Friday, November 16, 2018

Piotr Wojtasik - To Whom It May Concern (2018)

Piotr Wojtasik

Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet
Viktor Tóth - alto saxophone, flute
Sylwester Ostrowski - tenor saxophone
Bobby Few - piano
Joris Teepe - double bass
John Betsch - drums

To Whom It May Concern


INDYGO 002

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by the veteran Polish Jazz trumpeter / composer / bandleader / educator Piotr Wojtasik, recorded by an international sextet, which features alongside Wojtasik also Hungarian saxophonist/flautist Viktor Toth, Polish saxophonist Sylwester Ostrowski, Dutch bassist Joris Teepe and American (resident in Europe) pianist Bobby Few and drummer John Betsch. The album, which was recorded in France, presents eight original compositions, all by Wojtasik.

The music explores the roots of Jazz and stretches between Blues influenced early Jazz through familiar Bebop mainstream and towards more open/Free oriented music, but stays within well defined boundaries. The compositions are diverse and interesting, clearly showing Wojtasik as a mature and focused composer, who is able to weave nice melodic themes and expand them into a fully structured ensemble pieces.

Both Wojtasik and Ostrowski consistently drift towards American Jazz and obviously prefer to play and record with American musicians, but they do it on an equal footing with the Americans, completely devoid of the inferiority complex that characterized whole generations of Polish Jazz musicians for decades. The music on this album clearly shows that they are able to stand shoulder to shoulder with their cohorts.

The album is full of strong personal statements by all the participants, as appropriate for such endeavor, with the leader exploring his extensive arsenal of trumpet magic, moving with ease between raw and fully powered statements and delicate balladry. His unique and very personal style remains as one of the most distinctive voices of Polish Jazz trumpet, equaled by but a very few.

Few is also a charmer with his highly idiosyncratic piano vistas, which can be heard all along the album's duration and come to a climax in the short solo piano piece showcasing his abilities and dedicated to him by the leader/composer. The excellent rhythm section is a bastion of strength and stability which keeps the music in check and moving along the desired chronometry, completely at ease with whatever is required at each given moment. Joris gets also a solo spot in another short piece dedicated to him. An artistry of time and pulse…

Overall this is an excellent album by any standard and although it offers contemporary Jazz of the American flavor, rather than European Jazz which one expects to hear from European Jazz musicians, it is perfectly executed, interesting and inspiring, full of great ideas and obviously highly engaging. Wojtasik deserves admiration and praise for consistency, which characterizes his entire career, and most importantly for doing his thing regardless of trends and fads of fashion. Keep swinging Maestro!

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