Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Włodek Pawlik – Struny Na Ziemi (2011)

Włodek Pawlik

Lora Szafran - vocals
Marek Bałata - vocals
Robert Więckiewicz - recitation
Włodek Pawlik - piano
Paweł Pańta -  bass
Cezary Konrad - drums
Mikołaj Wielecki - percussion

Struny Na Ziemi


By Adam Baruch

This is a beautiful album by Polish pianist/composer Włodek Pawlik, which presents a Jazz & Poetry project dedicated to the poetry of Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, one of the most renowned 20th Century Polish literary figures, although quite controversial on the convoluted Polish political landscape. Pawlik created sixteen musical settings to poems by Iwaszkiewicz, which are executed by a fabulous cast which includes vocalists Lora Szafran and Marek Bałata, actor Robert Więckiewicz, bassist Paweł Pańta, drummer Cezary Konrad and percussionist Mikołaj Wielecki.

The Jazz & Poetry idiom has always been one of great fortes of Polish Jazz and the beautiful Polish poetry seems always to magically inspire musicians and makes them to come up with their best work. This album is another example of this phenomenon and it is absolutely wonderful from start to finish. Pawlik seems to be completely comfortable with the short "song" oriented environment and weaves a series of beautifully melodic, expressive and impressive pieces, which are certainly among his strongest manifestations as a composer.

The vocals and recitation are also superbly executed, with Szafran demonstrating again that she has but a few equals. A pity she does not record more, as her singing is always a source of heavenly pleasure. The instrumental quartet performs spotlessly, with Pawlik sensitive and lyrical phrases amicably and masterfully accompanied by the excellent rhythm section.

Overall this is a classic example of the Jazz & Poetry idiom, which glorifies the Polish Culture in the best possible way. The combination of words and music is probably the most powerful tool to bring the best out of the Artists and the listeners. Of course the lyrics in Polish seemingly limit the audience to the Polish speakers, but honestly this album can move the hearts of listeners who do not understand a word of Polish by the sheer magic of its intelligence and intellectual content. Strangely this album made very little impact on the Polish scene at the time of its release. Some people probably can't bury political hatchets even when it comes to Culture.

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