Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Wayne Shorter Quartet / Maciej Obara Quartet / Piotr Wojtasik Quartet at Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 2013 (18.07)

The most expected day of the festival (at least by me).
Wayne Shorter is one of the last true giants of jazz music, the member of the legendary second edition of Miles Davis Quintet, on his own leader of a few milestone Blue Note sessions. Moreover his recent releases prove that musical force is still strong inside him. The acoustic quartet with Danilo Perez, John Patittucci and Brian Blade moves freely between the subtle and explosive, each change done with balanced grace and impeccable sense of direction and dramatic narration.
Shorter with just a few notes can ignite the music more or change its direction. The musical ideas flow uninhibited, with just a hints of written melodies. Shorter's quartet play along the Miles Davis vision for his last acoustic group – all the musicians are involved in a musical stream, where just a few notes can signal a dramatic change of direction. I'd like to single out Bian Blade on drums for the incessant drive and mastefull dynamic control (joyfull swinging on toms, hard-hitting on the plates), pure musical joy.

Focus on structure, absolute freedom in expression. Shorter and his company seem to be on of the last jazz greats, one of the few to still hold the key to the musical Truth.

It was really unfair to any musician to have to follow that performance, even more so if if it would be an othr acoustic jazz quartet with saxophone. Yet Maciej Obara International Quartet did an extremely good job under the circumstances. Fluent and rapid saxophone lines, harmonic sensibility of Dominik Wania on piano and furious drive provided by Gard Nilssen and Ole Morten Vagan. 
Group's music shows a profound knowledge of european music as well as inclinations toward free jazz, in the Komeda tradition. While most of the focus was upon the high-energy levels, I felt, possible because it brought the right balance to the performance, the quartet really excelled in the most lyrical, intimate moments.
Obara's Quartet concert was, during the Warsaw festival, yet another look into the future of polish jazz and that future looks very bright to me. The group's deserves some closer attention, possibly without having Wayne Shorter's tenor stuck in mind's ear.

The last concert of the evening was Piotr Wojtasik Quartet, a group featuring the tumpet – sax frontline and no piano. Joyfull jazz in a modern, New York vein, with some real sparks flying especially during the unisono lines, supported by the deep bassnotes by Michal Baranski and slightly tribal drumming by John Betsch. Wojtasik found a great partner in Viktor Toth – a dynamic saxophone player whose equally capable of boppin' a swift melodic line as well as wild freejazz playing.
Despite the band's tunes usually keeping the conservative formula of theme-solos-theme, the rhythmic tunes, joyfull sound and nicely free-bopping improvisations made Wojtasik's Quartet a fitting closure to the night.

Wayne Shorter Quartet
Wayner Shortet - tenor sax, soprano sax
Danilo Perez - piano
John Pattitucci - double bass
Brian Blade - drums

Maciej Obara International Quartet
Maciej Obara - alto sax
Dominik Wania - piano
Gard Nilssen - double bass
Ole Morten Vagan - drums

Piotr Wojtasik Quartet
Piotr Wojtasik - trumpet
Viktor Toth - alto sax
Michal Baranski - double bass
John Betsch - drums

Soho Factory. Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 2013. 18.07

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