Friday, December 27, 2013

Chistmas concert schedule (27.11 - 29.11)

I thought there was no point of checking the the concerts for the Christmas day, it's the time most of ust prefer to spend at home, with friends and family. Holiday period continues and the period is rather dominated by songs about santa claus and snowmen and reinders and so on. Still there's something else on the list.

27.12. Orioxy ad Piec'ART
I honestly will be sorry to miss the concert by the band which charmed Piec'ART's cellar with its music some time ago. Voice, harp, bass and drums - their music is sensual, charming, poetic and slighly exotic.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jazz Band Ball Orchestra - Ziporyn/Zimpel/Zemler/Riley - 100nka at 14th Krakow Silent Movie Festival (Kino Pod Baranami 5-8.12)

"The Dream Factory" - a nickname for the Hollywoodland and the motto for this year's edition of Silent Movie Festival in Krakow captures well the festival's spirit. 
The term "silent movie" might be considered bit misguided - the cinema never liked silence, the music was always there, long before the world understood how to capture the audio on the magnetic tape. And music was there to enhance, to translate, to follow or push the story. 
The beauty of the silent movie phenomen is that they can have a new life through music. They can adapt to modern times and acquire new meanings or rather new means of expression. As the Hollywood's latest trend is to re-make and re-heat plenty of old movies, however there's no need and no way to re-do Charlie Chaplin's movie. But you can always change the musical context and create a new and unique experience.
I chose three festival screenings, and, in hindsight, I wished I had seen the entire program.

I recall listening to Jazz Band Ball Orchestra's LPs as a teenager, and their true-to-the-tradition renditions of jazz classics were fun and pleasure to listen to. The JBBO was assembled over half a century ago by Jan Kudyk who's still in charge.
The orchestra played to "Mania : A history of a cigarette factory worker" featuring Pola Negri, a story not unlike the one presented much more recently in the cinema by Buz Luhrmann in "Moulin Rouge" and are many more examples to enlist. A young and beatifull factory worker Mania, played by Negri, falls madly in love with a talented composer, but is also courted by the factory's owner, who happens to be the opera's main sponsor, and as such holds the key to the composer's future. It's a story of romance, devotion and betrayal.
Jazz Band Ball's music fit perfectly the ballroom scenes, filled with dances and the discreet charm of burgeiosie. Jazz Band Ball Orchestra might sound like a true Second Line, in fact they joyfully travelled from Dixieland to swing and (for the dramatic finale) sharp post-bop chords.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas A.D. 2013

Hello all, I admit I got caught up in all of the pre-Christmas frenzy, I wanted to propose some christmas cd gifts, some new songs, there's still a post about Silent Movie Festival waiting to be finished... 

It will all have to wait just a little bit more, in the meantime, Merry little Christmas to you all my jazz friends, let the good music stay with you in the holiday season and beyond.

Below some songs to keep you, your friends and family company.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 16-22.12

If you want to take a musical break in the midst of all the pre-Christmas frenzy, here are the propositions for the next week.

16.12 Free The Dance with SzaZa at Alchemia
SzaZa is Pawel Szamburski and Patryk Zakrocki on clarinet, violin and multitude of small instruments, electronics and so on. Their music is plenty of suprises , coulour and immagination. Malgorzata Haduch and Iwona Olszewska will dance with SzaZa's music.

17.12 Jazz Tuesday : Jam Session @ Piekny Pies
There's no information about the musicians participating but, if tuesday remains a jazz day in Piekny Pies, it is definitely good news for Krakow's audience.

17 & 19.12 Dominika Rusinowska Quartet at Piec'ART
Piec'ART remains a main stage for young jazz musicians based in Krakow to develop their talents working with each other in various configurations. Dominka Rusinowska leads the quartet featuring S. Zawadzki (piano), D. Czernik (bass) and J. Rusinowski (drums).

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Kraków Concert Schedule 09-15.12

The beginning of the week is quite busy, especially with the festival re:source, near the end of the week you might start embracing the vision of a long (not entirely) concert-less winter.

9-11.12 re:source festival at Klub RE and Alchemia
Three days with alternative / electro / / minimal / experimental / .... music. The schedule is:
9.12, Klub Re – Richard Youngs (UK), Trigg & Gusset (NL),Visionary Hours (UK/PL)
10.12, Alchemia - Nick Mott (UK), Grzegorz Bojanek (PL), Michel Banabila (NL) + Konrad Gęca (dubcore DJ set)
11.12, Klub Re – Zsolt Sőrés (H), The Fields Of Hay + Chołoniewski (UK/PL) and Karl Culley (UK) + a film screening of Zenial’s Rosora

10.12. Improwizje - Tomek Gadecki / Michal Dymny / Rafal Mazur at Piekny Pies
Krakow based Rafal Mazur plays frequently with saxophonist Keir Neuringer, saxophonist Tomek Gadecki plays frequently with bass player Marcin Bożek. The two duos met (as you can see on the vid below) and a new partnership came to life. They invited to join them another long-time collaborator of Rafal - guitarist Michal Dymny.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chicago Woj-tet / Liquid Soul at Made in Chicago day 3 (01.12)

Made in Chicago is a special festival for how it tries to convey the music's richness. One of the key words to it is: continouity. Chicago Woj-tet's music shows the continuity innate to jazz music, how it connects to the heritage of past decades, how its fruits come from the trees rooted in history. How the presence encompasses both past and future.

Robert Irving III tributes the band to the memory of Wojtek Juszczak that features both the veteran sax player Ari Brown as the youngster Leon Q Allen on trumpet (the sextet  is rounded up by Harrison Bankhead, Scott Hesse and Ernie Adams). The first piece is introduced by Irving with comparison of 80s in Poland to 60s in the States, the piece tries to express the rebellious times with ominous modal chords as the audience can hear fragments of talks, speeches, announcements (inbetween them, echoes of Lech Walesa and demonstration of "Solidarność"). Irving's story about his first visit to Poland (with Miles Davis band in the early 80s) was probably as valuable as the sounds themselves.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Silent Film Festival in Kino Pod Baranami - The Dream Factory (5-8.11)

Silent Movie Festival is an unique event, it shows classic, or not to much, titles of the era when movies were literally moving pictures. No audio doesn't mean no music though - such would bond with the cinema from the very beginning. 

During the four days of the festival 14th edition Krakow's audience will have a chance to see movies a variety of movies (some of the feature themes are - Paola Negri's career, "Sleeping Beaty" - a classic pre-Disney rendition of the tale from 1916 as well as last as the 2012 version, retro-erotica or a classic "Cameraman" by the one and only Buster Keaton). 
Such pictures will be completed by live music, plenty of which should interest the lovers of alternative, indie, jazz and improvisation (100nka, Trifonidis Roots Trio, dj Lenar, Waclaw Zimpel and Jazz Band Ball Orchestra are among the artists to appear).

Please check the festival's schedule at cinema's website for the complete schedule. 

I'll report back to you on some of the screenings. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Kizuna - a gathering for Wojciech at Made in Chicago (30.11)

The second performance of the night brought the festival's audience to the Poznan's castle concert hall. A specially comissioned project is part of the festival's tradition and it would usually feature most of the artists performing at the given year. Kizuna - a gathering for Wojciech united on stage 16 musicians, under the lead of Mwata Bowden and Tatsu Aoki. 

First part is a composition of Mwata, under his conduction. A glimpse into the jazz history which begins with a laidback funky groove, big band choruses, charming melody delivered by Dee Alexander and Nicole Mitchell and plenty of gritty soloing all around - delightufll flute, explosive vocalese, Brown's deep and soulful sax tone or more rapid and sharp Francis Wong and some New Orlean funky trumpet. Leon Q Allen deserves in fact his a special mention - he has considerably chops, comes a bit unfledged at times, but his enthusiasm is contagious. He's true showman - when he's not dancing, he's making a badass face (mind you, he's a bit of a teddy-bear posture).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed at Made In Chicago Festival (30.09)

Made in Chicago in Poznań is quite an unique jazz festival. Dedicated to one city but not to any particular fraction of jazz-purists or avant-guardists or whateve. The idea of gathering, or musical community, of continuity - those elements are innate in the festival's formula. I missed friday concerts unfortunately, the first performance of saturday was an example of inter-generation dialogue and continuity in music. On one side of the stage, a true legend of avant-guarde jazz movement, founding member of AACM, co founder of Art Ensemble of Chicago. On the other side, over three decades younger musician, nonetheless an accomplished artist and well-established person on the musical map of the windy city.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kraków Concert Schedule 02.12-08.12 / Lublin Jazz Festival

Krakow's Jazz Juniors continues and there plenty of other events of musical interest, including yet another Jazz Festival - Lublin invites you in with a very strong program. I guess one needs to inhale as much as possible to be ready for winter sleep.

02.12. Jazz Juniors Showcase at Rotunda
Winners of competion held during the weekend. As there's plenty of young talent around one might hope that the selected bands will play good.

02.12. Jam Session at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
Krakow's youth, and sort of club's residents when it comes to jam session - Bartek Prucnal, Cyprian Baszczynski, Mateusz Gaweda, Piotr Poludniak i Dawid Fortuna will welcome fellow musicians for a jam after Jazz Juniors performance.

03.12 Deux  Boules Vanille at Alchemia
For something completely different - and indie music drummer's duo. Seems weird and lot of fun.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Made In Chicago Festival in Poznań 29.11-01.12

This will be 8th edition of Made in Chicago, a very special one, as we will honour and celebrate the memory of Wojtek Juszczak, festival's director, music fan and musicians' friend who passed away this year. Festival brings to Poznań some great musicians, bands and few special projects all of which seem very inviting.

The schedule has two concerts at every night, 7 and 9pm (chek festival's website for locations and other details). Here's the program:

Nicole Michell Sun Dial

Dee Alexander Funkin with Acoustic Soul - tribute to James Brown and Jimi Hendrix.

Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed duo

KIZUNA - a gathering for Wojciech. co-ledy by Mwata Bowden and Tatsu Aoki

Chicago Woj-tet

Liquid Soul

I'm not sure if I'll be able to attend all the shows but I'll report as much as possible. Hope to see you there.

Below's just one of the Nicole Mitchell's band. Indigo Trio, along with many others, has performed at Poznań in the previous years.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Resonance finale at Manghha - Krakow Autumn Jazz 24.11

It's been 6 years since Resonance was born on Alchemia's stage. Born first as an idea by Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival's director, then on the paper as Ken Vandermark would prepare the music for the artists he and Marek have invited, but truly brought into existence during a week of daily rehearsals and improvised concerts in the evening. 

The group is now the only orchestra Vandermark leads. Territory Band would focus on more experimental forms and fully improvisational Chicago Tentet (where Ken is almost often named the co-leader along Peter Brotzmann and Mats Gustafsson), Resonance, in my ears, was a truly jazz orchestra with a big sound, gritty grooves and plenty od Mingus, Evans or even Ellington, even if Vandermark's vision is fully dedicated to the presence of improvised music.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Postermczak - Szpura duo / Imprographic Quartet - Polish Jazz at Alchemia (Krakow Autumn Jazz 23.11)

A day off for Ken Vandermark and Resonance during a week of heavy workload. Saturday at Alchemia was a polish jazz evening, a presentation of some of the most talented and active musicians on the scene. Alhough Krakow Autumn Jazz festival have never focused on music played by polish artists, it did keep track though of some of the most interesting musicians and there would always be a polish ingredient in the festival's mix.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Kraków Concert Schedule 24.11-01.12 / Jazz Juniors Festival in Krakow / Made in Chicago Festival in Poznan

Autumn jazz madness continues, plenty of concerts everywhere, but brace yourself, winter is coming. Meanwhile a bunch of concert suggestions for the next days.

24.11. Resonance at Manggha
Final concert of the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival, with new long-form composition prepared by Ken Vandermark specially for the occasion. The week concerts with small combos were great (see previous posts) and the expectations for the grand finale are high as ever. (the concert starts at 7.00 pm)

24.11. Sympli Romantiko' at Polifonie Festival (Museum of Municipal Engineering)
Polifonie is a short festival dedicated to the visionary of theatre - Tadeusz Kantor. The program featured some stage and audio-visual performances of real interest to the lovers of strange sounds (due to offline problems I did not make it in time to announce Keir Neuringer and Rafal Mazur duo on 21.11). Sympli Romantiko' are Tomasz Choloniewski, Denis Kolokol and Ernest Ogorek who will try to answer together the question - can you touch sound? (the concert starts 10.00 pm which makes it possible catch both events tonight).

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Resonance day 4 at Alchemia - Krakow Autumn Jazz 22.11

The last of the four days with Resonance at Alchemia, but not the last meeting with music during the week. Polish jazz scene will be presented Saturday evening (Pawel Szpura & Pawel Postaremczak duo; Piotr Damasiewicz Imprographic Quartet). The Resonance orchestra will return on Sunday for the final concert at Manggha to present the results of the rehearsals held during last few days.
A brief summary of friday events at Alchemia:

Day 4
Set I
Per-Ake Holmlander - Tim Daisy
Tuba and drums is definitely not your usual jazz duo, but such boundaries are not really of importance in improvised music. Per-Ake employs his repertoire of bubbling and gurgling sounds and Tim spices it up with some tricks from his own bag (literally, taking out a different set of mallets, pocket radio and else). The most entertaining and surprising part of the set is when Per-Ake treats his tuba as a drumset of his own - a percussive fiesta alltogether with Tim. 

Resonance at Alchemia days 2 and 3 - Krakow Autumn Jazz 20-21.11

The week continues with more powerfull music, more crazy fun dj sets (Tim, Christoff and Ken would control the setlist for the afterparties), more drinks (surprising few mad dogs being drunk this year). Here's a brief summary of the 2nd and 3rd day with Resonance:

Day 2
Set I
Steve Swell – Waclaw Zimpel – Tim Daisy
A dynamic interaction between the three, one that let you appreciate both melodic and hectic side of improvised music.  The melodic - that would be for the most part the domain of Waclaw's clarinet, Steve countered those lines with trombone rambling, but there would be some parts where all three musicians would just kick it up a notch. The adventurous set closes with a primal ethno-passage with both Steve and Waclaw plaing wooden shepeherd flutes.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Resonance day 1 at Alchemia - Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival (19.11)

I've been offline last couple of days but I'll try to catch up quick- Resonance is back in Krakow. A group born 6 years ago on the festival transformed from a festival project into a regular group and a whole matrix of possible musical combinations. 

The alchemia evenings are exaclty that - an (al)chemistry laboratory of improvisation in a way, trying out all the possible combinations of x elements taken from y-large group. Here's the brief round-up of the first night:

Day 1
Set I
Magnus Broo – Mark Tokar – Tim Daisy
Freewheeling session with strong pulse, heavy bass tone and panache flurry trumpet flights. As groovy as abstract (Mark would massage and tap the bass as if it was a drum instrument). You can hear the enthusiasm and joy of meeting but most of all the level of communication between the trio's members (includin a semi-conducted drums-trumpet „cuts” during the monstrous bass solo). Strong set to kick off the week.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Joachim Kuhn Trio at Jazztopad (17.11)

Fourth day of the Jazztopad and a change of the scenery - the Joachim Kuhn Trio concert took place in a beutiful space of Wroclaw's synagogue. White walls, modest yet refined ornamentation, dimly-lit mystical space - it all added up to create a particularly spiritual aura.

Joachim is a restless soul and the trio is yet another adventurem, and it's music yet another prove that music is and intercultural language. Kuhn's rampant and poignant piano playing is rooted in european jazz and he's playing completely invested, lost in the moment. What brings new context to this kind of expression is the sound of guimbri. The melodic riffs  would not be so unlike a blues riff in a Jimi Hendrix song but the joyfull rhythmic pulsation gave the music a particularly vital and vivid character. In fact Joachim Kuhn would tell about how he thinks real blues was born not in States but in Marocco and Bekkas's singing in the next piece showed he has a point there.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 18-24.11 / Resonance at Krakow Autumn Jazz

The main story of the next week is you get into a six-night marathon of improvised music with some of the most creative musicians of the genre.

Resonance was created 5 years as a special project commissioned by the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival and brought together musicians from Poland, Ukraine, Sweden and States (Chicago and New York). One week of performances and rehearersals (documented on the Resonance 10cd boxset released by the Not Two Records) has transformed this group of musicians into a band which have continoued to evolve.
This will be their third residency in Krakow and, as both previous ones, it promises a whole world of music to Krakow audience. The setlist below might help you to choose the nights according to your preferences but it seems like to miss any of this is a capital crime if you're into improvised music.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

William Parker Trio & Wroclaw Philharmony Orchestra (16,11) / Tony Malaby TubaCello Quartet & Polish Cello Quartet (17.11) at Jazztopad Festival

The 2nd and 3rd day of the Jazztopad festival presented to the audience specially commissioned projects, all three posing a question of a possible interjections between composed, classical music and improvisation - an ambitious task in any circumstances and kudos for the festival's for taking such a pro-active attitude, kudos for the artists for jumping on the train.

William Parker has quite an experience writing and leading for a big jazz bands but I believe that "Ceremonies for those who are still" written for a full scale 40 piece orchestra is a first of its sort in his musical activity. The amount of colours and textures you can get from such group may be in many ways overwhelming. The composition dedicated to a late friend of the composer, Moscow-based bassplayer Rustam Abdullaev and the mourning aspect of it seemed clearly present the ominous chants by the choir section. The colourfull passages would be linked together by the improvising trio.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wayne Shorter Quartet at Wroclaw Philharmony - Jazztopad day 1 (14.11)

I've had a distinct pleasure to see Wayne Shorter Quartet live on stage already once this year. And the Warsaw Summer Jazz performance confirmed what is widely known - he remains one of the few guys who still posess the key to the Jazz Truth. As gratifying as the concert was, I wanted more and the knowledge that in only a couple of months there will be a second chance to see the group on stage was very consoling.

Jazztopad celebrates it's 10th edition and it's hard to immagine a more fitting introduction to the festival. Wayne Shorter and his cohorts - Danilo Perez, John Pattitucci and Brian Blade form a group that for over a decade remains one of the most exciting in modern jazz. The empathic connection they've developed, they spontaneity, the mututal appreciation and respect - it is all there, palpable. The group developed musical language of communication where, at a short hint, a music can go in any possible direction, non unlike the Miles's groups where the setlist was pretty much made up as they went . 
Blade is simply brilliant behind the drums - in control of the vivid pulse all the time, Pattitucci's bass gives the harmonic support, gracefull and elegant, Perez flight through the piano keys exchanging dynamic chord attacks and lyrical arpeggios. And then there's Shorter who for most parts of the evening limits himself to play short phrases and hint-lines. In fact Wayne seems quite happy when he listens to, with the rest of the audience, to the three musicians around him. While it might have seemed an off-night, he still can play your hats off on soprano, and the distinct sound he gets on the instrument is like a glimpse into jazz greatness.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Concert Schedule update - Forest Underground at Klub RE (14.09)

I'm excited to be going in a couple of hours to Wroclaw to see Wayne Shorter Quartet start the Jazztopad festival but Krakow citizens have their own special concert as well.

14.10 Forest Underground at Klub Re (Krakow)
15.10 Forest Underground at Powiekszenie (Warsaw)
Forest Underground is a duo made by Rob Mazurek (whom I hope needs no introduction but other "Underground" bands come to mind easily) and Kuba Suchar (Mikrokolektyw, among other projects, the duo with Artur Majewski on trumpet, published by Delmark label).

Tomorrow the duo is playin in Warsaw, Powiekszenie klub. Below you can see the video with Mikrokolektyw and Chicago Underground Duo. The combination of the two seems like a good idea doesn't it?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 11-17.11

For those of you who are staing in / coming to Krakow this week (see the previous post) Krakow will keep you musically well-fed with a couple of intriguing concerts. Below are my suggestions.

11.11. Keir Neringer & Rafal Mazur at Bomba
Bomba celebrates it's birthday with a bang and this duo's chemistry will certainly honor the club's anniversary with their fiery and passionate dialogue.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Autumn Jazz Festivals galore - Jesien Jazzowa in Bielsko Biała / Jazztopad in Wrocław

Jazz fans are literally being spoiled autumn time. This or being given headache trying to develop the ability to attend events at the same time in different space. This week start two big jazz festivals - JAZZTOPAD in Wroclaw and JAZZ AUTUMN in Bielsko-Biała (most famed for it's director is the one and only Tomasz Stanko).

JAZZTOPAD 14-24.11 Wroclaw
I'll be happy to present the blog in Wrocław for a couple of days and with great anticipation I await the concert by Wayne Shorter Quartet which starts the festival. Jazzotpad boats also specially commisioned projects - William Parker Trio will play with Wroclaw's Symphony Orchestra, Tony Malaby composed a piece for himself and cello quartet.
Specially featured will be also the young polish jazz scene ("Don't Panic! We're from Poland") as well japanese (thanks to festival's partnership with Toky Jazz Festival).

Of particular interest is the idea of concerts played in private living rooms (for obvious reasons, the number of invites is limited - hurry up!) and series of concerts/movie screenigs related to festival's heroes.

Consult the schedule at

Jazz Atumn ad Bielsko is run by Tomasz Stanko and supported by the ECM label which guarantees a lot of suprises and makes if possible to bring world-famed artists to the city. 
This years schedule is somehow divided between modern jazz and world music. Anour Brahem, John McLauglin + Zakir Hussain, Eliane Elias will explore the various musical traditions. 
From more "jazz perspective" the concert by Stanko himself seems to be utterly promising - the project initially was presented at Vision Festival in New York, Stanko will play in quartet featuring Sylvie Curvoisier, Mark Feldman and Mark Helias. 
Poland will be alsy represented bt Wasilewski Trio, made famous by its three ECM releases with Stanko, will play a special concerts with guest Joakim Milder on saxophones. 

you can check the schedule at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Andreas Willers, Meinrad Kneer, Christian Marien - Nulli Secundus [Creative Sources]

Andreas Willers - electric and acoustic guitars
Meinrad Kneer - double bass
Christian Marien - drums, percussion

Creative Sources 2012

"Nulli Secundus" is one of the not too common proves that free improvisation, on the record, can make sense. That not all it's magic, created in-the--exact-moment and in-the--exact-space is gone transferred onto the digital disc (or other medium). 

Free improvi is this peculiar non-genre that makes it particularly difficult to write about, after all, it is a music that tries to escapy any musical language. Human mind though likes to hang onto the the known and sometimes such become integral parts of the improvised puzzle. Noise, jazz, rock echoes are presented in many forms on the session, but such are suspened in the unknown sonic landscape, bizzarre, eerie and suprising. There's lot of strange sounds, screams, screeches, rumbles, distortions and so far. What I find the most thrilling is the sense of suspense, of controlled chaos that resides within those sounds. Be it high pitch guitar screams in "Ubersturz" or the introvertic hushed, white-noise tones at the beginning of the "Fellatmung", or the long suspended echo of guitar tones, countered by the fast tones of arco strings and the bowed plates near the end of the piece. All three musicians implore a wire range of unorthodox techniques and the lack of visuals makes it even more intriguing at times. "Wurfblech", the final track of the album is just one example, with on-point pizzicato, broken rhythms and scorching guitar.

"Nulli Secundus" is played with immagination and gutts. It's raw, unpolished even at the most silent moments. It is also very cohesive in the search for colour and means of expression and, most of all, sense of dramatic narration. Each piece is like a short story, and the way the trio complements each others' musical ideas is a great example of what we love about spontanous improvisation. A flow of musical ideas, free of preconception but filled with actual thought. Not your everyday listen, but nonetheless very rewarding.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Krakow Concert Shedule 04-10.11 / 2 night with Atomic at Pardon To Tu (Warsaw)

For something completety different (not that much really) Jazz Alchemist will visit Warsaw these days and I most whole-heartedly invite to you to Pardon To Tu for a special event

4-5.11 2 Night with Atomic at Pardon To Tu (Warsaw)
Possibly one of the best quintets around, with the traditional instrumental line-up (sax-trumpet-piano-bass-drums), one of the many to prove that Scandinavian jazz can be hot! During the event a special groups will be formed as well with polish musicians - Pawel Szpura, Pawel Postaremczak (both known from Hera band) and Warsaw resident Ray Dickaty plus guest from Denmark - Adam Pultz Melbye.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jacob Anderskov with Agnostic Revelations - Granular Alchemy [ILK]

Agnostic Revelations:
Chris Speed - sax, clarinet
Jacob Anderskov - piano
Michael Formanek - double bass
Gerald Cleaver - drums

ILK Records 2012

Jacob Andrskov has already proven himself as a great composer, bandleader and a piano player on numerous occasions, including the big ensemble Anderskov Accident "Full Circle". Agnostic Relelations is an acoustic quartet to gather to gather truly stellar Chris Speed, Michael Formanek and Gerald Cleaver.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ab Baars & Ig Henneman Duo - Autumn Songs [Wig]

Ab Baars - tenor sax, clarinet, shakuhachi
Ig Henneman - viola

Stichting Wig 2013

I've featured on the blog previously two releases by Ig Henneman's sextet ("Cut a Caper"  and "Live @ The Ironworks Vancouver") both great albums with crossing the boundaries between free improvisation and modern chamber music, delivered by a stellar sextet, exploring valiantly the sonoristic and arrangement possibilites of such a group. "Autumn Songs" is played in much more intimate duo setting and it's content is somehow given away by the apt title and the very pretty cover.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 28.11-03.11

With the All Saints and Halloween coming next weekend, there's slightly less happening in Krakow, which obviously doesn't mean you'll be let hanging musicless in the next days. Below are my suggestions.

28.11 Jam Session at Harris Piano Jazz Bar 
A session with Cracovian's own talents - Bartek Prucnal (saxophone), Mateusz Gaweda (piano), Piotr Poludnial (bass) and Dawid Fortuna (drums). To start your week properly.

29.11 Gerard Lebik / Clayton Thomas / Christian Marien at Alchemia
The concert is an additional event to Krakow Autumn Jazz, a polish-german collaboration that should yeald some interesting results. Clayton Thomas is especially well-known in Krakow and his bass preparations are a separete spectacle to behold. Expect road signs, metal, rubber and plastic of all shapes and kinds beside the double bass.

Friday, October 25, 2013

John Tchicai - Tribal Ghost [NoBusiness]

John Tchicai - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Charlie Kohlhase - alto, tenor and baritone saxophones
Garrison Fewell - guitar and percussion
Cecil McBee - bass
Billy Hart - drums

No Business 2013

John Tchicai remains one of the unsung heroes of free-jazz, having performed during his New York residence in the 60's (1963-1966) with such greats like Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Milford Graves, Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd and last but not least John Coltrane (the milestone "Ascension" album) he returned to his native Denmark, and for the next decades he would divide his time between teaching and performing. He died last year, having suffered brain hemorrhage

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Obara International Quartet - Komeda [For Tune]

Maciej Obara - alto saxophone
Dominik Wania - piano
Gard Nilssen - drums
Ole Morten Vagan - double bass

For Tune Records 2013

Krzysztof Komeda's legacy over the years became a foundation of polish, or more widely, european jazz. Throughout his brief career he excelled as composer (including film and theatre scores), leader (introducing to jazz music future greats like Tomasz Stanko, Zbigniew Namyslowski) and, last but not least, pianist. Maciej Obara's is one of the foremost jazz voices in Poland in his generation and his tribute to Komeda is a manifestation of continuity of jazz history.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 21-27.10

Don't know how to spend the next few autumn evenings? Here are some tips:

20-21.10 Spinifex and Piotr Damasiewcz at Piec'ART
A double-night residency with Damas - one of the young forces in polish jazz (the leader, among the other projects, of Power of The Horns) and international Spinifex group - you can find the video in the previous weekly schedule.

22.10 Improwizje series - Laboratory of Intuition at Piękny Pies
Another installment of the improwizje series dedicated to the Krakow (and guests) improv scene with a sort of open-workshops band consisting of Paulina Owczarek (sax), Michal Dymny (guitar), Rafal Mazur (acoustic bass guitar) and Tomek Choloniewski (drums).

Friday, October 18, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule last minute update for 19.10

If you're still don't know what to do on Saturday evening or maybe you do know but would like some additional choices to make a conundrum:

19.10. Vetualani / Trzaska / Bzdyl - "Mind and Body" at Rotuna (Theatre Reminiscences Festival)
An unique event, a meeting, a conversation, a performance (I really don't know which one/s will it be). Jerzy Vetualni is a famed neurobiologist, readers of the blog know well Mikolaj Trzaksa and Leszek Bzdyl is a dancer/theatre director who collaborated on more than few occasions with him on his theatre plays. They will reflect on the connection of mind and body.

19.10 Szamburski i Pop at Bomba
Clarinet, drums, beat machines and more, two representats of Lado ABC independent label - Pawel Szamburski (Ircha Clarinet Quartet, Cukunft, SzaZa, Horny Trees) and Tomek Pop (Ed Wood, Hokei, Pictorial Candei) should create together an evening to remember. As no material of the particular duo was found on the web I present below the other Szamburski's project - SzaZa duo (with Patryk Zakrocki) and the music they prepared for (what a coincidence) Leszek Bzdyl's Dada Von Bzdulow dance theatre.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fire! - (without noticing) [Rune Grammofon]

Mats Gustafsson - tenor and baritone saxophones, organ, fender rhodes and electronics
Johan Berthling - bass and piano
Andreas Werliin - drums

Rune Grammofon 2013

The complexity and diversity of Gustafsson's artistic oeuvre is quite astonishing, driven by deep passion he creates music that can be both elaborated as insanely wild, pure abstract, energetic rock'n'roll or tear-drenching ballad. After a whole week with Nu Ensemble, Mats comes back tonight for one evening with the group that played recent summer at the indie music festival OFF in Katowice. Fire! is a project that lives on the fringes of rock, with little focus on jazz or free improvisation.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nu Ensemble final concert at Maghha (Krakow Autumn Jazz) 12.10

Gustafsson's ability to lead bands as well as play in the orchestras (Chicago Tentet, London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Barry Guy New Orchestra) is well documented but I must admit I did not know what to expect of him leading such a big ensemble (although Fire! Orchestra project did promise a lot). I had a sneak of what's about to happen on saturday during one of the weekdays as I could overhear the band practice, excitement is the word. 

NU Ensemble presented one extended multimedia piece, the main axe of it being the two solos by Stine J Motland who was simply spectacular and

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 13.10-20.10 / Unsound Festival

We've only finished the first week of the Krakow Autumn Jazz and there's another festival lurking in. Unsound's theme for this year is interference, among the interfering groups there's Mats Gustafsson's Fire! for those who are about to rock. Plenty of other options as well:

13.10-20.10 Unsound Festival (various venues)
Make sure to check the festival's schedule, you're bound to find something interesting. Fire! will perform on 15.10 as part of the Pattern <-> AMPXXXXDE evening.

Nu Ensemble at 8th Krakow Jazz Autumn - day IV (11.10)

The fourth and the final of the Alchemia evenings was so packed that it seems impossible to me to fit the whole in a single post but I'll try to do a telegraphic one.

Set I 
Once again a solo + duo + solo formula. Dieb13 appears on stage behind 5 (!) turntables, the music is a mirage of loops, electronic noises, acoustic samples. A marriage of analogue sounds in a digital world. Impressive sense of drama and tension and technical mastery in managing the five different sources contemporaneously.

Peter Evans and Per-Ake Holmlander
Peter Evans and Per-Ake Holmlander started off with a series of burps on the horns but this time the real pleasure was to hear Peter Evans playing in the more "traditional" free-jazz vein, with wild runs trumpet flights (l had an immage of a hunter playing his bugle, with the steadier tuba walkig by heavily).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Nu Ensemble at 8th Krakow Jazz Autumn - day III (10.10)

The week continues with more solos, duos, trios and one quite large ensemble in the middle. 

Set I
You might think that piano is a keyboard instrument. It ain't necessarily so, Augusti Fernandez for his solo performance doesn't even stand beside the keys but hunches above the strings from the other side of the instrument. The effects are haunting and dark, the music full of suspense, Augusti plays on the strings with bare hands and variety of objects, plucking and scratching to create a variety of mysterious sounds and echoes. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nu Ensemble at 8th Krakow Jazz Autumn - day II (09.10)

The second chapter of the five-days marathon with Nu Ensemble showed yet another faces (masks?) of modern improvisatoin.

The evening begins with the polish representation: Dominik Strycharski and Rafal Mazur duo, both names familiar to the followers of the local and national free improv scene. Characteristic sound of Rafal's acoustic bass guitar fills low registers with a magmatic and dense flow. Dominik Strycharski plays on the stage a variety of wooden flutes and brings forward sound that combines emotional characteristic of human voice, and trance echoes of tribal ethno. The circling lines expose both contrast and consonance of the two instruments, with the extremes being the most effective – with high register whistles, piccolo flute and eerie suspended sounds of the bowed strings on one end and heavy stomps of the bass flute and blurried bass lines on the other. A worthy presentation of how vibrant the polish scene is, though it felt to me that both the audience and the musicians needed a warm – up, the further they went, the better was the chemistry.

Joe McPhee
The second set once again is divided into solo + duo + solo fragments. Joe McPhee begins his
performance with the pocket trumpet in hand, creating an quasi-electronic musical landscape filled with breath, whisper and hushing sounds. Once he switches to tenor sax all his maestry and richness of the experiences of life and art is in full evidence. His playing is profoundly emotional and the feeling is palpable. Within not even half hour Joe Mcphee tells with his own sounds the story of american black music. You'll hear echoes of Mississippi, Harlem, Broadway, New Orlean. You'll hear the longing for freedom hidden in the old negro spirituals songs, soulfull tone, haunting melodies cut by an ayleresque scream, the whole history of jazz sax. A true professor.

Jon Rune Strom and Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten
The second performance in this part of the evening is Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten and Jon Rune Strom duo so it's a double double bass heavyweight match. Those two to do not joke around. They have no mercy for their instruments. The strings are being struck, torn, bent, pulled, plucked, bowed, scratched with gypsy-like passion and gusto. The intensity is overthrilling so they cool down a few times, take a very short breath and began another furious crescendo with the ferocious light-speed high tones bowing being the most impressive one. Downright brutal and damn impressive.

The last one in the set to step on stage is Christer Bothen with the bass clarinet. His musical narration is poetic, subtle, minimalistic and all the musical action would happen somewhere hidden, under, behind, beside the note – within the whisper, the natural rhythm of inhale-exhale – with all the long sustained sounds and circular phrases disapperaing one into other, echoing in space. Music dense and mysterious as misty fog above the water, an hour before the dawn, sounds coming from unknown close or distand sources, some of it merely immagined.

Mats Gustafsson, Augusti Fernandez, Peter Evans
Third set brings on stage the trio EFG – Peter Evans, Augusti Fernandez and Mats Gustafsson. This is music of liberated sounds, freely placed into the space and time, found in the archives of the lost and found sounds. Sounds scary abstract and highly intellectual right? Fortunately Gustafsson's eloquence (and it count for the other two as well) never stops him from acting like a mischievous villain on stage. EFG is hellishly abstract but also bursting with energy, spontanous combusionts and musical chain reactions.
Augusti Fernandez stays throughout under the piano panel, creating a horror soundtrack, Gustafsson sax and the other thing (kind of a slide, metal flute?!) screams, kicks and punch while Peter Evans kinda mimicks Donald Duck with his trumpet. No matter what, the class of the musicians, their understanding of the musical direction, dramaturgy of narration makes so that they not only create the chaos but then thay master it as riders of the Apocalypse. The instruments are not there to play notes, notes are of secondary importance. There are only sounds.

More pictures by Krzysztof Penarski available on the photofreejazzblog

Set I
Dominik Strycharski - wooden flues; Rafal Mazur - acoustic bass guitar

Set II
Joe McPhee - tenor saxophone, pocket trumpet
Jon Rune Strom, Ingebright Haker-Flaten - double bass
Christer Bothen - bass clarinet

Peter Evans - trumpet, pocket trumpet; Augusti Fernandez - piano, objects; Mats Gustafsson - saxophones

Nu Ensemble week at Krakow Autumn Jazz. Alchemia. 09.10.2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Nu Ensemble at 8th Krakow Jazz Autumn - day I (08.10)

Autumn has arrived and with it the Jazz Autumn Festival in Kraków. It took three years to bring back Nu Ensemble together, some of the musicians in the group have visited Krakow on many occasions before, few came to Alchemia for the first time and they all received a warm welcome from the full crowd audience.

Paulina Owczarek and Tomek Gadecki
Differently to the weeks with Resonance and Barry Guy New Orchestra, the program scheduled for the week has a strong focus on solo and duo performances, with the last set reserved for a bigger group. The new element is the presentation of the polish improv scene and the honor of launching the festival was given to Paulina Owczarek and Tomek Gadecki - SamBar duo. Two baritone saxophones filled the musical space with intriguing sonoristic effects, smoothly exchanging "rhythmic" and "melodic" roles and exploring the unexpected possibilites of the instruments. Coincise and rewarding performance.

The second set was introduced with a short minirecital by Stine J Motland with (as Mats would say afterwards) "some kind of vocal".

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 06-13.10 / Nu Ensemble at Krakow Autumn Jazz 2013 Festival

This the moment many of the free jazz lovers in Krakow have been waiting for a long time. Autumn has officialy begun! 5 evenings with Nu Ensemble make fill pretty much the whole week but there still are some more options to choose from. This is a long list, you may get dizzy.

06.10 Traces, Shreds, Hints at Klub Re
"Ślady, Strzępy, Wskazkówki" is a performance that combines improvised sounds, words, gestures and movements. Not exactly the lazy sunday afternoon kind of thing, it's a promise.

Traces, Shreds, Hints from Anna Trzewiczek on Vimeo.

Friday, October 4, 2013

8th Krakow Autmn Jazz Festival starts on 8.10!!!

Last couple of posts I've been inviting you to various places for a variety of great short and long jazz festivals. I'ts high time to invite you to Krakow to follow the 8th Krakow Jazz Autumn Festival.
During 8 years with Krakow Jazz Autumn the audience had a chance to seen some unforgettable concerts and a number of brilliant artists, both young cats as well as famed veterans of the stage, some of whom become a frequent visitors in the cellar's of Alchemia club. Many of the concerts have been recorded and released by the Not Two records.
Faithful readers of the blog will remember that the whole blogging thing started during the 2010 Autumn Jazz Festival, as I decided to post daily about a week with the Barry Guy New Orchestra.

8th Krakow Jazz Autumn sports a very coincise yet a reach and intensely-packed program with two week-long events at its core. 

Couple of years back (5 if I'm not mistaken) a Festival introduced a special formula - a big group would rehearse during the day, musicians would play improvised concerts in small combos in the evenings, with one final orchestra performance on the final night. 
The success of the formula produced more events of a sort in the following years, including the above mentioned series with Barry Guy and his New Orchestra. A member of which is one fellow named Mats Gustafsson. 

To start off with a big bang, the 8th festival will gather together the Nu Ensemble a band under Gustafsson's direction, that includes such giants of modern improvisation as Augusti Fernandez, Joe McPhee, Peter Evans and Paal Nilssen-Love to name just a few, a band that will be reunited on one stage for the first time after 8 years! The details of the week's program are already available on the festival's site and I will include them in the weekly concert's schedule.

The project that 5 years introduced the festival's formula was Resonance that gathers musicians from Ukraine, Poland, Sweden and States (Chicago and New York) under the direction of Ken Vandermark. The band thus born performed and recorded more material over the next years, including an appearance on the Chicago Jazz Festival that resulted in the "Kafka in Flight" release. The band's return to Krakow in November constitues the second main event of this year's festival.

The two weeks are to be considered the main musical courses for the hungy ears. For the appetizers and the dessert there are three additional concerts (Matthew Shipp / Mat Walerian M-Theory Project; Gaia Mattiuzzi & Francesco Cusa; Clayton Thomas / Christian Marien / Gerard Lebik trio).

You can obviously count on Jazz Alchemist blog being there to keep nagging at you so you'd come down to Krakow, Alchemia's cellar, You won't be dissapointed.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ad Libitum Festival in Warsaw 10-12.10

Last week I posted the program of Jazz & Beyond Festival, here's another one which boasts a short but very intense program. 8th edition of the Ad Libitum starts with the workshop conducted by the musicians of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra who will perform the majestic "Harmos" to close the festival. 

The program is present below (with some links to the blog's archive), polish jazz fans will have to entertain a huge dilemma in the next week, but more about it in a few days. 


10-11.10 Workshops with the London Jazz Composers Orchestra

10.10, at Laboratorium Centre of the Modern Art - Zamek Ujazdowski
Klaus Schöpp, Marc Lingk, Wojciech Błażejczyk
Jerzy Mazzoll, Sławek Janicki, Qba Janicki trio ("Minimalover" review)
Trevor Watts and Veryan Weston duo ("5 More Dialogues" review)

11.10, at Laboratorium Centre of the Modern Art - Zamek Ujazdowski
India Czajkowska, Tadeusz Sudnik, David Kollar,
ELEMENTS: Piotr Damasiewicz, Maciej Garbowski, William Alrson Axel Soovik
Evan Parker, Barry Guy, Paul Lytton trio

12.10 Polish Radio W. Lutoslawski concert studio 
Robert Dick & Thomas Buckner 
Barry Guy  / Maya Homburger duo ("Tales of Enchantment" review)
London Jazz Composers Orchestra – Harmos ("Harmos" dvd review)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 30.09-06.10

You know what the week after this right? If not, I'll be happy to remind you of it in the next few days. Below are some recommendations on how to spend the next few evenings. Enjoy.

01.10 Hedvig Mollestad Trio at Alchemia
A heavy kick to begin the musical week, guitar rock meets punk meets jazz. Hedvig Mollestad Trio has just released their second album on the prestigious Rune Grammofon. It will be loud.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jazz & Beyond concert series (29.09-01.12)

I report weekly the musical events about to happen in Krakow and I'll spill soon some informations about the Krakow Autumn Festival (some of it already on the web) but Autumn is a jazz season elsewhere as well.
I'd like to wholeheartedly invite you for the Jazz & Beyond concert series, held in a few cities of Silesia (not so far in fact). The cycle will begin this sunday with the Uri Caine / Han Bennink duo concert in Jazz Club Hipnoza in Katowice.

You can find the details on the program on the poster below as well as on the festival's website

One of the bands that will play during the festival is Maciej Obara International Quartet who made a strong impact on the polish jazz scene with their debut cd "Komeda" (I plan to get back to it soon on the blog)