Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Józef Skrzek/Tomasz Szukalski – Ambitus Extended (2008)

Józef Skrzek/Tomasz Szukalski

Józef Skrzek - keyboards, bass
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet

Ambitus Extended


By Adam Baruch

This is a reissue of the album recorded by the duo that brought together two legendary musicians: founder and leader of SBB, bassist/keyboardist Józef Skrzek and one of the Giants of Polish Jazz, saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski, who came to fame as member of ensembles led by Tomasz Stańko and Zbigniew Namysłowski. Skrzek and Szukalski played together on and off since the mid 1970s but in the tense pre-Martial Law period (1980-1981) the duo recorded this album and several other projects together and performed live quite often. This remastered edition of the album was expanded by six previously unreleased live tracks, recorded shortly before the recording of the original album material.

The music was co-composed by Skrzek and Szukalski and mostly improvised on pre-conceived melodic motifs, and features extensive soloing by Szukalski and wonderful keyboards work by Skrzek. Stylistically it moves between Blues, Fusion, Progressive Rock and Jazz, always beautifully harmonic and deeply moving. Szukalski was the absolute Master of melodic improvisation, like his idol Ben Webster, and had no equals on the Polish scene at that time (or even to this very day). His untimely death was a great loss for Polish/European Jazz.

In spite of its minimalistic scope and approach, the album is full of absolutely thrilling musical ideas and virtuosic performances, and remains to this very day a milestone achievement of Polish Jazz/Fusion/Blues-Rock history. This reissue brings back to life a piece of Polish music history and is of course a must have for Polish music fans/collectors.

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