Saturday, February 15, 2014

Piotr Damasiewicz Project - Imprographic 1 (2013)

Piotr Damasiewicz - trumpet
Gerard Lebik - saxophone
Jakub Mielcarek - bass
Gabriel Ferrandini - drums


By Adam Baruch

This double CD album captures live performances by the quartet called Piotr Damasiewicz Project, led by Polish Jazz trumpeter Piotr Damasiewicz, with saxophonist Gerard Lebik, bassist Jakub Mielcarek (both members of the Polish ensemble Erase) and Portuguese drummer Gabriel Ferrandini. The music was recorded over a short period of just six days during the quartet's performances in three clubs, each in a different Polish city. All the music is spontaneously improvised and is credited to all the quartet members.

Stylistically the music belongs to the gray area between spontaneous Improvised Music, Free Jazz and contemporary Avant-garde. The concept of using graphic notations instead of notes, as the basic directions upon which the improvisations are based, is of course quite old and was pioneered decades ago by such Jazz icons as Anthony Braxton as well as several contemporary Classical composers.

Although Damasiewicz and his colleagues are obviously very talented musicians, this music leaves me stone cold. Having been listening to this kind of music for the last fifty years, I don't find any substance here, which justifies listening to this music for over two hours; there is no real innovation, no fire that I can feel, no concept except for total freedom. Even the collective improvisation is quite limited, as the two soloists rarely play together and the rhythm section contributes very little to the overall result. Of course there are some great moments, but overall this is not going anywhere as far as I can hear. There are some differences between the music on the first and on the second CD of this set, with the latter being definitely more engaging to the listener, but still it was mostly a déjà vu of music heard many times before. Although the liner notes hint towards such legendary sources of influence as the British Spontaneous Music Ensemble, or Peter Brötzmann's Machine Gun and other European improvising ensembles, honestly I fail to see the parallels here.

Of course this kind of music deserves to be documented and kudos to the For Tune label for including it in its catalogue. Hardcore Avant-garde fans will definitely find this interesting, as this kind of music is certainly quite rare these days.

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