Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Adam Pierończyk Quartet – A-Trane Nights (2014)

Adam Pierończyk Quartet

Adam Pierończyk - tenor & soprano saxophones
Adrian Mears - trombone, didgeridoo
Anthony Cox - double bass
Krzysztof Dziedzic - drums

A-Trane Nights


By Adam Baruch

This is an "archival" album by the veteran Polish Jazz saxophonist/composer Adam Pierończyk and his quartet, which also includes Australian (living in Germany) trombonist/didgeridoo player Adrian Mears, American bassist Anthony Cox and Polish drummer Krzysztof Dziedzic. The music was recorded live at the Berlin A-Trane International Jazz Club (hence the title) in 2008, immediately following the studio recording of the same material, which was released a couple of years later as "El Buscador" on the German Jazzwerkstatt label, on which Pierończyk releases his albums in the last few years. The album presents eight original compositions, seven of which were composed by Pieronczyk and one which was co-composed by Pierończyk and Mears, exactly the same as the studio album and in almost identical sequence.

Naturally these live versions are expanded and provide a much broader basis both for individual explorations and ensemble interplay. Three of the pieces have a duration of over fifteen minutes and two others of over ten minutes, which obviously emphasizes the relaxed atmosphere and creative frame of mind of the quartet members at the time.

The music is quite deceiving, as it does sound a bit simplistic at first, but careful listening reveals a depth much beyond the exterior layer of the melodic themes in each of the pieces. There is an intrinsic dimension of freedom in this music, which never actually crosses over to the avant-garde or even free form, but is sufficiently removed from straightforward mainstream to be both aesthetically elegant and intellectually intriguing. As I have already said on previous occasions, Pierończyk seems to have developed a niche of his own within modern Jazz, which came to full fruition on his recent solo saxophone album "The Planet Of Eternal Life".

The sound of the quartet is another challenge; a pianoless saxophone and trombone/didgeridoo fronted ensemble is obviously significantly less "user friendly" than a traditional harmonically supported lineup. But whatever is lost from the absence of the piano is gained by the sonic space stretched between the brass instruments. The "air" or empty space plays a significant role in the overall effect the quartet members achieve collectively as a group.

Of course the individual performances are all quite splendid. Pierończyk has a superbly mellow tone, which contrasts nicely with the somewhat rough trombone and didgeridoo sound. The soloists are supported admirably by the rhythm section, which of course is solid like a rock and flexible like a breeze. Big kudos is due to For Tune for putting this music out and saving it from getting stale and lost in the tunnels of history, as it surely deserves to see the light of day and make the music lovers happy!

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