Monday, February 4, 2013

Various Artists – Przyjaciele Graja Hajduna (2011)

Wanda Staroniewicz - vocals
Wlodzimierz Nahorny - piano
Piotr Nadolski - trumpet
Marcin Wadolowski - guitar
Wojciech Staroniewicz - saxophone
Janusz Mackiewicz - bass
Dominik Bukowski - vibraphone
Darek Herbasz - saxophone
Adam Golicki - percussion
Kuba Hajdun - piano


By Adam Baruch

This album presents the live recording of a memorial concert dedicated to the Polish pianist / composer Janusz Hajdun, who died a year before this concert took place. Hajdun composed music to more than a hundred films, including the short animated film "Tango", which was the first and so far only Polish film to win the Oscar in 1983, as well as many popular songs. His music was characterized by a distinctive swing and a Jazz spirit, and therefore it is only natural that the Polish Jazz musicians taking part in this concert would pay this loving tribute to the beautiful music composed by Hajdun, hoping to preserve it for posterity.

The album presents thirteen compositions by Hajdun (in two cases co-compositions), all of which were beautifully arranged by the participating musicians and three of which include vocals sung by Wanda Staroniewicz. The instrumentalist are: legendary pianist Wlodzimierz Nahorny, trumpeter Piotr Nadolski, guitarist Marcin Wadolowski, saxophonist Wojciech Staroniewicz, bassist Janusz Mackiewicz, vibraphonist Dominik Bukowski, saxophonist Dariusz Herbasz, percussionist Adam Golicki and pianist Kuba Hajdun (the composer's son).

The music is truly beautiful, full of the typical Polish lyricism, somewhat melancholic and even gloomy, but always absorbing and aesthetically perfect. There is more than a coincidental similarity to Krzysztof Komeda's cinematic work, which indisputably inspired Hajdun, as it did all Polish composers. Hearing all this music collected here makes a great impact as a sum total and emphasizes his incredible value as a composer and contributor to the development of Polish Culture.

The performances are inspired and overall perfect, full of superb solos and excellent team work, kept in relative low-key, as appropriate for a memorial concert. Ranging from solo piano performances to a full-blown Jazz ensemble, things are definitely happening here, which should leave no listener cold. The fact that people pay tribute to their departed colleagues and mentors is heartwarming and commendable and when it is done with such love, dedication and talent, it becomes an unforgettable event.

This is Polish Jazz at its best, and as such it deserves to be listened to with attention and open-mindedness. Taking care of the past and the heritage is every bit as important as taking care of the future, let's not forget it.

1 comment:

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