Sunday, December 20, 2020

Oleś Brothers & Piotr Orzechowski - Waterfall: Music Of Joe Zawinul (2020)

Oleś Brothers & Piotr Orzechowski

Piotr Orzechowski - piano
Marcin Oleś - double bass
Bartłomiej Oleś - drums

Waterfall: Music Of Joe Zawinul

AUDIO CAVE 2020/011

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by a "dream come true" Polish Jazz piano trio, which combines the forces of the brilliant rhythm section comprising of twin brothers Marcin Oleś on bass and Bartłomiej Oleś on drums (collectively known as Oleś Brothers) with one of Poland's most idiosyncratic, expressive and open-minded pianists Piotr Orzechowski. It is therefore not surprising that the expectations from the music produced by this trio reach the zenith as far as Polish Jazz scene is concerned.

As the subtitle of this album ("Music Of Joe Zawinul") discloses, the subject of the album is the music composed by Austrian composer/keyboardist Josef Joe Zawinul, who left Austria in 1959 and moved to where Jazz "was happening", soon to become one of the most prominent musicians on the American scene, playing with Cannonball Adderley and then Miles Davis, before forming the revolutionary ensemble Weather Report and later Zawinul Syndicate.

Despite his success in America, Zawinul was in many respects a tragic figure as his European background and musical tradition never truly allowed him to integrate within American Jazz. Over the years he composed a superb body of music that attested to his European foundations, which was never fully understood by his fellow musicians at the time. Therefore the recognition of the European spirit in the music of Zawinul, which is fully recognized and openly stated by the creators of this album, offers an important historical and intellectual testimonial beyond the musical layer. This approach leads of course to a completely novel and unprecedented interpretation of Zawinul's music, dominant to such extent that most music listeners familiar with these compositions in their original recorded form will probably not recognize these compositions easily (if at all) on this album.

As a result, the listeners are exposed to a completely new depth and beauty of Zawinul's compositions, a presentation which deserves a highest respect for its ingenuity and boldness, qualities that are not surprising in case of Oleś Brothers and Orzechowski. The performances are of course absolutely stellar, with every single note and sound perfectly placed within the musical kaleidoscope. The clarity of the sound and the total involvement of these three musicians is absolutely phenomenal, standing apart from almost everything else one can find on record elsewhere. It seems that the magic touch of Oleś Brothers and Orzechowski combined becomes not only a sum of their sublime qualities but rather their product

A word of warning for listener's expecting anything like what Zawinul's music sounded originally - this album demands a completely different level of involvement, concentration and open-mindedness. Of course this is an immediate favorite as far as I am concerned, and as the year (dreadful 2020) nears its most welcome ending, this album jumps straight into the small heap of top albums of the year. It is a true revelation and I feel proud to be able to call the makers of this magnificent music my Friends. Thank you, as always!

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