Saturday, April 8, 2017

Arek Skolik & His Men – Plays Mingus (2017)

Arek Skolik & His Men

Jarosław Bothur - tenor saxophone
Michał Jaros - double bass
Arek Skolik - drums
Patrycja Zarychta - vocal (5)

Plays Mingus


By Adam Baruch

This is an album by veteran Polish Jazz drummer Arek Skolik recorded in a trio setting with saxophonist Jarosław Bothur and bassist Michał Jaros. Vocalist Patrycja Zarychta sings on one track. The album, as the title suggests, presents six compositions by Charles Mingus, which are interpreted by Skolik and his crew.

The music, as described by Skolik in the album's liner notes, is a spontaneous jam session based on compositions by Mingus, recorded live in the studio. There is not much one can add to this description honestly, as the music is completely straight ahead, except perhaps for the fact that it is performed by a saxophone trio, but that is nothing extraordinary these days. This album might have been recorded five decades earlier, and no one would be able to tell the difference.

All three players are highly professional and fluent and the execution is beyond reproach, as good as any American mainstream Jazz combo is able to perform, except that this is a Polish Jazz trio and one really expects to hear something beyond ordinary when Polish musicians are involved. Bothur has a wonderful tone on his tenor saxophone and his improvisations are inspired, Jaros plays excellent support behind the saxophone and Skolik is obviously a very sensitive drummer, playing both rhythm and melody, but there is nothing here that wasn't heard already. Overall this is a nice mainstream Jazz album, which Bebop lovers should enjoy anywhere in the world, but which does not break any new ground. Recommended to Mingus aficionados!

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