of depth and intensity that finds few parallels in our improvised music. Two factors probably are working to such the effect: first, Mikołaj Trzaska attained as instrumentalist  and composer maturity that allows him to produce ideas as coherent as original. Second, he displays this maturity also in a way he establishes relationships with younger generation of musicians. He picked up for this project what is best among Polish jazz youth and managed to make out of these individualities a great band which is success  in itself . 

Wacław Zimpel himself is already a star not only on Polish scene but also internationally. Such his bands as Hera or Undivided are among most important on European scene and although he owes much to years of cooperation with Ken Vandermark he found his own voice and his path is entirely unique. Paweł Szamburski and Michał Górczyński, though less known, have equally interesting carreers taking parts in such high quality projects as respectively Tupika, Horny Trees, SzaZa or Cukunft and Profesjonalizm.

As far as music is concerned it sounds fresh and engaging from the start to the end. Great advantage of this project is its coherency and beauty of sound. One is immediately immersed in myriads of unique combinations of sounds as produced by different types of clarinets and different  attitudes of artists playing on them. What this projects lacks is some compositional backbone which would give this music some internal propulsion. This is however typical fault of many freeimprov recordings and this one shares with others such disadvantage. Therefore I am waiting impatiently for next project of this group (already underway), which I have had opportunity to listen to during concerts and which will comprise much more composed material while retaining enough space for improvisation to keep its spontaneous and free in character... All in all this is our new album of the month!  

Track listing: 1. Upper Trias Caspian Fugue; 2. Ross Omac Attack; 3. Dream Analyzer; 4. No Smoking In Hell; 5. Climbing And Sliding; 6. Small Dictators; 7. Kresto; 8. Re Constructive De Constructive; 9. Monastery Monsters; 10. Prince of Fiasco; 11. Builderblock.pampim; 12. Cenozoic - Kenobi; 13. Watching Edward; 14. Invitation To Anorak Party; 15. Tender Dictator; 16. Last Turn Around The Room

By Maciej Nowotny

niedziela, 11 marca 2012

KaPeLa Yanina - 2001 (Selles Enterprises, 1999)

KaPeLa Yanina (band)

Janusz YANINA Iwański - guitars, e-bow
Łukasz Kluczniak - alto saxophone
Marcin Lamch - electric bass, double bass
Przemek Pacan - drums

2001 (Selles Enterprises, 1999)

Last year (2011) guitarist Janusz Yanina Iwański released "Free Wave" which was very pleasant surprise and spurred me to go back to his other albums I haven't yet time to listen to. This one issued in 2001 is another fully satisfactory release from this pack of players which gathered together in KaPeLa and support for years more ambitious, rooted in jazz, Janusz Iwański projects. If it appeals to me less than previously mentioned "Free Wave", it is because one may feel in this release strong rock influences (Yanina is also active in this genre as leader of band called Breakout). This unfortunately simplifies music especially as far as rhythm is concerned. Still I am of anopinion that this disc is worth your time to rehearse at least once...  

Track listing: 1. Zabawa w słońcu; 2. KPL 2001; 3. Chorał KPL 1; 4. Y 83; 5. Impressions; 6. Chorał KPL 2; 7. Y 97; 8. Moja siódma klasa

This tune comes from newest release by this band:

By Maciej Nowotny

Andrzej Jagodziński - Deep Cut (1997)

Andrzej Jagodziński - piano, accordion

Adam Cegielski - bass
Czesław Bartkowski - drums

Deep Cut (1997)

(Editor) Andrzej Jagodziński impersonates what was best in Polish mainstream jazz in 80ties and 90ties last century: a perfect mixture of jazz rooted in Blue Note tradition with this specifically Polish blend of folk music and strong influence of classical (often Chopin) music. Skills of musicians in this trio are so high that make rehearsal of this music sound fresh and satisfactory even after many years since its recording...

"Welcome to the world of our music. Our world. Different to that of the end of 20th century. Without a violence, without clamour, here you are not exposed to the smell of a traffic jam. DEEP CUT. We cut ourselves off. Moving to a woodland clearing. As dusk falls the last rays of the sunshine at sunset. Smell of wet grass. Night. The descent is begining. GOING DOWN. It is becoming unquiet. Everybody fears the night. In its quiet nostalgia awakenes. Longing for something, for somebody... As for DJANGO. Only loneliness remains. LONESOME DANCER. And dawn breaks, and space opens up again. Bird song. WALK IN SPACE. Maybe even a dance. PETITE VALSE BRILLANTE. It's a pity to leave a pensive Mr B." (source:

Tracklist: 1.Deep Cut (A. Jagodzinski); 2.Going Down (A. Jagodzinski); 3.Django (J. Lewis); 4.Lonesome Dancer (B. Suchanek); 5.Walk in Space (A. Jagodzinski); 6. Petite Valse Brillante (A. Jagodzinski); 7.Beethoven - 7th Symphony (2nd theme from II movement)

sobota, 10 marca 2012

Czy ktoś z Państwa chciał być kiedyś bogiem?

Swoją słynną niegdyś książkę “Boski Juliusz” Jacek Bocheński zaczął pytaniem: “Czy ktoś z Państwa chciał być kiedyś bogiem?” No właśnie... czy zastanawiali się Państwo kiedyś nad taką kwestią? Osobiście na boga raczej się nie nadaję. Ostatnio zapomniałem gotując herbatę zdjąć czajnika z gazu i zrobiła się z niego rzeźba a la Dali. Poza tym, chociaż niezręcznie mi się do tego przyznawać, od kiedy przekroczyłem czterdziestkę, nie ma dnia, żeby po przebudzeniu coś mnie nie bolało. Ale może spotkali Państwo przynajmniej innego człowieka, który byłby wykuty z marmuru? U mnie najbliżej było w nieistniejącym już Hotelu Europejskim, gdy w hallu zauważyłem podpierającego się laską Leszka Kołakowskiego. Ale nie podszedłem do niego, bo pewien znany kompozytor o inicjałach J.M. pociągnął mnie za rękaw do baru, gdzie czekała zmrożona Wyborowa i rozmowa na temat wyższości opery francuskiej nad włoską. Krótko mówiąc, byłem niewierzący, aż do wczoraj...

Wtorki w mojej redakcji przypominają czas schillerowskiej “burzy i naporu”. Wspaniali redaktorzy na pięć minut przed audycją konstruują scenariusze swoich audycji. Przez studio przewalają się nieraz tłumy gości, od zwykłych słuchaczy po największe gwiazdy naszej sceny. Zawieszają się komputery, konsola razi prądem, a z wentylacji zamiast chłodnego sączy się gorące od emocji powietrze. Ale w tej atmosferze jazz czuje się jak ryba w wodzie, bo gdzie indziej będzie mu lepiej niż wśród tylu wariatów chorych na synkopę i blue note. Tego wieczoru zjawiłem się krótko przed swoją audycją o Bobby Watsonie i od razu uderzył mnie dziwny wyraz twarzy redaktora Rocha Sicińskiego. Rozanielony, jakby był w siódmym niebie, w ekstazie. Rozejrzałem się dookoła! Nie zauważyłem żadnych niewiast ukrytych pod biurkiem w pokoju nagrań, zatem pytam: “ Co się stało?”. “Siadaj” - usłyszałem w odpowiedzi - “i słuchaj!”.

Popłynęła muzyka, a ja zacząłem unosić się do góry, jak balonik z helem, z zawrotną szybkością, ku stratosferze. I tam rozejrzałem się dookoła, by stwierdzić, o czym Wam uprzejmie donoszę, że jednak Niebo istnieje. Byłem ciekawy źródła, z którego płynie muzyka i poszedłem ku wielkiemu światłu. W jego centrum zobaczyłem starca, niezbyt wysokiego i szczupłego, ze starannie przystrzyżoną, śnieżnobiałą bródką. Czarnoskórego!. “Kim Pan jest? - wyszeptałem w zdumieniu. Jakimś cudem (nic mnie już nie dziwiło!) Roch znalazł się nagle obok mnie, położył rękę na moim ramieniu i wykrzyknął rozbawiony: “Nie poznajesz? Przecież to Ahmad Jamal!”

Rzeczywiście! Dopiero teraz zwróciłem uwagę, że ów człowiek siedzi przy fortepianie, a otaczają go pozostali muzycy: Reginald Veal na kontrabasie, Herlin Riley na perkusji i Manolo Badrena na bębnach. Ciągle jakoś nie mogłem się pozbierać: “Co to za muzyka?” - zapytałem. Roch: “To najnowszy album Jamala Blue Moon”. Wiecie co pomyślałem? Tak, człowiek jest w stanie tego dokonać, sięgnąć absolutu i równać się z czymś czego umysł nie może ogarnąć. Ta muzyka w sekundę zerwała wszystkie etykietki z mojego mózgu (pseudo)krytyka muzycznego. To nie mainstream, to nie free, to nie bugaloo, chociaż wszystkie te określenia pasowałyby do tej muzyki. Przesłoniłyby jednak rzecz najważniejszą, że jest ona po prostu nieskończenie piękna. W cudowny sposób, a czynienie cudów czyż nie jest domeną boską, w każdym z kolejnych utworów, Jamal i kompani przeplatają jazzową tradycję z bardzo nowoczesnym groovem i improwizacją, której celem nie jest chaos a harmonia. 

Najbardziej zdumiewa, że ta lekka jak piórko, otwarta i kreatywna muzyka ma za punkt wyjścia tak dobrze wszystkim znane standardy! Nie idzie ona drogą ani odtwarzania tego co znane, bo melodie te są często niemal nie do poznania, ani pełną udziwnień drogą współczesnej awangardy, zniesmaczającej to, co przeciętny jazzowy słuchacz tak ukochał. Jamal udowodnił tą płytą, że mylą się zarówno Ci, którzy trzymają się kurczowo jazzu w przebrzmiałej formie jaka ukształtowała się przed dziesięcioleciami jak i Ci, którzy mylą styl z postępem. Ta muzyka przywróciła mi wiarę w dawno zapomnianą teorię harmonii sfer. Alleluja!

Autor: Maciej Nowotny

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