Friday, November 13, 2015

Mikołaj Trzaska – Cześć, Cześć, Cześć… (1996)

Mikołaj Trzaska

Mikołaj Trzaska - alto & soprano saxophones, guitar
Jowita Cieślikiewicz - piano, keyboard, Hammond organ
Tomasz Hesse - bass, Hammond bass pedals
Jacek Olter - drums, electronic drums
Szymon Rogiński - didgeridoo

Cześć, Cześć, Cześć…


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by legendary Polish saxophonist/clarinetist/composer/bandleader Mikołaj Trzaska, recorded while Trzaska was still a member of the no less legendary Yass ensemble Milość, which revolutionized the Polish Jazz scene in the 1990s. The album was recorded in a quartet setting with keyboardist Jowita Cieślikiewicz (from the legendary all female ensemble Oczi Cziorne) and two Milość related musicians: bassist Tomasz Hesse and drummer Jacek Olter. Didgeridoo player Szymon Rogiński appears as a guest musician. The album presents nine tracks, seven of which are original compositions by Trzaska, one is a traditional song and one was co-composed by Hesse and Tomasz Gwinciński (a legendary representative of the Bydgoszcz music scene and considered as one of the creators of the Yass idiom).

From a twenty years long retrospect this album sounds today even more poignant than when I heard it for the first time at the time it was originally released. After closely following the musical path and development of Trzaska during that period, it becomes clearly evident that this album was not only revolutionary, but even more importantly so it was completely prophetic as far as Trzaska's future was about to reveal itself. It includes all the elements in his music, which were about to burst out later on: a superb sense of melody, always full of tension and suspense, which would become Trzaska's trademark in his remarkable career as a creator of some of Poland's most important soundtracks to no less important movies. It also includes the element of cyclic, almost trans-like, hypnotic repetition, which was to characterize Trzaska's music in the ensembles he led during those twenty years. And last but not least it also features his obvious search of his musical roots, which was about to blossom when Trzaska discovered Jewish music.

Musically this album lost absolutely nothing of its charm and strength over time and as already mentioned above is an absolutely marvelous statement, which not only depicts the essence of the Yass era, with its nonchalance, daring and open-mindedness on one hand and the total commitment to doing your own thing on the other, but also captures in an embryonic stage one of Poland's most creative and significant musical minds.

Sadly this album never really achieved the iconic status it truly deserves, which complies with the ancient saying: "No Prophet is welcome in his hometown", which tragically is more often true than not. Since it seems to be still available, I can't think of a Polish Jazz album that deserves to be in every serious Polish Jazz collection than this one, not only for its historic significance but simply because it contains so much great music. Don't even think twice!

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