Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Awatair – Awatair Plays Coltrane (2019)


Tomasz Gadecki - tenor & baritone saxophones
Mark Tokar - double bass
Michał Gos - drums

Awatair Plays Coltrane

FSR 2019/16

By Adam Baruch

This is a debut album by the Awatair jazz trio consisting of Polish saxophonist Tomasz Gadecki, Ukrainian bassist Mark Tokar and Polish drummer Michał Gos. The album, recorded live, presents four tracks, three of which are compositions by John Coltrane and one is an original improvisation credited to the trio members.

For most Jazz listeners the late John Coltrane period, when his music moved into "interstellar space", remains well beyond their grasp to this very day, over half a century later. Coltrane's visionary approach to music in general, and his output closely preceding his untimely death is even more unapproachable to musicians, trying to produce anything similar to his unearthly accomplishments.

In view of the above this album is threading a thin line between homage and a self parody, which characterizes most similar projects. Gadecki, who undoubtedly is one of the most interesting Jazz personalities on the Polish Jazz scene, has a fabulous record of creating some of the most ambitious and consistently excellent Polish Free Jazz projects, takes a great risk here, and I am relieved to say that he and his colleagues manage to produce a homage rather than a pastiche.

Gadecki's playing on this album is nothing short of phenomenal. He is able to produce a range of sounds from his instruments, which can be surprising even to veterans of the genre. His explorations are diverse, original and heartfelt all the way and his technique and stamina are extraordinary. He is amicably supported by the rhythm section, which is supportive and sensitive, but less impressive.

Overall this is a fascinating listening experience, which manages to keep the listener on his toes for the entire duration. Having said all that I still think Coltrane and his late period music is a holy grail that should rather be left alone as a symbol of human Genius.

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