Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vth Tzadik Poznan Festival day 3 - Meadow Quartet / Waclaw Zimpel-Perry Robinson Quartet

1. Meadow Quartet

Meadow Quartet is young polish group from Gdansk, recently awarded in the acclaimed Polish Radio's Folk Festival - New Tradition. The group explores the worlds of jewish and chamber music.
Mournfull and mysterious moods. Spiced with spontaneity of balkan rhythms, elegancy of a parisian tango, raw passion of a gypsy music. Carefully narrated stories as their music has this cinematic feeling to it (can't help but to think of Yann Tiersenn). Following the steps of famed Cracow Klezmer Band that has several releases on Tzadik label. And that could be very well the most negative comment about this group - it's been done before them, probably better. On the other hand - it shouldn't really stop you from enjoying the music.

Some nice, passionate solos (my special appreciation for Piotr Skowronki on accordion) added even more to the sense of dramaturgy . Not exactly my cup of tea but still a very convincing statement about the folk tradition, if not particularly original.

I invite you to check the bands website where you can find some good-quality samples of their music.

Meadow Quartet:
Marcin Malinowski - clarinet
Michal Piwowarczyk - viola
Piotr Skowronski - accordion
Jaroslaw Stokowski - bass

Courtyard of the Museom of the Archeology. Poznan. 24.07.2011

2. Waclaw Zimpel - Perry Robinson Quartet

Perry Robinson. Photo by Pawel Owczarczyk 
A special project, a band created on the occasion of the festival and a special program - music of the Jews from Yemen. Reconstruction from archival notations of tunes 5000 years old.

Anyone who saw Zerang on stage, a man of a respectable stature, knows he can seem to float over the ground when he starts playing. Light and finesse, so natural, like a heart-beat, and so agile in all kinds of ethnic variety of hypnotic rhythms.
Raphael Roginski's style of guitar playing is unique, his chords providing a rich texture and rhythmic support but it's his sound, so much his own that impacts any group he plays in.
And finally Zimpel and Robinson on the front-line, exchanging passionate if gentle solos, spiralling lines back and forth. Zimpel's becoming a master on his own, Robinson, an elder wiseman among the young ones patiently speaking his words.
Yet the music is so much more than just a sum of descriptable ingredients. Sense of communication, sense of unity and finally sense of complete alienation from the temporal reality - which makes the music thousands years old feel completely universal, above the time reality, so much in-the-moment.
Music that was pure and simple, music that brought peace to the mind and soothed the soul.

For those who hadn't had the chance to be there (as I understand truly how insufficient the above attempt at description is) there's a word of consolation: the concert was registered for a planned release on Multikulti (a selection from the concert and a studio session - a good sign since a couple of missed cues on the theme execution were of no real importance during the concert and could prove much more damaging on the cd).

Waclaw Zimpel - clarinet, tarogato, alto clarinet, fujara
Perry Robinson - clarinet, whistle,
Raphael Roginski - guitar
Michael Zerang - drums, darabuka, frame drum

Courtyard of the Museom of the Archeology. Poznan. 24.07.2011

ps. Since most of the musicians taking part in the festival were present in Poznan for a couple of days before the festival started each night, at least since Wednesday, was an occasion for a jam-session with local musicians (Hera Quartet) joining forces with the visiting Klaus Kugel, Bobby Few, Perry Robinson, Michael Zerang and Raphael Roginski. Some very exciting music played on those long nights (as I was leaving Dragon klub at 3:00 am so I could catch the train back to Krakow I had a strong feeling that the night there was not over). On that note, Perry Robinson might be a 'elder wiseman' of the lot but he can still kick some ... in the jams!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vth Tzadik Poznan Festival day 2 - Daktari / Jewish Surf

The 2nd day of the Tzadik Poznań Festival

1. Daktari

A young band that could easily fit into the New York 90's downtown scene and record for Knitting Factory label. With tight rock rhythms, heavy bass riffs and dynamic melodies. Kind of a new Hasidic New Wave yet more rock oriented and updated by the influences of the modern indie and alternative rock scene.
Good energy level and fine musicianship (great melodic interplay between trumpet and sax; some noisy guitar solos with a nice experimental edge) yet I felt dissapointed when each time they really got the things going heavy instead of switching into the hypnotic full-crazy mode they would stop abruptly in the middle of the line. I guess the strategy is to mantain the compact rock-song form but I'd like them to get loose and play possible longer takes than more tracks (especially since the short solos by Olgierd Dokalski hinted at something more extended and exciting). A solid concert though I felt that there's was potential for more.

Daktari :
Olgierd Dokalski - trumpet
Mateusz Franczak - tenor saxophone
Miron Grzegorkiewicz - guitar
Maciej Szczepanski - bass guitar
Robert Alabrudzinski - drums

Klub Meskalina. Poznan. 23.07.2011

2. Żydowski Surf (Jewish Surf)

Raphael Roginski, already the leader of Shofar (with Trzaska and Moretti on drums) and Cukunft, created this band to play 'jewish surf religious music' and that promises fun.
And fun it is indeed as he brings to this quartet Macio Moretti and Bartlomiej Tycinski from the absolutely brilliant and absolutely non-serious Mitch & Mitch group, while Ola Rzepka (playng with The Complainer & The Complainers among others) provides some steady rock beat.
To those who know the polish scene it's enough to say : immagine mixing together the Mitch & Mitch (fun and retro feeling mixed with joyfull punk attitude) and Shofar (Raphael Roginski's guitar is unmistakable). Otherwise I'll try to put it like this: if Beach Boys were a guitar group born in a punk era and playing klezmer music they might have sounded like this quartet. Or maybe the unfortunately short clip below will render a slight idea of how much fun this concert was.

Rapahel Roginski - guitar
Bartlomiej Tycinski - guitar
Macio Moretti - bass guitar
Ola Rzepka - drums

Klub Meskalina. Poznan. 23.07.2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vth Tzadik Poznan Festival day 1 - Undivided with Perry Robinson / Mikolaj Trzaska

As the weekend seems now to be long gone I'll try to remember and summarize quickly in the next few posts the musical events of the Vth Tzadik Poznan Festival. Many thanks to Tomasz Konwent and Wawrzyn Makina from Multikulti and all the others whose hard work and dedication made this festival possible.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tzadik Poznań Festival starts tomorrow :)

While some very interesting cds are in line for a review the next few posts will be dedicated to Vth Tzadik Poznań Festival - a very interesting lineup will be present so if you are nearby consider visiting Poznań for those couple of days - it will be great I'm sure of it :) .

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Billy Bang's Survival Ensemble - Black Man's Blues / New York Collage [NoBusiness]

Black Man's Blues:
Billy Bang - violin, poetry, bells, shaker, percussion
Bilal Abdur Rahman - tenor and soprano sax, bull horn, percussion
William Parker - bass
Rashid Bakr - drums

Recorded 29th May 1977 at a Day in Solidarity with Soweto. Released for the first time.

New York Collage:
all of the above and
Henry Warner - alto sax, bells, shaker, percussion
Khuwana Fuller - conga

Recorded at Columbia University Radio WKCR 89.9FM at 16th May 1978. Released originally on Anima Records in 1978.

A double treat from NoBusiness Records! An uncovered treasure that puts some light on the few rather obscure chapters of  the loft jazz era, combining new material and a re-issue of a lost gem of the New York avantgarde jazz scene in what would, unfortunately, become a post-mortem tribute to Billy Bang who died on April 11 this year, stripped of the chance to see this release being finished.

As much as these 2 cds (or lps)' serve as a tribute and an important document of the freejazz history, the music itself, as played originally in 1977 and 1978, transcended the art reality, was a gesture of a social protest, a political demonstration, an ideology manifest - to start with the very name of the band - Survival.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekend off, Festivals coming!

I'm off for the weekend (all my best wishes to the about-to-be married couple! :) )  So the next review will appear probably early next week but in the meantime I just want to draw some attention to three big festivals that will take place soon and you might want to consider visiting Poland in those days - feel invited.

1. Poznań Tzadik Festival

22-24.07 (right next weekend) with Perry Robinson, Michael Zerang, Bobby Few, Waclaw Zimpel, Mikolaj Trzaska, Raphael Roginski and others exploring the possibilities of jazz and jewish heritage fusion.

More info to be found here:

2. Krakow Jazz Autumn

20.09   - 28.11
Overthrowing huge difficulties and with a thinner schedule than in the last years yet there will be 6th edition of the festival - one of the most important events of this kind in the Europe. Just 8 concerts planned (so far) but with some incredible intriguing groups in there.

More info to be found here : (we will be working also on  english version of the site)

3. Jazz Autumn in Bielsko-Biala

With the artistic direction by Tomasz Stanko and support by the ECM label this festival is able to invite the biggest names to play on stage, and this year's program is absolutely impressive - Cecil Taylor with Tony Oxley (!!!), Pharaoh Sanders, Craig Taborn, Tim Berne...

Details to be found here:

Hope to see you on those occassions! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tfaruk Love Communication [Multikulti]

Tomasz Ballaun - percussion, electronics
Michał Fetler - saxophones
Piotr Mełech - bass clarinet
Krzysztof Kaliski - bass guitar
Daniel Karpiński - drums

Kuba Jankowiak - trumpet
Franiu Frank - rhodes, rattle
Tymon Tymański - bass guitar (only on "Dla Taty")
Wojtek Mazolewski - bass guitar (only on "Miłość zwycięża kiełbasę")

Multikulti 2011

Polish listener will smile just from seeing the name of this band ("Tfaruk" being as incorrect as possible way of spelling "cottage cheese") and I guess this form of anarchic absurd humour (that shows up also in the titles) is easily associated with the yass scene - polish jazz revolution movement of the 90's. Both Tomasz Ballau, the founder of the band, and one of the guests - Tymon Tymanski are strongly connected with yass movement indeed (Tymon being in fact its spiritus movens). Still there's a lot of music fun for non-polish listeners here too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Giovanni Francesca, Aldo Galasso, Dario Miranda - Telegraph [Leo]

Giovanni Francesca - guitar, live electronics
Aldo Galasso - drums, percussion
Dario Miranda - bass, el. bass, shruti box, kalimba, live electronics

Leo Records 2011

Leo Feign continues his glorious campaing of bringing forward  new names and fresh music. I don't really know if this cd marks the debut by the trio (as it is, in fact, a fruit of a 10 years of ongoing collaboration) I've found only a scarce info on any of the musicians playing and the most relevant could be the fact that they've released a cd on italian Splasc(h) label as the Koan Quartet back in 2006  (with the addition of Gianluca Grasso on keyboards). As a result of this lack of information, the cd comes as a surprise, but also continues to do so with each next track - being one of the most ecclectic and varied cds I've listened to recently.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rob Wagner, Hamid Drake, Nobu Ozaki - Trio [Valid Records]

Rob Wagner - clarinet, tenor & soprano saxophone
Hamid Drake - drum kit & frame drum
Nobu Ozaki - bass

Valid Records 2007

It's almost too easy to focus on Chicago and New York when thinking about jazz music "made in USA". In which case this album serves as a good reminder of a place called New Orleans, so crucial to the jazz history, so painfully experienced in the last years. Recorded December 2005, shortly after the Katrina,  this album's story is much more about the place and the people who create it than your regular comfy studio session.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stefano Pastor / Ari Poutiainen - North South Dial [SLAM]

Stefan Pastor - violin, synthesizer
Ari Poutiainen - violin

SLAM 2011

A very rare instrument in jazz (sligthly less so in free improvised music) is here presented in a duo version to bring into focus its potential. I really can't think of any other violin duo release (if you know any, put that in the comments) so this one is really unique for me in a way it explores unchartered territories.
The range of tones produced is awe-inspiring on its own. Not only we can find the the classical round tone violin is known for in concert-halls, or the gypsy-like raw passion of a fast glissando. Violin here can sound like a saxophone, shakahuchi, zither, bringing to the pool not only the beauty of its singing features but also ugly and frightening details of the scraping sounds.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ivo Perelman Quartet - The Hour of the Star [Leo]

Ivo Perelman - tenor sax
Matthew Shipp - piano
Joe Morris - double bass
Gerald Cleaver - drums

Leo Records 2011

While I've been recently introduced to some very intriguing new names and it proves how active and vivid is the modern improvised scene, it's the sustained level of excellency that we are able to witness release after a release (or, if we're partcularly lucky, concert after concert) that gives this kind of music its artistic validity. And that's the case of Ivo Perelman and his companions here.
All those musicians have enjoed playing with one another in different constellations (Shipp and Perelman duo, Morris plays bass with Shipp's trio, Cleaver recorded extensively with Shipp's Quartet) yet this cd records their first meeting as a quartet together.

Monday, July 4, 2011

3rd Ear - Experimental Scene to announce polish presidency in EU - Fred Firth, Paristetris, The Ex & Ken Vandermark and others in Warsaw

On 1. of July Poland started its presidency in Eropean Union - which was celebrated with various events across the country, including performances by Kenny G, Michael Bolton, Angie Stone or Tricky. "Trzecie Ucho" ("3rd Ear") was one of those events and, while I'm not really sure what's the connection between the polish presidency and experimental or alternative music scene, I'm very gratefull to whoever grabbed the opportunity to reach for the kind of fundings necessary to create an event like this. Because of the abbundancy of the performances I'll try to just briefly summarize the main projects of the evening that began in the Copernicus Science Centre and finished in the vast post-industrial space of the Warsaw's Heat Plant.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ksawery Wójciński / Klaus Kugel / Paweł Postaremczak Trio at Bomba (30.06)

photo from the concert in Performer club at
 Żyrardów (1.07) by Pawel Owczarczyk
Bomba continues it glorious quest in giving young musicians an opportunity and space to play in front of the Krakow's audience - and no matter how unconventional and provisory this space is, this continous effort deserves a big round of applause.
Both Ksawery Wojcinski and Pawel Postareczak are playing in the Hera quartet and, stunned with Waclaw Zimpel's leadership, I feel I underestimated their contributions to the groups first release (self-titled "Hera" cd) while both players impressed me immensely on stage during the Lublin Jazz Festival, especially Ksawery Wojcinski who became my personal hero of the day. Klaus Kugel, I can only guess got introduced to them thanks to his playing with Waclaw Zimpel's Undivided, played already with Ksawery on a great "Nuntium" cd released this year by Multikulti (I plan to get back to write more about it soon).
The trio starts with a slow, pensieve tune, slowly exploring its melodical variations, getting more intense, spiritual, building the dramatic tension with low vibrating cries of the tenor, tearing the bass strings and storming through the drum kit, full of passion, a musical battle or exorcism that suddenly ends with a gentle coda.
Kugel's style of playing is very unique in a way he manages to balance a very powerfull and heavy attack on the kit with melodic sensibility and attention to details. He's like the weather shaman, quite capable of bringing a cooling breeze or a gentle rain but thriving bringing down a furious storm & thunders, his ability to sustain those culminations is uncanny.  Pawel Postaremczak instruments choice indicates Coltrane as a strong influence and his playing strives for emotional intensity that characterized Trane but he chooses rather to stay in the middle register of the horn, digging deep into the melodic possibilites of the theme rather than expanding the harmony through running scales, and when goes into the altissimo it makes it even more dramatic and powerfull.
The second piece starts with a delicate legato solo on the bass, that creates a stable motiv with the high notes, accented subtly by the mallets, bells and bowed plates, creating an oniric atmosphere to build on. To uplift the mood, stretch the dynamics, create a dramatic tension. Ksawery, who only consolidates the impression he made in Lublin, plays a great solo, rhythmically driven, plucking energetically the strings while mantaining the both the groove and the melody, moving his body unconsciously and it's absolutely inspiring to see how completely immersed in the moment he is, how committed he is to the music - his passion is almost palpable and his energy contagious. His deep woody tone and his earthy rhythm and energy-oriented playing reminds of William Parker and of Joe Fonda.  After Wojcinski's solo the band continous to create another story - with Postaremczak taking on the soprano, adding a brighter tone and more knotty lines while mantaining the energy level. The last piece is more peacefull, starts like a meditative chant, slowly burning inside.
A great concert and the clear passion and fire makes up for the audio flaws (with a space this little it was easy to predict that Kugel's drumming may be overpowering every now and then). The performance was registered with mobile recorders and I hope the tour they're playing the next few days will give enough high quality material (as far as the audio goes, I don't have any doubts about the music's quality) to create their debut cd.

Ksawery Wojcinski - double bass
Klaus Kugel - drums and percussion
Pawel Postaremczak - tenor and soprano saxophone

klub Bomba. Krakow. 30.06.2011