Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ptaszyn Wróblewski Sextet – Moi Pierwsi Mistrzowie (2014)

Ptaszyn Wróblewski Sextet

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski - tenor saxophone
Robert Majewski - trumpet, flugelhorn
Henryk Miśkiewicz - alto saxophone
Wojciech Niedziela - piano
Sławomir Kurkiewicz - bass
Marcin Jahr - drums

Moi Pierwsi Mistrzowie


By Adam Baruch

This is a live recording by one of Polish Jazz Godfathers, saxophonist/composer Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski and his sextet, which also includes trumpeter Robert Majewski, saxophonist Henryk Miśkiewicz, pianist Wojciech Niedziela, bassist Sławomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Marcin Jahr, all renowned Polish Jazz musicians. As the album's title suggests, Wróblewski (born 1936) pays tribute to three Polish Jazz icons, with whom he played as a young musician: Krzysztof Komeda (born 1931), Andrzej Trzaskowski (born 1933) and Andrzej Kurylewicz (born 1932). Sadly all three are no longer with us. Of the six tracks on the album, three were composed by Komeda, two by Trzaskowski and one by Kurylewicz. In the liner notes Wroblewski lists the many differences between these three legendary figures and his personal experiences from the encounters with them.

The music is kept well within the mainstream modern Jazz idiom, perfectly and flawlessly performed by all the musicians involved, but somehow lacking the excitement and exhilaration one might expect but such classy company and such ambitious task. The arrangements of the remarkable compositions presented herein are also not in par with the expectations, especially the Komeda tunes, which sound as if they were simplified and sound way too "smooth" in comparison to their original form, as intended by the composer.

Overall this is a first class collection of classic Polish Jazz compositions, played by a highly professional sextet, which sadly fails to reach the level of depth and sincerity these tunes deserve. Of course mainstream Jazz enthusiasts will find this album to be perfectly adequate, but for me a feeling of a missed opportunity is lingering as this music plays in the background. The individual solo spots, which are quite impressive in some cases, fail to save the day. I'm sure Wróblewski and his cohorts will rise to the challenge again next time.

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