Mateusz Walerian - alto sax
Sławomir Janicki - double bass
Qba Janicki - drums and percussion, no valve trumpet
Bartlomiej Chmara - guitar
Alchemia, Kraków; 11.02.2011
I've been concert hungry for a while and this concert I was looking forward to. Qba (Kuba) Janicki made a great impression playing with Rafal Mazur Electro-Acoustic Quartet, Slawomir Janicki is a strong presence of Bydgoszcz and Tri-city scene since the yass revolution. Mateusz and Bartlomiej I did not know before.
The concert was dedicated to Andrzej Przybielski who passed away two days before and it started with an array of small bells, introducing the meditative atmosphere, joined by drones and ambient, blurried background noises by guitar, and lots of small repetitions by sax and bass. Long notes, slow lines, somehow esoteric, and the sonic palette is augmented with the brass sound, reinforcing the Przybielski reference. The concert is divided into two extended improvisations, changing often between otherwordly mood and energetic drive.
Janicki is towering over the group, both with his huge posture behing the double bass and musical experience, his tone is deep, raw, his playing powerfull, whether it's a simple repetitive three-notes base or speedy free walking. His solo, played with both hands clapping all over the strings as much as on the body of the instrument, somehow reminded me of the passion of flamenco music, probably the most impressive singular statement of the night. Qba Janicki has a very rebelious look and attitude, his playing subtle and impressionistic during the slower parts, but his direct, energetic and punk-driven beats moves the group through most captivating ensemble playing of the night. Mateusz Walerian is a new name for me, his tone is light and sweet, his playing warm, very melodic, while not being afraid of some tone and timbre explorations. Fresh and inspiring is the contrast between the free-jazz boiling section behind him and his cool, thoughtfull lines and very jazz phraseology, moving from blues, bebop, free-bop up to some not too extreme free improv. Bartlomiej Chmara's presence is the most problematic, his playing, mostly experimental, provides interesting ambient textures to more pensive moments, his full of noise effects solo intriguing, yet the electronic effects often disturb the cohesity of the ensemble's sound. I'm surprised myself to say this but I'd like less experimental attitude, more punk-rock kick with the guitar.
Overall, really good performance, and very promising talents, which makes me proud of young polish improvising scene, and I hope to hear more from these musicians soon.