Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Various Artists – Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 22 (2015)

Various Artists

Krzysztof Komeda - piano
Tomasz Stańko - trumpet
Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski - saxophone
Michał Urbaniak - saxophone
Zbigniew Namysłowski - saxophone
and many others

Polish Radio Jazz Archives Vol. 22


By Adam Baruch

This is the twenty-second installment in the series of releases initiated by the Polish Radio, which presents archive Jazz recordings from the radio vaults. Radio recordings are always a fabulous source of remarkable material, and as far as Polish Jazz history is concerned, the Polish Radio, which was a state monopoly for 45 years, recorded over time a plethora of invaluable material, which apart from the albums released by the Polskie Nagrania record company (also a state monopoly), is the only available additional source of Polish Jazz recordings. For many years Polish Radio recorded concerts presented during Poland's most important Jazz venues, including the annual Jazz Jamboree Festival and many other festivals as well.

The ten tracks collected here were recorded during the seventh Jazz Jamboree Festival, which took place between October 24 and 26 1964 in Warsaw. This is the third part of the Jazz Jamboree 1964 recordings. The music was performed by four different ensembles, which are: the Italian Flavio Ambrosetti All Stars (five tracks), led by saxophonist Flavio Ambrosetti with trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti, Swiss pianist George Gruntz, Polish bassist Tadeusz Wójcik and Swiss drummer Pierre Favre and three Polish Jazz ensembles, Krzysztof Komeda Quintet (one track) with trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, saxophonist Michał Urbaniak, bassist Janusz Kozłowski and drummer Czesław Bartkowski, Polish Jazz Quartet (two tracks) led by saxophonist Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski with pianist Wojciech Karolak, bassist Juliusz Sandecki and drummer Andrzej Dąbrowski and Zbigniew Namysłowski Quartet (two tracks) with pianist Włodzimierz Gulgowski, bassist Tadeusz Wójcik and drummer Czesław Bartkowski.

This is by far the most interesting of the three volumes of the Jazz Jamboree 1964 recordings, as it presents the modern Polish Jazz about to explode into modernism, which will shape its destiny for generations to come. Stanko, Urbaniak, Wroblewski, Bartkowski are still active on the Polish scene, fifty years latter, carrying the fire which was first sparkled around the time these recordings were made. The Ambrosetti set is also interesting, as it allows a glance at two legendary Jazz figures: Gruntz and Favre, at their early days. Most of the music performed on this album is original.

The beautifully restored sound quality is excellent and the warm ambience of the analog recording is a true joy. As usual with this series, which is very reasonably priced, I miss the presence of "in depth" liner notes/booklet, which should convey the circumstances at which this music was recorded and its importance to the development of Jazz in Poland. Nevertheless this is an absolutely essential piece of Jazz history which every Jazz fan will surely consider an absolute must.

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