Sunday, April 29, 2012

Maciej Fortuna Trio at Lizard King / Paweł Postaremczak & Robert Kusiołek at Bomba (24.04)

As piano trio is probably the most common instrumental line-up in jazz, sax trio being it's freer equivalent, it's dissapointing there are so few trumpet trios - as it seemingly should be a natural thing to do. Rare as they are, they often bring some great music which is why I was so curious about Maciej Fortuna's concert - part of the Starzy i Mlodzi Festival. The trio displays a nice chemistry. The playing is definitely on the main side of the stream, yet dense, fit and far from any cliche'. The compositions are melodic, the solos are fun and pleasure (Piotr Lemanczyk steals the show with his light and gracefull walkings) and some passages suggest also more open, sonorus forms of exploration.    Groove, swing, melody - as jazz and as cool as can be. If you're looking for a trumpet trio and that's easily enjoyable new cd "Solar Ring" by the trio could easily satisfy your needs.
(The only thing I'm trying to forget is 100000th version of "Autumn Leaves" they played as the encore, why not stick to the originals? Maciej and Piotr's compositions were really good)

I got late to Bomba but I still got abouth 30 minutes part of the continous over 1 hour long duo's performance. Paweł Postaremczak appears quite often on the blog and his prowess should be known to any fan of adventurous jazz thanks to Hera's albums. It was Robert Kusiołek's playing who intrigued me the most, since it was one of the firts times I got to see him live, and the pairing of sax and accordion seemed to me very risky to begin with. Robert brings space, Paweł brings direction, together they create a rich and varied landscape of sounds, a musical story, narration without words, combining two distant sonic worlds - accordion bringing the echoes of tango, french chanson, eastern european folk, film noir music while the saxophone brings to the mix the scene the tradition of John Coltrane, but also the serial music by likes of Philip Glass and Steve Reich. In fact, inspired by accordion's sound Paweł creates some of the most classically beautiful arco lines I evere heard him did. Immaginative, sensible and adventurous minds.



Maciej Fortuna - trumpet
Piotr Lemanczyk - double bass
Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums

Lizard King. Krakow. 24.04.2012

Pawel Postaremczak - tenor saxophone
Robert Kusiolek - bandoneon

Bomba. Krakow. 24.04.2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jazz Alchemist Radio with Joachim, Miąższ, Piotr, Pink Freud

cover of Joachim Mencel's Trio "Interludium"
As promised the playlist  goes back to the concerts from the last week and forecasts some of the events of this one. Joachim Mencel played last tuesday (see the post), Miąższ played a week ago (polish readers can look for the review on, all the others can get back to this old post about the group), Pink Freud is playing this wednesday while Piotr Orzechowski can be heard the day after (check the previous post for more info about this week concerts). Plus we get two birthdays - true giants of jazz - Joe Henderson and Ella Fitzgerald - hope you'll enjoy the music.

1. Piotr Orzechowski - Scherzo VIII
2. Joachim Mencel Trio - Mystic Call
3. Miąższ - Łodondi
4. Pink Freud - Police Jazz
5. Joachim Mencel - Willem von Hombracht - Harry Tanschek - Tu i Teraz (Here and Now)
6. Joachim Mencel Trio - Overstep
7. Piotr Orzechowski - Prelude a
8. Miąższ - Awangardowa Suszarka
9. Miąższ - Z Wuja Flak
10. Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass - I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues (Ella's birthday on 25.04)
11. Pink Freud - Horse and Power
12. Joe Henderson - A Shade of Jade (Joe's birthday on 26.04)
13. Piotr Orzechowski - Scherzo V
14. Joachim Mencel Trio - Interludium I
15. Piotr Orzechowski - Scherzo III
16. Pink Freud - Punk Freud

Concerts, concerts, concerts! and radio too.

Ok, here comes another busy week of various concerts and at 8 pm sharp (CET) on we'll try to talk more about what's happened last week and what's going to happen in the next few days.

Here are my concert suggestion for Krakow

Tuesday. That's a tough one, really difficult choice, on one hand you got the sax - accordion duo of Paweł Postaremczak and Robert Kusiołek in Bomba (Plac Szczepański). More on the free side and
also free entrance (could be a convinving argument).

On the other hand the second concert of Starzy i Młodzi Festival which sounds very promising - a trumpet trio (I LOVE trumpet trios) led by a young polish player Maciej Fortuna. Lizard King club (Tomasza street). Actually both places are quite close to each other so there's a chance to catch a glimpse of both events.

Wednesday. Polish group Pink Freud's release concert for their new album. The teaser I will play on Monday should interest you a lot. Good energy, solid groove and some crazy improvisations are to be expected. (below a fragment from the previous cd). Also at Lizard King.

Thursday. Back to Starzy i Mlodzi Festival. Double-header at Manghha Museum with Piotr Orzechowski solo (I have written about him recently a couple of times and I have a feeling his name will appear quite often on the blog from now on - one of the most promising piano talents to be found). After that a polish - czech sextet with David Dorouzka. (I know I already put this video and it's not solo, and there are others available, but I just love this one)

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Joachim Mencel / Willem von Hombracht / Harry Tanschek - Krakovians at Krakow (17.04)

Joachim Mencel is a Krakow based pianists, I remember couple years back he had a very busy concert schedule, fantastic trio but also duo concerts with DJ Krime, I used to get to see him play at least once a month. His music has its melodic charm, his playing was always brilliant while his presence on stage filled the air with passion and positive vibe as he lived and played the music with the entire body, standing, jumping, dancing by the piano (or fender). I consider his cd from the era "Interludium" a true masterpiece (unfortunately it is out of print). Unfortunately, after the death of his bass player, his concerts became rare thing. Which is another reason why I waited so impatiently for this concert.

Joachim Mencel
The trio with Willem von Hombracht and Harry Tanschek was born during summer jazz workshops in Krakow and resulted in cd "Krakovians" (registered 2004, released 2007 by Deo Recordings). The three players clearly share a passion for teaching music and enjoy playing together a lot. Both players in the rhythm section share a handfull of solo spots (Harry Tanschek stole the show with salsa/carribbean percussion fiesta in one piece). However, while they're prove to be very capable musicians, what stands between them and your average solid jazz piano trio is Joachim Mencel and this is is most evident when they're playing his compositions - that's when there's true fire and passion, when Joachim makes his most stunning solo statements, when it seems they can go any direction and that's also the material that pushes the rhythm section beyond the comfort zone, lights up the creative spark and provokes most adventurous passages. Mencel's compositions share unique quality, with clear vocal line, with melody that anchors the piece while allowing for in depth harmonic reconfigurations (in fact "Tu i Teraz (Here and Now)" is also recorded by polish pop/jazz star Anna Maria Jopek). As for the piece from his "Interludium" cd "Ta Góra (That Mountain") - rich and complex, alternating between  furious and passionate flamenco-like motive and peaceful passages - I have heard it live at least 10 times, and it never failed to amaze me.

A fine concert to start Jazz Festival Starzy i Młodzi (hope to see you there next week for successive concerts). It was great to see Joachim on stage again after a while and I hope he'll play more frequently again (and maybe finally get to record his old "new" compositions which I record from the concerts).

(Joachim and his trio will be featured extensively on this monday's radio playlist)

Joachim Mencel - piano
Willem von Hombracht - double bass
Harry Tanschek - drums

Festiwal Starzy i Mlodzi czyli Jazz w Krakowie
Akademia Muzyczna. Kraków. 17.04.2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Concerts, concerts, concerts!!!

Instead of a new playlist tomorrow (the videos below should make up for it)) I'd like to recommend to you some concerts as the next two weeks in Krakow are literally stuffed with live events.

Starting today (Sunday) - at Manghha 7 pm a gospel choir Joyful Voice will celebrate it's 10th birthday. I had an honor to be a part of this group for a part of those 10 years and I'd like to invite you all tonight for the celebration.

here's a sample of how harmoniously joyful the voice can be.

Monday. Do you remember my post about the band Miąższ? It's one of the funniest, craziest groups I've ever heard and they're back in Krakow, now with a cd! Fun guaranteed if you decide to come to Hard Rock Cafe.

And they even have made a video ;)

Tuesday. As part of Starzy i Mlodzi czyli Jazz w Krakowie (Old and Young - jazz in Krakow Festival) one of my favourite piano players Joachim Mencel will play with his international trio. To this day I consider his cd "Interludium" a true masterpiece and one of the most important cds in the entire polish jazz history.

alternatively Konrad Geca returns with Muzykoterapia cycle in a new place Klub Dobre Bity (Jozefa 6 street) improvised, avant-guarde, experimental, DYI, electronics, improv music this week both wednesday and thursday.

Also on thursday another must see - Music of Jews from Yemen - quite an all-star qartet with Michael Zerang, Perry Robinson, Raphael Roginski and Waclaw Zimpel. Their concert at Poznan was utterly inspiring and I expect their performance at Cheder Cafe this week will be equally so.

Here's how they jammed afterhours :)

Plus a birthday concert for the Radio Frycz for those interested in local alternative rock scene in Kino Kijow Cafe. Hope it's not too much to handle. Be there!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jazz Alchemist radio re-run of 26.04

Have you listened live to the program on 26.04? It went through some technical issues so I re-did at home at here it is again for you to enjoy. We celebrate birthdays of Cecily Taylor, Ben Webster, Sarah Vaughan, Frank Gratkowski plus we listen to excerpts from some two recently reviewed albums.

1. Ben Webster - Ill Wind
2. Lysander Le Coultre - Albert Van Veneendaal - Calabrone (from "A Cool Tree")
3. Inner Ear Quartet - Water Lillies in Moma (from "Breathing Steam")
4. Frank Grtatkowski Quartet - Scherzo II
5. Lysander Le Coultre - Albert Van Veneendaal - Summer Night's Dream (from "A Cool Tree")
6. Sarah Vaughan - Willow Weep For Me
7. Ben Webster - Time On My Hands
8. Lysander Le Coultre - Albert Van Veneendaal - Firefly (from "A Cool Tree")
9. Cecil Taylor - Enter, Evening
10. Cecil Taylor & Gunther Sommer - Riobec 2
11. Samuel Blaser Quartet - Boundless Suite, part 4 (from "Boundless")
12. Frank Gratkowski Quartet - Rotation
13. Cecil Taylor & Tony Oxley - The Old Canal
14. Lysander Le Coultre - Albert Van Veneendaal - In Middle There Is No End (from "A Cool Tree")

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jazzy Easter

A couple of concerts recently deserved some attention, Pawel Szpura with Pawel Postaremczak duo, as well as Rafal Mazur with Liudas Mockunas played at Bomba recently, both great musical performances. High Definition - a youn polish jazz quartet plays in an hour at Piec ART and I have written recently a litte bit about them - if you get chance come and see them, I should write soon about their self released cd.

Having said that I wish You all Happy Easter, reviews, and radio playlists will come next week.

a half of the High Definition quartet:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jazz Alchemist Radio with Easter playlist

Passion of Christ by Albrecht Altdorfer.
Almost everyone in the music biz has a christmas album and it's so fun and pleasant to sing another version of Jingle Bells. Easter on the other hand is a subject much more difficult, hard to commercialize, it touches subjects of death, sin, salvation. Tune in to listen to some music which is not only spiritual (I'd like to think that any music is spiritual in a way) but religious, whether religious factor is a manifestation of true faith, point of departure for philosophical reflection, musical inspiration or impulse for meditation and pray

I hope to catch you on the facebook chat during the program.

[edit: as the problems with mono/stereo persists I decided to mix the program at home and upload it directly to mixcloud, it will appear below in a coupl of hours (well, once I get a chance since mixcloud is having some upgrade.)

1. Marilyn Crispell Trio - Dear Lord (Marilyn Crispell's birthday on 30.03)
2. Dennis Gonzalez & Ingebrigt Haker Flaten - Jeg Rade Vil Alle I Ungdommens (from "The Hymn Project")
3. Piotr Baron Quartet with Wadada Leo Smith - Krzyzu Swiety (O Holly Cross) (from "Salve Regina")
4. Hera (Zimpel/Postaremczak/Wojcinski/Szpura) - Monreale (from "Hera")
5. Ingebrigt Haker Flaten & Hakon Kornstad - Ak, Mon Jeg Staar I Naade
6. Dennis Gonzalez & Ingebrigt Haker Flaten- Eg Veit I Himmerik Ei Borg
7. Peter Gabriel - A Different Drum
8. Undivided - Droga Krzyzowa , Ukrzyzowanie, Smierc (Crossroad, Crucifixion, Death) (from "Passion")
9. Ingebrigt Haker Flaten & Hakon Kornstad  - For Himmerigs Land Maa Man Kje
10. The Light (Zimpel/Traczyk/Rasz) - J20, 19-23
11. Piotr Baron Quartet with Wadada Leo Smith - Ja Jestem Zmartwychwstanie (I am Resurrection)(from "Salve Regina")
12. Undivided - Zmartwychwstanie (Resurrection) (from "Passion")
13. Joachim Mencel Trio - Ezechiel