Monday, May 17, 2021

Piotr Damasiewicz Into The Roots - Śpiwle (2020)

Piotr Damasiewicz Into The Roots

Piotr Damasiewicz - trumpet, harmonium, percussion
Zbigniew Kozera - bass, drums
Paweł Szpura - drums
Jan Ryt - bag pipe, tin whistle


L.A.S. 002

By Adam Baruch

This is an album by Polish Jazz trumpeter/composer Piotr Damasiewicz recorded in a trio format with bassist Zbigniew Kozera and drummer Paweł Szpura. Bagpipe player Jan Ryt guests on one track. The album presents six original compositions, all by Damasiewicz. The music was recorded live in a remote village in Polish Beskid Mountains, but the sound is wonderfully clear and authentic. There is some confusion between the running order of the tunes on the album’s artwork, but this is a minor issue.

Damasiewicz managed to establish a position for himself on the local scene as one of the leading Improvised Music / Free Jazz activists and recorded several important albums over time, which for me personally are quite a mixed bag. However, this album immediately proved to be my favorite Damasiewicz album so far. Perhaps the immediacy and intimacy of this recording are more appealing to me than his large ensemble works and other recordings, where he probably tried to say too much.

The album’s title is definitely very appropriate as far as this music is concerned, as it really goes back to the roots. The question which roots is not really relevant, as this music goes back to perhaps the very deepest roots of music itself, with primitive, repetitive and enthralling rhythmic patterns, which were best preserved in African music and from there arrived into Jazz. Perhaps there are also Polish roots here, inspired by the mountains and Folklore traditions surrounding this recording. Damasiewicz manages to incorporate all these elements into highly effective and mesmerizing, hypnotizing music. His trumpet improvisations on top of the steady rhythmic patterns sound more honest, revealing and moving than ever before, at least for me.

The music is somewhat reminiscent to the early attempts to create Jazz-World Fusion by the great pioneers of Jazz, obviously sound-wise closest to the recordings by Don Cherry. By following that path Damasiewicz finds the best of himself in the minimalist trio setting, with his trumpet playing being the clear focus of the entire journey. Strangely, or perhaps not, this is also the most coherent and melodic album he recorded so far, perhaps unintentionally, but undoubtedly highly effective.

Overall this is a wonderful album from start to finish, accessible to a much wider audience than earlier albums by Damasiewicz, and despite its seeming simplicity, his most effective contact with his listeners ever. Beautiful and challenging don’t have to be a contrasting, as this album clearly shows. This music makes you want to dance! Well done!

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