Monday, September 14, 2015

Adam Makowicz – Winter Flowers (1993)

Adam Makowicz

Adam Makowicz - piano

Winter Flowers


By Adam Baruch

This is a reissue of a solo piano album by the brilliant Polish Jazz pianist/composer Adam Makowicz, which was originally recorded in Czechoslovakia and released on the Supraphon label. It was the third solo piano album by Makowicz (see "Live Embers" and "Piano Vistas Unlimited" recorded earlier), recorded shortly before he left for the US, where he recorded his first American album, also solo piano, and entitled simply "Adam". Both these albums were released more or less in parallel. This album presents ten original compositions by Makowicz. Several tunes on this album were also recorded for the US album, some under different names, which included in addition to Makowicz originals also five standards.

Makowicz was one of the very few Polish Jazz musicians that managed to establish a solid career in the US and lived there for many years, before moving to Canada. His technical brilliance and extensive Classical Music background allowed him to establish a concert pianist career. He was banned in Poland after moving to the US and the ban was lifted only after the fall of the Socialist regime, but this Czechoslovak album was available during that dark period.

Makowicz is known for his love and interpretation of the music of Frederic Chopin and his original music bears Chopin's influence almost in every aspect: melodically, harmonically and lyrically. One might speculate that if Chopin would have lived in our times, his music might have sounded very similar to that of Makowicz. In the US Makowicz was often compared to Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, but quite honestly these comparisons are quite inappropriate, as Tatum and Peterson might have been symbols of piano playing technique but did not possess the European idiosyncrasies that only European born musicians are blessed with.

In retrospect this album lost nothing of its charm and elegance and personally is still my favorite Makowicz album, perhaps because it is entirely based on his original music. A classic Jazz piano album and a must for all fans of Polish Jazz of course!

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