niedziela, 30 września 2012

The Intuition Orchestra feat. Grazyna Auguscik, Zdzislaw Piernik - Fromm (2012)

The Intuition Orchestra

Ryszard Wojciul – saxophones, bass clarinet, EWI
Bolesław Błaszczyk – piano, double bass, synth
Grażyna Auguścik – vocal;
Zdzisław Piernik – tuba, percussions
Jacek Alka – drums

Fromm (2012)

The moving force behind this project is Ryszard Wojciul. His career is reflecting the history of rapid economic and social changes in Poland in last 20 years. In last days of communism (80ties) he took part in vivid and rebellious Polish rock scene being member of such a significant bands as Róże Europy, Sztywny Pal Azji or Oczy Amelki. At he same time he studied musicology in Music Academy in Warsaw and his interests began to move towards more ambitious forms of music, especially the improvisation. That made him interested as much in jazz as in modern classical music. It also may be seen as fairly typical example of the musical way taken then (90ties) by many young musicians creating so-called yass movement. 

In 1989 Poland changed its political system from communist to capitalist which resulted first in a total economic meltdown. The culture lost almost entirely any financial support from the government. Even worse it coincided with a significant impoverishment of people. The result was a serious breakdown of once flourishing areas of Polish culture, be it cinema, literature or music. Most of the talented youths moved their interests from the art to business and Wojciul was one of those many. From 1995 to 2005 for ten years he was working for a big corporation which happened to be radio station but he basically ceased to be active musicician any more. And again, as many of his colleagues in recent years, he quit the job in corporation and returned to some of his artistic activietes. 

One of them is The Intuition Orchestra which is a band formed with his long-time companions Bolek Błaszczyk and Jacek Alka. The name of this project says it all: this is a music focused on improvisation where every concert is different from the other. Spontaneity, collective creative process, deep interplay, freedom is all this music is about. Sometimes such a attitude brings chaos and leaves a soul of listener confused. But rarely it allows him or her to transcend a meanness and prosaism of daily life into a redeeming artistic experience and this is the case of this album...

This catharctic experience would be impossible without artistic influence exerted by two guests invited to this project: Zdzisław Piernik and Grażyna Auguścik. Both are legends of Polish music but in a very different way. Piernik who plays on tuba is present on Polish scene for 40 years verging between classical, jazz and avantgarde projects. What distinguish him is a consistent and uncompromising creativity he displays in every project he is involved in. Auguścik is one of top three female jazz singers in Polish jazz with such mainstream albums as recent "The Beatles Nova" (2011). She is also participating is high quality international projects like for example this year in Matt Ulery "By A Little Light" (2012). And it is as much Piernik as her extraodinry free jazz vocalizes which catapult this music to artistic stratosphere! Her light, filigree and spontaneous singing saturates music with emotions and coulours making its rehearsal unforgettable experience. Brilliant stuff!

I would like to thank Rafał Garszczyński for his insightful interview with Ryszard Wojciul which help me a lot in writing this text. You can read it in Polish here: (link).

By Maciej Nowotny

Track listing: 1. All in sounds 3:01 2. The sexual desire 4:12 3. Smigol Casrto Stup 5:42 4. Had to happen some misunderstanding 2:28 5. Wise creatures work 5:08 6. Day and night are seemingly the enemies 1:59 7. The lightning of the love 4:28 8. Sounds of the present 4:17 9. Heaven is the male 2:48 10. Causes of the neurosis 1:57 11. Various collections of the features 3:32 12. Fromm 4:08 13. The masculinity and feminity 3:15

sobota, 29 września 2012

Remont Pomp feat. Mikolaj Trzaska, Mike Majkowski - Zlota Platyna (2012)

Remont Pomp feat. Mikolaj Trzaska, Mike Majkowski

Remont Pomp composed of:
Magdalena Spaleniak - djembe, bass drum, table, barrels.
Izabela Romińska - percussion instruments, table, barrels.
Wojciech Birtus - percussion instruments, table, barrels.
Sebastian Włodarek - djembe, table, barrels.
Oskar Małolepszy - percussion instruments, table, barrels.
Jacek Ćeślicki - percussion instruments, table, barrels.
Groszek Stanilewicz - percussion instruments, table, barrels.
Jarosław Marciszewski - bass drum, table, barrels, guitars.
Tomasz Antonowicz - djembe, table, barrels.
Clement Quelin - djembe, table, barrels.
Helena Baklagina - djembe, percussion instruments, table, barrels.
Pedro Gata Gonzalez - djembe, percussion instruments, table, barrels.
Jan Skiba - percussion instruments, table, barrels.

Special guests:
Mikołaj Trzaska - saks. alt, saks. tenor c.
Mike Majkowski - double bass

Zlota Platyna (2012)

Personally I never treated jazz only as music but I always look at it from wider perspective: social, spiritual, existential. That's whu  I like when it manifests its involvement, when it takes sides, pronounces some statement. There are great musicians in Poland which regardless their high skills cope with problem of saying something significant, individual and unique. They should look to example set by Mikołaj Trzaska who has no such a problem at all! 

His projects are well thought, coherent and they always brings some personal, artistic message to the recipient. Let's look at just some of his recent albums (and we have wide choice as he is incredible prolific): "Zikaron - Lefanay" (2012) exploring Polish-Jewish musical tradition, "Breathing Steam" (2011) with Swell, Holmlander, Daisy exploring avantjazz space, "Goosetalks" (2010) with Brotzmann and Bauer influenced by European chamber and classical music, "Last Train To The First Station" (2011) with Vandermark and Zimpel paying hommage to the bop roots of modern avantgarde and "Dom Zły" (2010) an excellent sound track to brilliant film by Wojtek Smarzewski.

"Złota Platyna" is yet something completely different! Remont Pomp (transl. Repair Of Pumps) is a orchestra which operates under auspicies of Polish Association For Mentally Disabled in Gdańsk. It was created by Jacek Marciszewski who created this project in order to help the treatment of patients in this center. The group works since 2004 but in purely musical terms the breakthrough for them happened in 2011 when they were joined by saxophonist Mikołaj Trzaska. Trzaska with assistence of American bassist Mike Majkowski helped to make music from the sounds this orchestra produced. They gave it direction, form, structure so powerful that it deserves attention regardless its praiseworthy human context. 

The main accent lays of course on Trzaska saxophone. With years passing his sound has become more and more personal. Though it retains typical free jazz aggressivness (with major influences in persons of Albert Ayler, Peter Brotzmann or Ken Vandermark) yet it gained something very distinct in recent years: a drop of Jewish nostalgy and Polish melancholy which made it something totally unique. It works fine with rhythm as supplied by rest of musicians, including patients of this center, and one can only wonder how spontaneous and authentic they sound on this recording. Excellent job was by rhythm masters that is Majkowski and Marciszewski. All in all, this is jazz at its best as much musically as from any other point of view!

By Maciej Nowotny

About project:

More music: 

1. Kokon / Jarek Marciszewski
2. Szumi Fala w Pępku / Jarek Marciszewski
3. W Głowę / Kompozycja wspólna - MP3
4. Rury Kury Top Top Utop / Jarek Marciszewski
5. Spotkanie Leniwców / Mikołaj Trzaska
6. Marsz Afryka, Marsz Polonia / Kompozycja wspólna
7. O Mój Boże! / Tomasz Antonowicz
8. Papa Zawsze / Tomasz Antonowicz
9. Modlitwa w Hotelu California / Kompozycja wspólna
10. Dubeltówka i Batonik / Mike Majkowski - MP3
11. Ciemna Laguna / Jarek Marciszewski
12. Raz Dwa Wazon Bas / Tomasz Antonowicz - MP3

piątek, 28 września 2012

Rudolf Dasek / Andrew Cyrille /Karel Ruzicka / Zbigniew Wegehaupt - Interlanding (1985)

Rudolf Dasek / Andrew Cyrille /Karel Ružicka / Zbigniew Wegehaupt

Rudolf Dašek, guitar
Karel Ružicka, piano
Zbigniew Wegehaupt, double bass
Andrew Cyrille, drums

Interlanding (1985)

Relationship between Polish and Scandinavian jazz are numerous and well known in contrast to links between Polish and Czech jazz. But they have one thing in common: there are among these collaborations the projects of the highest artistic caliber. This truth certainly applies to this disc which upon its rehearsal left me stupefied! Recorded in 1985 it sounds as fresh and forward-thinking as if it was done yesterday. 

Who was responsible for this awesome session? The leader of this project is Rudolf Dasek, born in 1933, a Czech guitarist who seems to me rather unknown outside his country. In 60ties he established trio with George Mraz but unlike this famous bassist he never left Czechoslovakia and consequently didn't make big international career. But believe me, in purely musical terms, he is equally outstanding artist as his having more luck compatriot. What astonishes in Dasek style is his versatility: he feels equally at ease in a typical mainstream play as when he starts experimenting. His sound if full, superbly articulated, his phrasing is rich and imaginative. To be honest though I admire Polish jazz a lot I simply do not find a guitarist of similar talent on our scene! 

That Dasek is the premium class artist is also evidenced by choice of musicians he invited for this session. Karel Ruzicka, a Czech pianist, is perhaps a little better known than Dasek himself. On Czech jazz scene he is a giant as much as, say, Jaromir Honzak or Otto Hejnic (I leave Miroslav Vitous in the same category as George Mraz since they both left country). His piano play is perfect supplement for leader's guitar: compassionate, alert, charismatic. 

Like Mal Waldron, Kenny Draw or most of all Ahmed Jamal Ruzicka is capable of perfectly linking soloing instrument (in this case guitar) with rhythm section. It consists of two great players: best known of all American drummer Andrew Cyrille and Polish bassist Zbigniew Wegehaupt. Cyrille does not need introduction since he is a legend of avantgarde jazz drumming. As for Wegehaupt I can say about him the same I did about Ruzicka and Dasek: though he never made international career he was simply outstanding musician. In terms of bass players he was one of the best in Poland if not THE best. He played on Zbigniew Seifert's 'Kilimanjaro' and also colaborated with Zbigniew Namysłowski and Tomasz Stańko. You can easily find him on our Polish-Jazz blog as he played on hundreds recordings in Poland. 

Althogether these gentlemen created music that is as inspiring as fresh. Rooted in bop jazz, saturated by European influences of classical and chamber music, it looked far ahead and could be easily seen as important as works by Derek Bailey, Joe Morris or, recently, Mary Halvorson. Outstanding achievement!

By Maciej Nowotny

1. Kocicí ocí - Olhos de gato (Carla Bley) 08:38
2. Jako vcera - Like Yesterday (Rudolf Dašek) 06:28
3. Fašank - Fashank (Rudolf Dašek) 08:44
4. Nech to tak - Let it stay (Karel Ružicka) 05:36
5. Vše,co zustalo - Everything That's Left (Rudolf Dašek) 06:57
6. Mezipristani - Inter-Landing (Rudolf Dašek) 09:12

niedziela, 23 września 2012

Małe Instrumenty - Chemia i Fizyka (Obuh, 2012)

Małe Instrumenty (band):

Paweł Romańczuk
Marcin Ożóg
Tomasz Orszulak
Jędrek Kuziela
Maciek Bączyk

Andrzej Załęski

Chemia i Fizyka (Obuh, 2012)

Małe Instrumenty – Small Instruments – the name says it all: the whole band is about … small instruments. But that wouldn’t do the project right. Although it all started in 2006 with Paweł Romańczuk setting up a band to make use of his collected (small) instruments they never were a mere show band, exhibiting funny ways to produce sounds, instead they presented what's possible when you use all aspects of any instrument. Over the years they could be heard in quite some diverse contexts like audio books and film music showing a wide range of sound spectra. And even with “Chemia i Fizyka” (“Chemistry and Physics”) you will immediately get the impression of a soundtrack. (I felt most of the album like in a computer game though, many have probably come across “Machinarium” with the wonderful soundtrack by Tomáš ‘Floex’ Dvořák.) But since they are quite unrivalled with what they're doing a comparison is at least difficult.

On their first album “Antonisz” (released in 2009) they played own arrangements of music by the Polish film maker/composer Julian Józef Antoniszczak, and the second one in 2010 was called “Małe Instrumenty grają Chopina” (“Małe Instrumenty plays Chopin”). So “Chemia i Fizyka” is actually their first one with original material (all compositions made by Paweł Romańczuk). And it´s not only the compositions that distinguish this one from the former records, it’s also the sound that is much more mature here. They are still using small instruments of course but Wojcek Czern (and Piotr Nykiel doing the mastering) did a splendid job here. At no moment you will hear high-pitched voices or think of the music on this record as childish – although some of the instruments are actually toys. It seems that the musicians felt quite well at Studio Rogalów Analogowy and that the motto of the record company OBUH fitted perfectly here: “Odgłosy Bocznic Utworzą Harmonię” (roughly: “The sounds of side tracks create harmony”). The music of Małe Instrumenty comes – in a positive way – from a side track and it creates some wonderful moods.

There are two tracks though that don’t quite fit in, “Mostacha” and “Allegro”. That’s probably the reason why they were chosen as the last ones on the album. What separates them from the rest is the use of more experimental sounds and noises. (“Baroni” too features sound alterations.) If you watch the video below you will see that the members of the band are very imaginative when it comes to producing some new sounds and inventing new instruments, and I like those two songs most – but when you listen the whole album from the beginning through to the end this brings in quite a break and I’m not sure if that is really wanted.

“Chemia i Fizyka” is a clear recommendation if you like music off the main tracks and it’s recommended too if you like harmony! 

By   Dirk Blasejezak

Musicians of "Małe Instrumenty" aboy themselves:

Sample of their style:

Tracklisting: 1 Profesor Bambosz i jego uczniowie 2 Problemy z chemią na lekcjach fizyki 3 Śmierć na pięć 4 Gość z Alaski 5 Baroni 6 Pućki 7 Mostacha 8 Allegro

Marcin Masecki - Die Kunst Der Fuge (2012)

Marcin Masecki 

Die Kunst Der Fuge (2012)

For Marcin Masecki, Bach's Fugues are like the Mount Everest of piano. So how did this young Polish composer and musician manage to scale the heights of this monumental work?

Masecki toyed with the idea of recording the Fugues of Jan Sebastian Bach for many years before he set foot inside the studio. His first attempt at finding a way to perform them in a way that would be appealing to contemporary audiences was in London in 2007. He spent five years playing the fugues in a variety of ways, filtering them through a series of objective and subjective factors, aiming to find a style of performance that would break the convention of classical recordings, while also dusting off the fugues, which have often proved intimidating to most performers of today.

The most challenging element of the process was finding the right instrument on which to play. He tested out a number of possibilities - a Wurlitzer, harpsichord, even his mother's old Steinway that had been specially tuned to produce a similar sound to that of a string instrument of Bach's time. And yet it wasn't enough for Masecki. He had practiced the pieces enough to be sure of how he wanted to perform them, having been fascinated by the Fugues since elementary school, yet he didn't quite know how to record them. Masecki finds that there is something lacking in contemporary recordings of classical music, that they are "too clean, too perfect". With his characteristic tendency to "break" established forms, he decided to record his renditions of the Fugues on a dictaphone. 

He came upon the dictaphone idea during a rehearsal session with his alternative rock band Paris Tetris. A song off their latest repertoire was recorded on the dictaphone, in all its scruffy imperfection, and Masecki thought it might be just the trick for finding the sound he was looking for and Masecki's Die Kunst Der Fugue finally were on their way to the recording studio. 

The full title of the album is Die Kunst der Fuge Bach/Masecki, the pianist recognising the significance of the performer's impact on the essence of a piece of music. For Masecki, the Fugues are a highly scientific sequence of pieces, averring that many of them may sound alike to the untrained ear and that the role of the score in appreciating the work is invaluable. "The noise of the tape and the compression of sound urge the reader to focus on the structure of the fugue. The piece reaches the mind, not the senses, per se". The sweat and effort that Masecki has put into this album is a testament to his vision for taking the sources of the musical heritage of today and giving them new life. He understands and retains the essence of the Baroque, while bringing in his own musical sensibility. 

The Art of Fugue is among the last, unfinished works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). "The governing idea of the work", as Bach specialist Christoph Wolff put it, is "an exploration in depth of the contrapuntal possibilities inherent in a single musical subject". There are two versions of it, the first contained within a 1742 manuscript of twelve fugues and two canons. The second, published posthumously in 1751, includes three new fugues and two canons. The versions also differ in the order and minor changes in the text. The first presents the works as a complete series, while the second breaks off in the middle of the last fugue, where his son famously while the other breaks in the middle of the last fugue, in which appears the famous son of Bach's postscript: "At the point where the composer introduces the name BACH [for which the English notation would be B♭-A-C-B♮] in the countersubject to this fugue, the composer died." 

By Agnieszka Le Nart

jaZZ i okolice / jaZZ & beyond festiwal 2012

Festival of Improvised Music - jaZZ i okolice / jaZZ & beyond is a direct continuation of the cyclical event held under the same name for over 10 years in Katowice. Starting from 2012, the Festival will take place in several cities of Upper Silesia and Zaglebie: Chorzow, Katowice, Sosnowiec and Gliwice, in the three autumn months- from late September to mid-December.From the very beginning, the Festival brought some of the biggest and outstanding personalities of jazz and improvised music to Katowice. The primary goal of the event was to identify and promote new music and creative performances, looking for artists working within not one, but many musical genres and traditions. We were always determined to present jazz as an inclusive term and a musical style open to everyone.Our aim is to promote events of diverse music, derived from the rich cultural traditions, personal and social experiences of artists:

- music created by people who live "here and now", living in harmony with the culture and civilization,
- music, created by passionate people who are serious about their work and the audience, sharing their personal experience,  emotions and  thoughts, as well as a sense of humor and taste,
- music which pays tribute to freedom and improvisation. This is necessity for jazz to try something new.

Thursday, September 27th, 7pm
Chorzowskie Centrum Kultury, Chorzów, ul. Sienkiewicza 3

Irek Wojtczak Knee’s Bees Quartet (PL)
Irek Wojtczak - saxophone, bass clarinet
Kamil Pater - guitar
Adam Żuchowski – bass
Kuba Staruszkiewicz – drums

Mary Halvorson Trio (USA)
Mary Halvorson - guitar
Johnem Hébert - bass
Ches Smith - drums

Monday, October 29th, 8 pm
Jazz Club Hipnoza, Katowice, pl. Sejmu Śląskiego

JazzOut (PL)
Olo Walicki – bass
Irek Wojtczak - saxophone, bass clarinet
Tomasz Ziętek – trąbka
Kuba Staruszkiewicz – drums

Mostly Other People Do The Killing (USA)
Moppa Elliott – bass
Peter Evans- trumpet
Jon Irabagon – saxophone
Kevin Shea - drums

Sunday, November 18th, 7 pm
Teatr Zagłębia, Sosnowiec, ul. Teatralna 4

Jan Malecha Quartet (PL)
Jan Malecha - guitar
Jarosław Bothur - tenor saxophone
Michał Kapczuk – bass
Grzegorz Masłowski – drums

Marc Ribot Trio (USA)
Marc Ribot – guitar
Shahzad Ismaily -bass
Ches Smith – drums

Sunday, November 25th, 7 pm
Centrum Kultury Katowice, pl. Sejmu Śląskiego 2

Mikołaj Trzaska: IRCHA Clarinet Quartet (PL)
Mikołaj Trzaska – bass clarinet
Wacław Zimpel – clarinet, bass clarinet, toragato
Michał Górczyński – bass clarinet
Paweł Szamburski - clarinet and bass clarinet

David Krakauer and the Madness Orchestra: Ancient Grooves (USA)
David Krakauer - clarinet
Sheryl Bailey – guitar
Keepalive - sampler
Jerome Harris - bass
Todd Isler - drums

Sunday, December 2nd, 7 pm
Kino Studyjne Amok, Gliwice, ul. Dolnych Wałów 3

Kajetan Drozd Trio (PL)
Kajetan Drozd - guitar, voice, harmonica
Piotr Rożankowski - bass
Paweł Rozkrut - drums

Erik Friedlander’s Bonebridge Band (USA)
Erik Friedlander – cello
Doug Wamble - guitar
Trevor Dunn – bass
Michael Sarin – drums

sobota, 22 września 2012

Piotr Baron - Jazz na Hrade (Multisonic, 2012) by Adam Baruch

Piotr Baron – soprano, tenor saxophone

Adam Milwiw-Baron – trumpet
Dominik Wania – piano
Maciej Adamczak – double bass
Przemysław Jarosz – drums

Jazz na Hrade (Multisonic, 2012)

This album presents a live recording by the great Polish Jazz saxophonist / composer Piotr Baron and his quintet, which also includes trumpeter Adam Milwiw-Baron (his son), pianist Dominik Wania, bassist Maciej Adamczak and drummer Przemyslaw Jarosz. The music was recorded at the beautiful Prague Castle, which holds Jazz concerts of the highest standard, which are also recorded and released on CD by the Czech Multisonic label. The album includes only three expanded performances, two composed by Baron (both appeared on his superb last album "Kaddish") and one is an arrangement of a 14th century Polish Easter song. Two of the tracks are almost 30 minutes long and the third is almost 20 minutes long.

The concert in introduced by the Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who personally opens all the Jazz venues at the Castle – a lesson to be studied by all Presidents - in which he talks about the meeting between him and Piotr Baron, which led to the invitation to play at the Castle, and the special relationship between the Czech and Polish Jazz scenes over the years – a subject worthy of a book by itself.

The music is deeply spiritual, as is all music made by Baron, reflecting his profoundly personal relation with belief (and not religion, as Baron surely demonstrates a cross-religion / one God approach). Accepting the model (spiritually and musically) of the great Godfather of spiritual Jazz, John Coltrane, Baron develops his music very much in the same direction, but uses his very own language and cultural affiliations, with his Polish roots being openly noticeable.

This is Jazz with a true capital J, music of the highest caliber, which penetrates the listener's heart and shakes his soul. It is absorbing and captivating, breathtakingly beautiful and intellectually intriguing, all at once. There is very little music of such quality being made these days, so this is even more impressive.

Pianist Dominik Wania, who is definitely one of the best Polish Jazz pianists of the young generation, plays some amazing music here and I'm glad that Baron recognized his qualities and allowed him so much space and opportunity to express his amazing talent. But of course all these musicians play divinely, with the leader magically applying his charm, even when not playing.

This music is way beyond recommendation – it is simply a crying shame that every true Jazz lover will probably not have an opportunity to immerse in its magic. If you can, count yourself lucky and blessed!

Side Note: This album is a part of the “Jazz at the Castle” series, which presents live recordings performed at various venues inside the charming Prague Castle, the residence of the President of the Czech Republic. The series was initiated in 2004 by President Vaclav Klaus and symbolizes the respect and love of all things Cultural by the Czech People. 

By Adam Baruch

Track listing: 1. Kaddish 2. Chrystus zmartwychwstan jest 3. Modlitwa (Prayer)

Adam Czerwinski / Darek Oleszkiewicz – Raindance (2005)

Adam Czerwinski / Darek Oleszkiewicz

Larry Goldings - B3 Hammond organ, melodica
Larry Koonse - guitar
Darek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz - acoustic bass
Adam Czerwinski - drums
Nolan Shaheed - cornet (track #9)

Raindance (2005)

This is an album by a Polish / American Jazz quartet, which features the excellent Polish Jazz rhythm section of drummer Adam Czerwinski and bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and the US players: guitarist Larry Koonse and organist Larry Goldings. Sound engineer Nolan Shaheed plays cornet on one track. Oleszkiewicz, Koonse and Shaheed later took part in the recording of the 2nd Aga Zaryan album, which was recorded in the same studio. Of the ten tracks on this album, three were composed by Czerwinski, another three by Oleszkiewicz, two by Koonse and the remaining two are standards.

The music is all very mainstream and very easy going, i.e. on the lighter side of the Jazz spectrum, but of course is perfectly executed by these master musicians. The sound of the Hammond organ is always a winner and quite irresistible to Jazz buffs, so the overall result is a most entertaining piece of easy melodic Jazz, without being kitschy or overtly moronic. The original compositions are all nicely crafted, especially those by Oleszkiewicz, which are also the most advanced ones on this album.

This is an excellent example of how accessible music is able to retain musical qualities, being still strongly rooted in Jazz and improvised, and yet enjoyable to people who have little or no Jazz experience of affiliation. Such listeners will definitely love this stuff madly!

By Adam Baruch

Tracklisting: 1 How Deep Is The Ocean 5:53 2 Raindance 6:51 3 Double Larry 6:40 4 Inspiration 6:09  5 J&J 7:38 6 Paradise 6:56 7 Bewitched 6:17 8 Blues For Adam 6:45 9 Awakening 6:48 10 Ca-Lips-O 6:05

Janusz Zdunek & Marienburg - Miasto Nic (Okno, 2008) by Adam Baruch

Janusz Zdunek & Marienburg

Janusz Zdunek - trąbka, organy, elektronika
Ireneusz Kaczmar - gitara basowa

Rafał Baca - perkusja
Mariusz Godzina - klarnet basowy

Miasto Nic (Okno, 2008)

This is the 3rd album by Polish trumpeter / keyboardist / composer Janusz Zdunek and his ensemble Marienburg, which usually includes bassist Ireneusz Kaczmar and drummer Rafal Baca, but here also i
ncludes the bass clarinet player Mariusz Godzina. The seven tracks on the album were all composed by Zdunek.

Faithfull to the principles of the Yass movement, which flourished in Poland in the 1990s and still has a significant following today, Zdunek creates instrumental music which mixes elements of Jazz, Rock and other genres, which serve as a foundation for expanded improvisation, which in turn is kept well within the basic melody lines and original chord changes. The rhythmic patters are often funky and even danceable (well, depending of how many substances were consumed) but always stable and repetitive, with minimal, if any, change within one particular tune. The intrinsic tension between the rigid framework and the improvised motifs is basically what makes this music tick.

Zdunek is obviously a very proficient trumpeter and his technical skills are remarkable, but this kind of music makes it difficult to fully appreciate them. This music is more about atmosphere and ambience than outward expression, and should be accepted for what it is.

This kind of music usually divides the audiences into the love it / hate it camps with very few listeners left in the limbo, which is perfectly fine. So if you know this music and belong to any of the a.m. crowds, there is little that can be added here. If you don't know this music, you owe it to yourself to try it out, in case it's exactly what the doctor prescribed in your case.

By Adam Baruch

Tracklisting: 1. Autonaprawa 2. Miasto 3. Marsz 4. Coda 5. Naprawa obrazów 6. Jass Yass 7. Nic

piątek, 21 września 2012

Tomasz Stanko - Fish Face (1974)

Tomasz Stańko - trumpet

Stu Martin - drums, ECM synhi
Janusz Stefański - drums

Fish Face (1974)

What can I say? Well, that I am simply out of my words! I assume this session is very, very little known in Poland not to mention other countries. It was released in limited circulation, only for members of PSJ (Polish Jazz Association) Record Club. I know it sounds crazy but you should be aware that up to 1989 Poland was governed by communists and we had the Moon economy here. In this kind of economy little mattered that the product was in demand. Much more important was whether it went along with the Party line. And jazz seldom was seen as consistent with this line. Despite these obstacles (or paradoxically thanks to them?) jazz was flourishing in those times...

Was it miracle? Perhaps but I am rather inclined first to investigate rational reasons and I found them in the mighty individuals which dominated the beginnings of Polish Jazz. First to mention is Krzysztof Komeda. But he is closely followed by Tomasz Stańko who was a member of famous Komeda quintet. After Komeda's untimely death Stańko felt kind of forced to create his own band. He did it and paid hommage to his mentor and friend with his first record "Music For K" (1970). But this hommage was paid in a very unexpected way since he proposed music totally different in form than that which they played together with Komeda. Stańko pushed Polish jazz toward what is free, experimenting and searching in this music. The consequences of such his resolution are felt even now since jazz music in Poland is much more open to these freer forms of jazz than in other countries.

Going back to music it owes a lot of as much to Stańko as to his partners. He is backed by two drummers: Janusz Stefański and Stu Martin who however mainly plays on synthetizer(s). Drums and synth co-work in a percussive manner and make music stomping, thudding and rumbling. It gives me impression of some kind of extraterrestial ship which upon landing on planet Earth tries to establish contact with locals by emitting very unusual sounds. If somebody listened before to the recordings of Miles Davis of that era (like for example "Bitches Brew") he will immadietely recognize similar patterns in both these languages. It's trance-like, it's psychodelic, it's spiritual, it's simply music of the highest calibre!

By Maciej Nowotny

1. Fish Face [18:45]
2. Fat Belly Ellie [07:06]
3. Mike Spike [12:57]

Piotr Lemanczyk - Follow The Soul (2003) by Adam Baruch

Piotr Lemanczyk - acoustic bass

Janusz Muniak - tenor saxophone
Przemek Dyakowski - tenor saxophone
Wojciech Staroniewicz - tenor saxophone
Maciej Sikala - tenor saxophone
Dariusz Herbasz - tenor saxophone
Maciej Grzywacz - guitar
Dominik Bukowski - vibraphone
Tomasz Sowiñski - drums

Follow The Soul (2003)

This is the debut album as a leader by Polish Jazz bassist / composer Piotr Lemanczyk. It was recorded by several different lineups, mostly quartets, with the following participants: saxophonists Janusz Muniak, Przemek Dyakowski, Wojciech Staroniewicz, Maciej Sikala and Dariusz Herbasz, guitarist Maciej Grzywacz, vibraphonist Dominik Bukowski and drummer Tomasz Sowinski. Of the seven tracks on the album, six are original compositions by Lemanczyk and one is a standard.

The music is kept well within the modern Jazz mainstream, but the excellent compositions and performances create a superb piece of Jazz music, which should satisfy every sensitive listener. The use of the vibraphone instead of the usual piano gives the entire recording a "cool" ambience, which suits the music perfectly. The leader gets several solo spots, which emphasize his beautiful tone and sensitivity, rather than needless pyrotechnics.

As usual with Polish Jazz albums, the music is the center of the attention, in spite of the truly excellent playing, which is beyond reproach from start to finish. The melodic content and the rhythmic structures are simply incredible and a source of real joy.

Overall this album is a perfect example of what mainstream Jazz is all about and should be greatly enjoyed by any Jazz connoisseur anywhere in the world. Highly recommended!

By Adam Baruch

Tracklisting: 1. Virga 2. Shy king of the village 3. Take 74 4. You don't know what love is 5. White lake 6. My little M. 7. Blues for Aga

niedziela, 16 września 2012

Tomasz Licak - Trouble Hunting (2012)

Tomasz Licak - tenor saxophone, clarinet

Sven Dam Meinild - tenor saxophone
Tomasz Dąbrowski - trumpet, balkan horn
Adi Zukanowić - rhodes, keyboards, laptop
Richard Andersson - electric bass
Anders Provis - drums

Trouble Hunting (2012)

"Trouble is my business!", this phrase by Philip Marlowe, a hero of Raymond Chandler detective stories, could very well be repeated by young Polish saxophonist Tomek Licak. As his literary prototype wherever he appears something unexpected yet very interesting is going on. Here are his last four outings: "K.R.A.N." (2009), "Last Call" (2010), first under his own name (with Artur Tuznik) "Quintet" (2011) and this year "Trouble Hunting" (2012). By listening to them one may draw following conclusions:

First, a numerous colony of Polish students at Danish Odense Music Academy is starting to make big impact on Polish scene. Apart from Tomek Licak we should mention  trumpeter Tomek Dąbrowski (who appears on this album) and guitarist Marek Kądziela to name just those who already have marked their presence to Polish audience. 

Second, the appeal of music as created by these young musicians graduating from Odense lays in their readiness to experiment, in active search for individuality, backed by very high level of performance. Licak debut record "Quintet" was kept within mainstream jazz and it was simply excellent  (read Stephan Moore's review of this album above). But though it was such a successful entry Licak did not stop there and immadietely moved forward! "Trouble Hunting" is big (if not giant!) step further in his artistic development: music is more open in structure, more spontaneous, deeper, searching. 

Third, Tomek Licak excells on all these recordings which we analyze but it is evident that apart from being talented saxophonist his strongest side is composing. It is astonishing for such a young artist (just 26 years old) with what ease he is able to give the mature form to his projects.  Seen from this perspective "Trouble Hunting" is kind of musical kaleidoscope through which we look onto whole history of jazz from bop and fusion to modern experiments of avant and free jazz. The picture looks twisted, changed, distorted but there is clear purpose in that leaving listeners with sensation of being suprised, refreshed, open to music which though rooted deeply in jazz is facing the future. Bravo!

By Maciej Nowotny

Track listing: 1. Levigatis [05:11] 2. Unexpected Fruits [10:08] 3. Lightning [06:02] 4. Journey For Celery [08:47] 5. Enigma [03:05] 6. No Return [06:34]

Irek Wojtczak - Outlook (Allegro Records, 2007) by Adam Baruch

Irek Wojtczak

Irek Wojtczak – saxophones, flute
Piotr Mania- piano
Patryk Stachura – bass
Kuba Staruszkiewicz – drums

Outlook (Allegro Records, 2007)

This is an excellent album by Polish Jazz saxophonist / flautist / composer Irek Wojtczak and his quartet Outlook, which also includes pianist Piotr Mania, bassist Patryk Starucha and drummer Kuba Staruszkiewicz. The album comprises of six original compositions, three of which are by Wojtczak and the other three are co-credited to all the quartet members.

Wojtczak is one of the busiest players on the local scene and is featured on quite a few recordings made in the last decade, both as a leader and a sideman, which span very versatile musical settings, proving that he feels comfortable in any situation. His technical proficiency and musical maturity are truly admirable, as are his compositional skills.

This particular recording is kept in a "retro" Jazz-Rock Fusion atmosphere, emphasized by the excellent utilization of the electric piano, re-creating the ambience of early days of the genre à la Herbie Hancock. But the music is completely original and up to date, with brilliant melody lines, which serve as a vehicle for expanded improvisations by the leader and the pianist. The rhythm section is also first class, providing just the right amount of support for the soloist during their solos and keeping the entire show appropriately slick and funky.

Overall this album is a most pleasant listening experience, with intelligent and aesthetically satisfying music and first rate playing. Both mainstream and Jazz-Rock listeners should find listening to this album a valuable experience. Wholeheartedly recommended!

By Adam Baruch

Track listing: 1. Walking 2. Supersonic 3. 55-54 4. Jungle in the Cathedral 5. For Leon 6. Vamp

sobota, 15 września 2012

Lemanczyk, Bukowski, Losowski - Orange Trane Acoustic Trio (2012)

Lemanczyk, Bukowski, Losowski (trio)

Dominik Bukowski – wibrafon
Piotr Lemańczyk – bass
Tomasz Łosowski - perkusja

Orange Trane Acoustic Trio (2012)

There are sax, trumpet or piano affictionados but I personally have soft spot for vibraphone. Its sound really makes me crazy! Why? Why some people prefer brunnettes to blondes or redheads? I don't know but I feel if vibraphone was a girl it would be a brunette. Dark, cold and bluesy as hell...

Although vibraphone's sound has given in my case rise to female associations, the instrument itself is operated almost exclusively by men. I adore sound of Milton Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson or Gary Burton. In Poland we had one vibraphonist of a caliber equal to those great ones that is Jerzy Millian (some of his recordings: 1, 2, 3). Many interesting things have been done as well by Bernard Maseli and recently by young Dominik Bukowski.

Bukowski last two albums "Times Get Changed" (2008) and "Vice Versa" (2009) confirmed his immense talent but he is also very active as a sideman. Best of them were recorded in collaboration with doublebassist Piotr Lemańczyk. Their sounds fits each other perfectly: Lemańczyk's tone is deep and resonant while Bukowski's thoughful and otherworldly. Together they add a lot of depth to every session they take part into. Such albums like "Follow The Soul" (2003) and, especially, "Naha People" (2009) are good examples how fruitful such collaborations can be.

Orange Trane Acoustic Trio apart from these two musicians features Tomasz Łosowski who along with Lemanczyk played in original Orange Trane band. It was founded in 1994 by Lemanczyk, Jaskułke, Herbasz and Łosowski, and recorded two albums: "Obertas" (1997) and "My Personal Friend" (1998), which were favourably invited as much by the critics as by audience. After second album the collective disbanded and its members went in different directions: Lemanczyk, Bukowski - jazz, Łosowski - pop.

Going back to Łosowski my impression is that regardles many years of absence on Polish jazz scene his play is of high quality indeed. His drumming is energetic which fits perfectly Lemanczyk and Bukowski styles. Thanks to Łosowski music on this disc has strong internal propulsion, it jives, it swings, it rocks & rolls.

Important role on this album is also played by guests: vocalist Krystyna Stańko, Finnish saxophonist Joonatan Rautio, trumpeter Marcin Gawdzis and guitarist Marcin Wądołowski. All these musicians are very good and their presence enlivens music a lot. Main focus of this album however is always on trio play which is pure pleasure to listen and eventually it shall appeal not only to brunettes' fans...

By Maciej Nowotny

Track listing: 1. Blue Minds 2. We Are Back 3. Song For M 4. Do You Mind 5. One For Seam 6. Daves Mood 7. Nancy & Body 8. On Inner 9. Celebrity

Nowicki / Swies / Frankiewicz Trio – Pathfinder (Multikulti, 2012) by Dirk Blasejezak

Nowicki / Swies / Frankiewicz Trio

Radek Nowicki - tenor & soprano saxophone
Andrzej Święs - double bass
Sebastian Frankiewicz - drums

Pathfinder (Multikulti, 2012)

This review had to be rewritten several times since this is one of those records that you get access to only after several times of listening. What emerges from the first note onwards though is the tone. Everybody experiences this from time to time: you listen to something and immediately know it has to be from some region (I’m sure you can tell a Scandinavian record from an U.S. album; and ECM or ACT are well known for the atmosphere on their records). Polish music for me has a special tone too. It’s that warm, slightly melancholic or better lyrical note where you feel immediately comfortable with.

And into this atmosphere you get absorbed from the beginning to the end of this record. Maybe the musicians too – I’m not sure if this was meant as a mainstream album, it’s definitely no Free Jazz album, although you get the impression that all three are supposed to break free and will most probably do so in concerts. It looks like the musicians couldn't decide which way to take. This is especially obvious in the more improvised passages where you get the impression that the three are afraid to really let loose.

The reason obviously is not the quality, all three are verifiable talented and despite their age experienced musicians. All trio members are alumni of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice (Nowicki also of the Fryderyk Chopin State School of Music in Warsaw; and Swies of the High School of Music in Poznan), and all have been working for years with Polish and international jazz stars and proven their powers.

Maybe it’s the format itself: the saxophone trio always is a bold venture. With an unisonous instrument as the leading voice the rhythm section has an enormously challenging task. On this album you can hear how Andrzej Swies on bass and Sebastian Frankiewicz on drums achieve this with much pleasure for the listener! But during Radek Nowicki’s outstanding saxophone play the rhythm group is not as present as it should be. I didn’t notice this when first listening, but this album really needs a disposed audience. Listen to it twice or better four or five times, put on some headphones and listen to it again – at some point it will light up and the interplay will become tangible. This is true even though the Tokarnia Studio did a very good job, the audio quality is stunning. It’s simply that we have here one of those albums that take their time to become accessible but experience has shown that those are the ones that persist!

It will be exciting to see where this young trio that was founded only last year will be heading. And I’m reallly looking forward to hearing them live! This debut certainly is fascinating, and it’s not solely the warm tone that sets these three apart from other saxophone trios. 

By Dirk Blasejezak

Tracklisting: 1. Wings [6:02] 2. Pyramid Song [8:03] 3. Pathfinding [7:41] 4. Diving Dog Dance [5:59] 5. Gardens of The Vistula [5:20] 6. For Aunt Marry [8:18] 7. Mikado [5:51] 8. Mr.Ape [5:46] 9. Chinese Love Song [6:39]

Adam Baldych & The Baltic Gang - Imaginary Room (ACT, 2012) by Adam Baruch

Adam Baldych & The Baltic Gang

Adam Bałdych / violin
The Baltic Gang:
Jacob Karlzon / piano
Lars Danielsson / bass, cello
Morten Lund / drums
Verneri Pohjola / trumpet
Marius Neset / saxophone
Nils Landgren / trombone (on 05 & 08)

Imaginary Room (ACT, 2012)

This is the first international release by Polish Jazz violinist / composer Adam Baldych. Recorded in Berlin, it features Baldych in a sextet / septet setting with some of the best Scandinavian
musicians (hence the Baltic Gang): trumpeter Verneri Pohjola (Finland), saxophonist Marius Neset (Norway), trombonist Nils Landgren (Sweden) who plays on two tracks and co-produced the album, pianist Jacob Karlzon (Sweden), bassist Lars Danielsson (Sweden), and drummer Morten Lund (Denmark). Baldych composed ten of the album's twelve tunes and co-composed the remaining two (one with Karlzon and the other with Danielsson). The album was released on the German ACT label, which already features several Polish Jazz artists on its recording artist roster.

Baldych, just 26 years old at the time this music was recorded, has already a most impressive list of achievements behind him and is often referred to as the new hope of Polish Jazz violin, which has a remarkable tradition indeed, with such outstanding masters as Michal Urbaniak, Zbigniew Seifert and Krzesimir Debski. With this album Baldych certainly earned his final seal of approval, joining the distinguished club of his predecessors.

The music included on this album is a major step in the development of Baldych as a composer. There is a definite style and a personal signature on all the tunes, which share a remarkable tendency towards melancholy, romanticism and deep lyricism. Most of the music is delicate, low key and slow tempo, with long and winding melody lines, a manner quite typical to the great Polish composers, both Classical and Jazz. The presence of the Scandinavian musicians, who are also known for their specific tone, might have influenced the overall sound and atmosphere of the album, but that would be only marginal. Considering also the fact that the tracks are relatively short and the arrangements do not allow expanded improvisations, it is obvious that the focus of this album is the music (compositions) rather that the performances.

The performances are, of course, stellar, which is not surprising considering the level of the musicians involved. Baldych plays superbly, as expected, but much less flashy and extrovert than on his earlier recordings. It is obvious that he reached a mental maturity, which turns him into a total musician, who does not need to prove his ability to the world, but to present a complete musical work of art, which includes composition, arrangement, performance and ambience as a whole. There are plenty of superb musical moments on this album, which of course will be revealed and discovered with repeated listening sessions.

The album is definitely one of the finest recent Polish Jazz recordings and will become part of the Polish Jazz canon for years to come. Baldych, who is just making his first international steps, is destined for glory, which hopefully will be achieved gradually. In the meantime this music is his gift to us, to be enjoyed to the fullest. Chapeau!

By Adam Baruch

Track listing:
1. Village Underground - 04:51 (Baldych, Adam)
2. Mirrors - 05:17 (Baldych, Adam)
3. The Room of Imagination - 07:08 (Baldych, Adam)
4. Cubism - 04:59 (Baldych, Adam)
5. K8 - 06:35 (Baldych, Adam)
6. Time Traveler - 03:07 (Baldych, Adam / Karlzon, Jacob)
7. Rama hai - 05:37 (Baldych, Adam)
8. For Zbiggy - 03:40 (Baldych, Adam)
9. 11.16 - 04:45 (Baldych, Adam)
10. Zarathustra - 03:14 (Baldych, Adam)
11. Inspiration - 04:04 (Baldych, Adam)
12. Million Miles Away - 02:11 (Baldych, Adam / Danielsson, Lars)

Innercity Ensamble annouces LP to be released soon!!!

This record is an effect of a three-day improvisational session in Mozg club in Bydgoszcz in August 2011. It was recorded by: Radek Dziubek, Rafał Iwański, Wojtek Jachna, Rafał Kołacki, Artur Maćkowiak, Tomek Popowski, Kuba Ziołek. The material was recorded by Jarek Hejmann of Madżonga Studio, and mixed by Jarek and Kuba Ziołek. The album is released by Milieu L'Acéphale. At the same time it is a preview of an LP that is to be released in the fall of 2012.

piątek, 14 września 2012

Marcin Malinowski - Golijov: Dream And Prayers Of Isaac The Blind (2012)

Marcin Malinowski - clarinet, bass clarinet

string quartet:
Dorota Roszkowska - violin
Ewa Kaszuba - violin
Michał Piwowarczyk - viola
Aleksandra Kuczewska - cello

 Golijov: Dream And Prayers Of Isaac The Blind (2012)

(Editor) Clarinetist Marcin Malinowski whom we know as a leader of Meadow Quartet (check his "Unexpected" released this year) employed String Quartet and recorded very nice piece of classical music inspired by klezmer moods composed by Osvaldo Golijov.

The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (1994) is the leading composition of the project Hear The Dybbuk – the essence of which is the performance of works which tie esthetics and the organization of notes in a classical way with the traditional Jewish music. The initiator of the project is Marcin Malinowski, who is supported by the outstanding young performers of chamber music from Tricity (Gdańsk, Poland): Dorota Roszkowska violin, Ewa Kaszuba violin, Michał Piwowarczyk viola, Aleksandra Kuczewska cello, Joanna Bogusz piano

source: linear notes

Prelude: Calmo, Sospeso
I. Agitato – Con Fuoco – Maestoso – Senza Misura, Oscilante
II. Teneramente – Ruvido – Presto
III. Calmo, Sospeso – Allegro Pesante
Postlude: Lento, Liberamente

Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet w/Joachim Kuhn - Live at Kosmos, Berlin (2008) by Adam Baruch

Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet w/Joachim Kuhn

Zbigniew Namysłowski - alto saxophone
Joachim Kuhn - piano
Janusz Kozlowski - bass
Czesław Bartkowski - drums

Live at Kosmos, Berlin (2008)

This is an iconic recording by the Polish Jazz quartet led by saxophonist Zbigniew Namyslowski, with German pianist Joachim Kühn, bassist Janusz Kozlowski and drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski. Recorded live on November 30, 1965 at the East Berlin Kosmos cinema, this is a quintessential piece of Polish and European modern Jazz history. Of the eight compositions present on this album, seven are by Namyslowski and one is by Kühn.

In order to fully comprehend the meaning of the music captured here, one must in fact look at (and hear) three separate recordings by the Zbigniew Namyslowski quartet spanning a mere one and a half year period, which fully present the history of the Polish Jazz in the making. Starting with the album "Lola", recorded in August 1964 in London, which was the first Jazz album recorded and released beyond the Iron Curtain by an East European artists, followed by this album from late 1965 and finally by the album "Zbigniew Namyslowski Quartet" recorded in January 1966, which was Namyslowski's first recording released as part of the legendary "Polish Jazz" Series.

In the liner notes accompanying this album German critic / historian Bert Noglik describes the historic background and the enormous significance of the modern Polish Jazz, which developed independently, almost isolated from the sources of information and influences, reliant only on sporadic radio broadcasts, few LPs trickling illegally and played till they were flat and ever rarer visits abroad. The fact that the Polish Jazz scene was so incredibly vibrant, inventive and beyond all revolutionary is one of the greatest miracles, which escape any attempt of logical or sociological explanation. But the fact remains that Namyslowski and many other Polish Jazz musicians spontaneously re-invented modern Jazz by daring to go where nobody ventured before.

The presence of the German pianist / composer Joachim Kühn is another fabulous bonus. Kühn would of course become one of the great leaders of the German Jazz scene in the years to come, but first he drifted where the great East European Jazz revolution was happening, living in 1964 in Czechoslovakia and playing with the legendary SHQ led by Karel Velebny and then moved to Poland, where he lived in 1965 and met Namyslowski, only to be invited to sit in the piano chair of his quartet. The following year Kühn, like many other fellow East German musicians, would move over to the West and develop a fabulous musical career of his own.

The music is, of course, absolutely brilliant and the live setting allows for a considerably less constrained treatment of the themes, allowing for truly expanded improvisations, one of which goes beyond the half hour mark, something which was completely unthinkable earlier on. Again, when examining the three a.m. albums, it is interesting to see how the same compositions developed, which of them survived and which were dropped and most interestingly noting Namyslowski's fascination with odd meters, which would become his trademark.

Drummer Bartkowski, who is the only musician present on all the three a.m. recordings alongside Namyslowski, is an outstanding example of how these young musicians developed rapidly, almost overnight. His contribution is an integral part of the music. Bassist Kozlowski, who plays on this album, was also present on the studio album recorded a few months later. His performance is also absolutely top notch.

Surprisingly enough, the sound quality is very decent compared to other archival recordings of that period, which enhances the overall experience of listening to these fabulous recordings. In all honesty there have been very few other archival Polish Jazz discoveries, if any at all, which are comparable to this monumental document. The fact that this music was buried for over forty years is a crime, but now that it finally sees the light of day, all serious music connoisseurs should be absolutely delighted. Such gems are as rare as the Koh-i-Noor and should be treated accordingly. Absolutely essential! 

Tracklisting: CD1: 1. Rozpacz, 9:55 2. Bye Bye Black Cat, 7:55 3. Balbina, 9:04 4. Der Letzte Tag, 10:45 5. Szafa, 9:00 6. Blues Shmues, 7:02 CD2: 1. Piatawka, 16:28 2. Straszna Franka, 30:23 

Simple Acoustic Trio - When Blues Will Leave? (1996)

Simple Acoustic Trio (band)

Marcin Wasilewski - piano
Slawomir Kurkiewicz - bass
Michal Miskiewicz - drums

When Blues Will Leave? (1996)

The story of Simple Acoustic Trio goes back to the beginning of ‘90s. Still being students of the Music High School S.A.Trio. made their debut in 1991. They won the third prize at the Polish jazz contest-Jazz Juniors ’91. In the same year, a sixteen-year old band leader - Marcin Wasilewski won the fourth prize at the International Jazz Pianist festival in Kalisz, Poland. Two years later the band won the first prize at the 7th International Festival of Jazz Bands “Chorus ‘93” during Jazzin’ Sorgues Festival in France. In 1996 the band participated in two jazz competitions. In Getxo, Spain, the band won the first prize and Marcin Wasilewski was chosen the best soloist of the festival. In the same year the band became a prizewinner of the Leverkusen Jazz Festival, and again Marcin Wasilewski was considered the best soloist.

So far the S.A.T., formed by Marcin Wasilewski - piano, Slawomir Kurkiewicz - double-bass and Michal Miskiewicz – drums, has recorded four CDs. The first one called “Komeda” (Gowi Records) released in February 1995 was inspired by a successful live performance dedicated to Krzysztof Komeda during the Jazz Jamboree’94. "Up-dated" version of this album re-titled "Lullaby for Rosemary's" was released on Not Not in 2001. “When will the blues leave” (Polonia Records) is the title of the second release from December 1995. “Live in Getxo” (Hillargi Records) was recorded during Getxo Jazz Festival 1996. In October 1999, the band performed at “Jazz All Fil De L’oise” festival in France, and the fallowing month recorded their fourth CD “Habanera” (Not Two). The fall of 2001 brought the release of “Lyrics”. The album came from co-operation between Polish saxophonist Henryk Miskiewicz and Simple Acoustic Trio, and was awarded the most prestigious prize in Polish phonographic industry “Fryderyk” 2001 for the best jazz album of the year. In the meantime S.A.T. was voted the best acoustic band by the readers of a polish magazine “Jazz Forum”. In 2007 S.A.T. released its first album titled "Trio" for ECM.

Individually and as a group the members of S.A.T. have performed with prominent international jazz stars such as Jan Garbarek, Manu Katche, Louis Sclavis, Dino Saluzzi, Palle Danielsson, Jon Christensen, Bernt Rosengren, Arthur Blythe, Joe Lovano, John Surman, Bobo Stenson, Anders Jormin, Gianluigi Trovesi and also have worked with Tomasz Szukalski, Piotr Wojtasik, Michal Urbaniak, Janusz Muniak, Zbigniew Namyslowski. Since 1994 the musicians of Simple Acoustic Trio have worked with Tomasz Stanko as members of Stanko quartet. This co-operation became a springboard for their artistic and commercial success; Tomasz Stanko Quartet has made a great deal of tours all over the world.

Stanko argues that “In the entire history of Polish jazz, we’ve never had a band like this one. I’m surprised by these musicians every day. They just keep getting better and better.” But the pianist, bassist and drummer are much more than Stanko’s ‘backing band’.

The trio is very much a group, and as Don Heckman observed, reviewing them with Stanko for the Los Angeles Times, “Their years together have resulted in an ensemble with an utterly symbiotic creative flow, solos darting through collective passages as the music streamed fluidly from one selection into another. Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz play with a fertile combination of swing and subtlety…Wasilewski’s piano soloing displayed a coalescing talent, a potentially emerging jazz star in his own right.”

source: SAT MySpace page

1. When Will the Blues Leave? (O.Colleman)
2. Arpegiatta (M.Wasilewski)
3. King Korn (C.Blay)
4. Umbra (S.Kurkiewicz)
5. Quaraquaquaraqua (M.Wasilewski)
6. Balladoena (M.Wasilewski)
7. Pablo Blue (M.Wasilewski)
8. Koina (M.Wasilewski)
9. Rocker (M.Wasilewski)

niedziela, 9 września 2012

Andrzej Kurylewicz & Wanda Warska - Somnambulists (1961)

Andrzej Kurylewicz & Wanda Warska

Andrzej Kurylewicz - piano
Wanda Warska - vocal
Jan Byrczek - double bass
Andrzej Dąbrowski - drums

Somnambulists (1961)

Unfortunately I was able to listen to this album only in form of mp3. Therefore I couldn't read liner notes. I am not even sure who exactly play on this album. As in cases of many Polish jazz albums information is scarce, incomplete or nonexistent. With this album it is even more exasperating than usual as it is truly a pearl, brilliant work embodying many characteristic features of such a unique phenomenon as Polish jazz.

First, it is as much based on bop jazz as on classical music. Most of "founding fathers" of jazz in Poland (Andrzej Kurylewicz is one of them) had strong classical music background. But it didn't manifest itself in imitating what was already well known in classical music but rather in refreshing it using novelties which were brought to music by jazz. Of these novelties most important for Polish musicians were rhythm, improvisation, sound individuality and freedom to form.

Second, before II World War jazz had been present in Poland being however of no artistic importance. It had been then simply poor copy of American music. When in second half of 50ties it was born again, almost from the beginning it wore marks of the great art, being part or even walking in spearhead of the great renaissance of different arts in Poland. Those different art movements were not developing separately but they affected each other. Especially fruitful was relationship between Polish jazz and cinema. Like for example with Art Tatum ballad "Moonray", here in interpretation by legendary Wanda Warska, which became guiding theme for cult movie "Pociąg" (Train) directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, one of the most important directors of so-called Polish film school.

Finally, Polish culture was strongly influenced by France. Among many things which had been taken over  from that country is a tradition of chansons françaises. It means that songs are rather simple, melodious but at the same time being just a departure point for small theater where singer often uses acting techniques to strengthen artistic effect. That is exactly what vocalist Wanda Warska is doing on this album. She is backed by the highest quality jazz musicians in persons of pianist Andrzej Kurylewicz, bassist Jan Byrczek and drummer Andrzej Dąbrowski. I guess that Jerzy Milian is playing on vibraphone though I am not sure. Unfortunately I cannot find who is playing on trumpet... Summarizing, this is simply brilliant piece of music that I can only wholeheartedly recommend!

By Maciej Nowotny

Check this music please!!!

Track listing: 1.Moonray 2.Somnambulists 3.Stompin' at the Savoy 4.Lover man 5.You'd be so nice to come home to 6.But not for me 7.Ballada o straconej gazy (A ballad about a lost job) 8.Tubby

Jazzpospolita - Impulse (2012) by Adam Baruch

Jazzpospolita (band)

Stefan Nowakowski – bass
Wojtek Oleksiak – drums
Michał Przerwa-Tetmajer – guitar
Michał Załęski – keyboard

Impulse (2012)

This is the 2nd album (not counting their early EP) by the young Polish ensemble Jazzpospolita (Jazz Republic in Polish), one of the many very interesting ensembles emerging recently on the local scene. The current lineup of the group includes guitarist Michal Przerwa-Tetmajer, keyboardist Michal Zaleski, bassist Stefan Nowakowski and drummer Wojciech Oleksiak. The album consists of eight tracks, which are all original compositions (no compositional credits are given on the album's packaging).

Although obviously deeply rooted in the Jazz tradition (as their name suggests), the group expands their influences into other areas as well, including Rock, electronic and ambient. The music includes plenty of improvisation, but the overall sound is pretty metallic and electronic, which is quite innovative on one hand but often difficult to swallow on the other. They are clearly cross-genre, still searching for a unique identity, but their path of experimentation and reaching beyond the obvious is commendable.

In the more "conventional" pieces they sound pretty much Jazz-Rock, but on the more advanced / experimental pieces their sound could be called Psychedelic and even Spacey. Obviously there is a lot of versatility herein and listeners, who like to be surprised and kept in suspense, will enjoy this immensely.

The nature of the music makes it quite difficult to estimate the individual talents and abilities of the ensemble members; well perhaps it is for the best, as the ensemble sound is exactly their forte. Whatever one thinks about this music, one thing is sure: these young musicians do their thing, which is more that most of their contemporaries do.

This album is highly recommended to the more adventurous listeners, who are not afraid to struggle with first impressions and harsh sounds, and are willing to give this music a second chance. Eventually there is a high probability this will become some of their favorite music in the long term. Impressive stuff!

By Adam Baruch 

Track listing: 1 03:09 Co Myslisz O Wandalizmie? 2 04:09 Czerwona Flaga (Ale Ja Sie Kapie) 3 07:23 Pasazer U-Boota 4 05:18 Pobudzenie 5 05:08 Ciezkie Powietrze 6 04:59 Grzyb 7 07:17 Nigdy Nie Pada Na Gornym Mokotowie 8 08:32 Protest Song? 

Volume - Tungt Vand (Nine World Music, 2011)

Volume (band)

Mikolaj Trzaska - saxophones
Peter Ole Jorgensen - drums, percussion
Peter Friis Nielsen - bass
Johannes Bauer - trombone

Tunght Vand (Nine World Music, 2011)

The double horn section of Volume is raw and slightly abrasive, in the best way possible. The saxophone and bass clarinet of Mikolaj Trzaska and trombone of Johannes Bauer titillate as they intertwine and traumatized as they battle it out with drummer Peter Ole Jorgensen and electric bassist Peter Friis Nielsen on the tracks of the live 'Tungt Vand'. 

The quartet specializes in its namesake but in much more too, taking the adventurous listener on some excellent musical twists and turns. As challenging as the sound can get at times, it seems to retains a core melodic sensibility. In some way, I am reminded of the Scorch Trio in how the group approaches collective improvisation.

Space and time shape the sounds into songs. A good example is 'Megasus', a challenging tune that captures the essence of the group's approach. Starting with the distorted sounds of voices filtered through their mouthpieces, soon follows myriad scrapes, bleets and blasts. Percussive hits punctuate the atmosphere and sustained tones from the sax stretch through the sonic fog. The cacophony builds in intensity and soon the song become a dense frenetic soundscape. Snippets of melodic phrases form and dissipate quickly, often triggering other events. Over the course of eight minutes, it builds to a delightful crescendo of sound and fury, worth every moment of attention.

Overall, 'Tungt Vand' is an engaging listen, its rawness and intertwining melodies can be captivating. Made on a tour date in Poland in 2009, the recording sounds excellent, picking up the extended techniques and grandiose crescendos in living, breathing detail.

By Paul

Tracklisting: 1. Washing Time 2. Diving In Sound 3. Wimpo Dimpo 4. Megasus 5. Light Shining On A Black Surface 6. Tungt Vand (Deuterium Oxide) 

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