Thursday, May 27, 2021

Marek Konarski - Konarski & Folks (2021)

Marek Konarski

Marek Konarski - tenor saxophone
Artur Tuźnik - piano
Damian Kostka - double bass
Kuba Gudz - drums
Ania Rybacka - vocal (8)

Konarski & Folks


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album as a leader by Polish Jazz saxophonist / composer Marek Konarski, recorded in a quartet setting with pianist Artur Tuźnik, bassist Damian Kostka and drummer Kuba Gudz. Vocalist Ania Rybacka guests on one track. The album presents nine tracks, seven of which are original compositions by Konarski and two are his arrangements of Polish Folk songs.

Konarski spent several years studying and playing in Denmark and Finland and upon his return to Poland he formed this quartet with musicians he met over the years, all of which are by now experienced representatives of the young Polish Jazz scene.

The music is all well within the strict Jazz mainstream idiom, with some Folkloristic influences. As expected, it is highly melodic and offers beautiful themes, which ideally suit Konarski’s saxophone performances, which feature a wonderful sweet, soulful tone. The rhythm section supports the leader superbly, with Tuźnik excellent piano playing supplying the continuity and flow that keeps the music tightly together.

I find Konarski’s treatment of the Polish Folklore motives rather dated, to be honest, somewhat similar to what Zbigniew Namysłowski already perfected over five decades earlier, and many other Polish Jazz musicians handled way more successfully and innovatively over the, but of course it still has a lot of charm.

Overall this is a very pleasant and wonderfully performed Jazz album, with excellent playing by all the participants and a wide appeal to Jazz listeners across the entire range of the genre. It firmly proves the strength of the local scene and is definitely worth to be explored. 

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