Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cassandra Wilson at Kijow Centrum (13.04 Starzy i Mlodzi Festival)

While the festival Starzy i Mlodzi celebrated its 20th anniversary, Cassandra Wilson, undisputedly the biggest star of this year edition, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the "Blue Light 'Til Dawn".

You kinda know what to expect from a concert like this, there's not much element of surprise, but there's plenty of musical pleasures to enjoy. Most of the vocal stars wannabes think that the important thing is to hit the high notes with ease. Cassandra's voice is low and smooth, her singing seduces, dark and silky, focusing on a emotional depth of the song and not the effective but trivial ornaments.  And the less instruments are filling the background, the better her bluesy voice sounds.

I wouldn't mind in fact that the whole concert would be played by her with Brandon Ross (absolutely precious slide, rural blues sound on the acoustic guitar) and Lonnie Plaxico (noble and groovy). They way the three played the encore "Strange Fruit" was absolutely electrifying (although played acoustically). O the of the many highlights was as well the silky and seductive "You don't know what love is", for the most part a vocal - guitar duo.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

MMW + Nels Client at Manggha (12.03) / Krakow Concert Schedule 13-20.04

Strzy i Mlodzi Festivals fills up the weekend. But before we'll jump to the tonight's big event and tomorrow's finale (and a bonus round on tuesday) I feel a definite need to write up few sentences about yesterday. 
Medeski Martin & Wood rock. Actually that's an understatement. They groove, they're hip, funky. They're just so much fun to ride along. Chris Wood's is dancing on his toes with the bass and together with Billy Martin they just create an unstoppable groove machine. Medeski jumps with his fingers over the four keyboards around him like a posessed man, toying with registers, timbres. Retro? If we want to play word games it's post-retro. The trio is obviously fascinated with the sound of the 60' and 70' jazz-rock but they play fresh and vigorous. 
There are no composed forms in the traditional, song-like sense. We travel through abstract bridges but once we hit the groove, that's all there is. Groove and infinite layers of textures. Nels Cline adds a bit of gutiar whizz (very cool use of electronics, while the pyrotechnic solos were a had a bit of too much fusion inside for my taste). 
Fellow jazz journalists had a chance to spoke with John Medeski before the concert and he confirmed his polish origins, apparently he's not the only one in the band either - Billy Martin's mom was pole as well. Best polish jazz band in the world? One thing is for sure - they put the fun(k) back in jazz. It was a hell of a joyful ride.

John Medeski - hammond B3, klavinet, wurlitzer piano, moog
Chris Wood - double bass, bass guitar
Billy Martin - drums, percussion
Nels Cline - guitar, electronics

12.03 Manggha. Krakow. Starzy i Mlodzi Festival



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Peggy Lee Band - Invitation [Drip Audio]

The Peggy Lee Band:
Brad Turner - trumpet and flugelhorn
Jon Bentley - tenor saxophone
Jeremy Berkman - trombone
Peggy Lee - cello
Ron Samworth - electric, acoustic and 12-string guitars
Tony Wilson - electric guitar
Andre Lachance - electric bass
Dylan van der Schyff - drums and percussion


Drip Audio 2012


We've spent over a month in sunny Italy, we're going now to Vancouver but have no fear - the weather stays bright and warm and it's because The Peggy Lee Band invites us for a musical journey back to Africa.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 07-13.04

Quite a packed week ahead of as, including the Starzy i Mlodzi (Old and Young - Jazz in Krakow) festival with especially delicious looking weekend schedule.

08.04. The Sleeping Tree at Alchemia
(also 10.04 at Pracownia pod Baranami)
Sleeping Trio is Giulio Frausin with a collection of intimate acoustic songs. Happy and sad, touching and delicate. Music for a soothing evening.


09.04 Free Cooperation at Piec'ART
Free Cooperation was on the rather monotonous scene of 80s polish jazz sign of a new wave coming. Fresh, energetic, wild. Big band, with elements of free, fusion as well as folk or reggae. The group disbanded in 1988 after their second release and now it's back, with the veterans (Ziut Gralak, Yanina, Mateusz Pospieszalski, Alek Korecki, Bronek Duzy, Henryk Gembalski, Marcin Pospieszalski, Wojtek Czajkowski) will be joined by some yung cats. I've no idea how this many people will fit on Piec'ART stage but it will be most definitely interesting to see whether the group will rise triumphantly from the ashes.



10.04 Bartek Pieszka Quartet at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
I remember couple years back during Krakow Jazz Juniors, otherwise blant and uneventful, one duo caught my ear and it was Bartek Pieszka on vibraphone with Nikola Kolodziejczyk on piano. The music they played was melodic, rich and colorful. It had cinematic quality, it engaged listener in a telling of a mysterious story. 


10.04 Straight Prezidents Show - Gonzo and the Presidents / Straight Jack Cat at Alchemia
Two young bands that are just a presentation of a much wider phenomenon. Loud, noisy and dirty rock'n'roll is thriving in Poland and guitars are surfing musical waves.



12.04 Medeski, Marin & Wood with Nels Clien at Manghha (Starzy i Mlodzi Festival)
one of the baddest hippiest and grooviest trios around with Nels Cline, there will be a lot of fun no doubt, in the meantime I'm listening to the funky tunes the group played with John Scofield, music with hight toe-tapping factor.


13.04 Cassandra Wilson at Mangghs (Starzy i Mlodzi Festival).
true lady of jazz. No introduction is needed I think. Standards, blues, folk tunes - whatever it will be, Cassandra's voice makes it sound good.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Jazz from Italy part 6 : Rara Avis - Mutations / Multicellulars Mutations [dEN Records]

Rara Avis:
Stefano Ferrian - soprano/tenor saxophone
Ken Vandermark - baritone/tenor saxophone, Bb clarinet
Simone Quatrana - piano
Luca Pissavini - double bass
SEC_ - revox tape recorder, instant sound treatment

dEN Records 2013



Blog's followers should already be famiar with the the names of Stefano Ferria, Simone Quatrana and Luca Pissavini (all three are playing in Ferrian's Nutimbre, Luca Pissavini appears as well on the Nido Workshop cd). I believe Ken Vandermark needs no introduction whatsoever to anyone even vaguely interested in improvised music. The same can't be said about band's electronic tinker SEC_ was only introduced to me through this cd (an group's concert in Alchemia last year). 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Jazz from Italy part 5: N. Gerold, N. Guazzaloca, S. Giust - Transition [Setola di Maiale]

Nils Gerold - flute
Nicola Guazzaloca - piano
Stefano Giust - drums



Setola Di Maiale 2012






Another fine free improvised music trio from Bella Italia with Stefano Giust on drums (plays in a bit similar setting with MAGIMC), Nicola Guazzaloca on piano and Nils Gerold on flute. The last one is an instrument that rarely finds it's place in jazz music, amidst the muscular tones of saxophones its delicate tone can easily get lost. Obviously there are some luminous exceptions to that (Rahsaan Roland Kirk comes to mind immediately as well as Nicole Mitchell and, if bit less known, Mark Alban Lotz who appeared on the blog before).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 31.03-06.04

After a very busy week (Remont Pomp with Mike Majkowski and Mikolaj Trzaska was exhilirating!), the following one is a bit more relaxing, no jazz, no improv, but still there's some musical fun to get.

03.04 Voo Voo i Trebunie Tutki at Forty Kleparz
I actually already announced this concert, it had to be rescheduled so he we go again - two groups coming from completely different backgrouds will pay tribute to the words of wisdom from the polish priest and philosopher Jozef Tischner.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 24-30.03

A busy week ahead of us with a few difficult choices to make. Concerts that will make you laugh, chill out but a few challenging ones as well. Gather your strength. Spring has come.

25-26.03 Noontide at Piec'ART
A violin - bass - drums trio led by Piotr Poludniak, the bassplayer of PeGaPoFo quartet among others, featuring Bartosz Dworak on violin and Dominik Niewinski on drums. No samples available on the web for the pre-view but violin trios are unusual so this could get interesting.

26.03 Miazsz at Alchemia
Folk, comedy, reggae, rock, jazz - an infinite mix that's bound to make you smile. There few musical groups as honestly funny as Miąższ (no way I'll try to explaing how it's pronounced). The downside is half of the fun is hidden in the polish lyrics. But even english speakers only should enjoy the joyfuyll melodys and the abstract rhymes.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Jazz from Italy part 4: Hanuman - Soundhousing [Leo Records]

Hanuman Jazz Quartet:
Fabio Martini - Eb, Bb and alto clarinets
Marco Franceschetti - tenor and soprano saxophones
Stefano Solani - double bass
Danilo Sala - drums, objects


Leo Records 2014






Leo Records continues its dedication to the italian jazz, examples of which have appeared already on the blog on multiple occasions. Hanuman Jazz Quartet was founded in 2009, a piano-less quartet with a bit unusual clarinet - saxophone frontline which I believe is responsible for the sound faithful to the very core of |the Italian spirit - the love of melody.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 17-23.03

A diversified program for the next week with some modern jazz, free improv as well as rock and electronica. Choose as you like.

17-18.03 Anna Webber Percussive Mechanics at Piec'ART
Canadian flutist, sax player and composer Anna Webber has played with the likes of John Hollenbeck, Jason Moran or Tony Malaby. "Percussive Mechanics" is a project that outlines a complex structures and allows for a lot of playfulness with a rich instrumentation of two drum sets, bass, marimba, piano and two reeds (or reed and flute) on the frontline.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Jazz from Italy part 3 - Gianni Mimmo & Daniel Levin [Amirani Records]

Gianni Mimmo - soprano saxophone
Daniel Levin - cello


co-produced by Amirani Records and Teriayki Records 2012





There are many ways to look at improvisation and many metaphorical ways to describe it. Like the similarities it presents to the art of pottery. Allow me to cite Bill Shoemaker's liner notes to the cd by Carnival Skin*:  "Artists who work with viscous materials like clay and grass are acutely aware of turbulence and how it may turn a potentially bold form into a worthless heap. They push the material right up to the line, allowing a smoothly flowing centrifugal force to do its thing without compromising the integrity of the material".

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 10-16.03

There's no shortage of good music coming in next week. Below a couple of suggesions to spend your evenings.

10.03 Jam Session at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
The monday session with Bartek Prucnal, Kuba Pluzek, Alan Wykpisz and Patryk Dobosz - alle well known to Krakow's jazz live music audience.

11.03 Dagadana at Piekny Pies
Dagadana is one of the most inspiring groups in the recent years to reinvent folk music. A polish-ucraine collaboration. Indie, electronica, pop, jazz and folk music all find their way into this duo's music which remains refinded and precious.



Friday, March 7, 2014

New Jazz from Italy part 2 - The Star Pillow [Setola Di Maiale]

The Star Pillow - The Beautiful Questions

Paolo Monti - electric guitars and electronics
Federico Gerini - acoustic grand piano


Setola Di Maiale / Taverna Records 2013





The Star Pillow is an example of how diverse improvised music can be. When one hears the term it usually brings to mind some kind of frenetic activity, with whole lot of going on in all the directions, fast lines, sudden changes, mind-boggling cascades of notes, emotional outbursts of expression. "The Beautiful Questions" are in many ways the opposite of all the above.

Three long improvisations are minimalist, filled with plenty of space, repetition. Patiently weaving the notes together, with subtle changes in the infinite loops. Spacious, meditative, peaceful quite hypnotic and charming. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Jazz from Italy part 1 - MAGIMC [Amirani Records]

I've dedicated recently a few posts to a new jazz music coming our way from Russia, thanks to the continuous dedication and commitment to great music presented by Leo Feign. 
Over the next few posts I'd like to present a some releases that I believe provide an insight into Italian free jazz/improvisation scene, whose input into the European free-jazz community is often overlooked. It might be argued that the romantic tradition of opera and belcanto provide a much better environment for lyrical, mainstream jazz. 
Think on other hand of Italian Instabile Orchestra or the entire catalogues of Soul Note or Black Lion labels. There's a lot of creative buzz going on in Italy these days, Leo Records is again one of the accomplices, but there are others as well. 

You can consult some previous posts presentind records released by Stefano Ferian's dEN label (Nido WorkshopClaudio Guida & Marcello Testa or Ferrian's Nutimbre), two rock-jazz oriented trios presented by Leo (Swedish Mobilia and Telegraph) and Andrea Bolzoni & Daniele Frati duo released by Setola di Maiale. All three of the lables mentioned above will appear in the cycle but let's start with a new one - Amiriani records directed by the saxophonist Gianni Mimmo.


MAGIMC - Polishing The Mirror

Edoardo Marraffa - tenor sax, sopranino sax
Thollem McDonas - piano
Stefano Giust - drums, cymbals, objects

Amirani Records 2012




Amiriani records is directed by Gianni Mimmo and claims one of it it's artistic goals to create projects that will cross national and artistic boundaries. MAGICMC is a fine example, a trio featuring italian sax player Edoardo Marraffa and the drummer Stefano Giust alongside american pianist Thollem McDonas, for a series of spirited improvisations.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 03-09.03

You can lay low the first few days and gather your strengths because the latter half of the week is pretty much a concert mini-marathon with a two difficult choices to be made for the days 05 and 09.

05.03 Low Roar and JOGA at Alchemia
For something completely different. Low Roar is a solo project by Ryan Karazij, an American living in Iceland, the music is hypnotic, touching and very personal. Emotional but never oversweet.

Low Roar will be supported by Joga, a polish duet, inspired by the scandinavian, adding a soulful, personal touch to it.