Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Yoni Kretzmer - Overlook [OutNow Recordings]

Yoni Kretzmer - tenor saxophone
Nitai Levi - bass clarinet
Shai Ran - double bass
Haim Peskoff - drums

OutNow Recordings 2011

I've already expressed my admiration for Yoni Kretmzer's playing as I've written about his 2Bass Quartet "Weight" cd. "Overlook" is a previous release, equally worth of attention, even more so as it presents three other musicians from a vital Tel Aviv scene (fresh after the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow I'm still impressed with how diversified and rich is Israel's musical scene).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Krakow Schedule 29.07 -04.08 Update

Last minute update for this week evenings. Btw is it hot out there or is it just me?

Tonigt at 8pm (and it starts on point, it's a promise) at Cafe Finska (Jozefinska 46) musicians connected to the Krakow improvised music scene will play a program of duos. A special guest Vasco Trilla from Spain will also be present.

The musicians that will play "Shifting Duos" are well known to Krakow audience - Paulina Owczarek, Michal Dymny, Wiktor Krzak, Ernest Ogorek and Piotr Przewozniak.

Don't miss this event.

Also a special reminder about the pre-screening presentation of documentary "Milosc" ("Love")

02.08 "Milosc" screening at Kino Pod Baranami at 7pm

Cienema debut by Filip Dzierzawski, "Milosc" is already believed to be one of the best polish documentaries of last years. It won the first prize on Krakow Film Festival as well as Audience Award.
"Milosc" presents both archival materials, interviews presenting the group's history, but, not only a music film, it presents a portraif of generation, first one to live its adult years in a new, democratic Poland.
A must-see movie, non only for the fans of yass music.

Kino Pod Baranami was kind enough to grand an invitation to reader's of Jazz Alchemist blog!
Please answer the question:
What are the titles of the album which are recorded by Milosc, not as a quintet?

please send the answer to

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Krakow Concerts Schedule 29.07-04.08

Summer heat hit the streets with full force, here are some suggestions if you'd like to cool it down in the evenings.

30.07 NSI at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
a drumless quartet with Cyprian Baszczynski on trumpet, Bartek Prucnal on sax, Mike Parker on acoustic bass and Dawid Fortuna on drums won the last year Jazz Juniors Festival in Krakow, one of the group that testifies to the vitality of young Krakow mainstream jazz scene.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Kostcirkeln - Innehåll: Musik [ILK Nusic]


Qarin Wikström - Vocal
Anders Provis - Drums
Jakob Falgren - Bass
Stephan Sieben - Guitar
Simon Toldam - Piano

It's been long time since the last review, and there's  plenty of music to catch upon, let's start with something "for something completely different". 

Kostcirkeln    is a peculiar group who chose a peculiar medium for their music "Innehall : Musik" (Content: Music) is a 2nd volume of planned EP trilogy, released in a form of a download code inside a precious matchstick box. 

"Innehall : Musik" is five tracks of pure, unadolescent joy spiced with a bit of crazy. Kostcirkeln juggles with conventions with a circus-like artistry and panache. It's like a constant battle with your inner child. It's a collage of dream pop, children play songs, slice of punk, rock, circus. A music of intense colours and surreal shapes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jerzy Mazzoll Quartet with Zdzislaw Piernik at Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 2013 (19.07)

The last "big event" day of the festival presented at Soho Factory three radically diffrent groups and visions of jazz. 
I admit I missed most of the Andrea Marcelli Trio performance, as it's definitely not my sort of jazz - too light, too smooth, too pleasant. Music that would fit into a small club, as you're having beer and conversation with friends, not apt for a big festival scene. 

As for Antonio Sanchez Quartet who finished the night - it was a solid post-bop, some sparks flew especially during the David Binney - Antonio Sanchez duo. But, having still in mind the beatifull Wayne Shorter Quartet and talented Maciej Obara International Quartet, the concert's impact was substantially diminished.

Inbetween the two performances played Jerzy Mazzoll, in the company of three young associates and one veteran of  contemporary music Zdzislaw Piernik - a virtuoso tuba player, musician chosen by Krzysztof Penderecki, Boguslaw Schaefer and many others to perform their original pieces, responsible for introducing to the tuba repertoire new techniques and original preparations of the instrument.

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.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Concert Schedule 21-28.07 / Tzadik Poznan Festiwal 2013

Warsaw Summer Jazz Days just ended, another, possibly even more intriguing series of events will occur next week in Poznan. Tzadik Festival presents new polish jewish music, for the jazz audience the centerpiece of the program is probably Uri Caine who'll play Wladyslaw Szpilman's music, but there will be also a chance to see new projects by Mikolaj Trzaska, Raphael Roginski, as well as the more rock-oriented Daktary, string quartet Samech with Koby Israelite or the exotic Me La Amargates Tu.

Tzadik Poznan Festiwal 2013 starts on 25.07 and lasts till 28.07. You can find more details on the festival's homepage.

Obviously, if you remain in (or you're visiting) Krakow, there is still enough live music to fill your evenings:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tie Break / Power of the Horns / Sun Ra Arkestra at Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 2013 (17.07

The program of the third day of 2013 Warsaw Summer Jazz Days was a true journey through timespace continuum of jazz music.

Tie Break that started the evening is a group that emerged in the late 80s, amid the monotonic greyness of polish communism reality. The band's colourfull music, stood in perfect opposition to the traditional New Orlean jazz festivals. Funky rhythm section, rock guitar riffs, rebelious sax – tumpet frontline and, most of all, monosyllabic, playfull and tribal chants. Joyfull, energetic and spontanous. Probably influenced the most by electric Miles bands of the era, collected on the black market in underground Poland of the era, spiced with tribal showmanship.
Despite my utter respect for the Tie Break's role in polish jazz history I have to say also that their sound did seem rather outdated, just like great Miles Davis records of the era. The musician's energy on stage made the time travel experience very enjoyable.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Zorn@60 at Warsaw Summer Jazz Days 2013 (15.07)

The intellectual air of New York must be really conservative these days – John Zorn at 60 years young looks great. It's hard to think of an artist more keen on breaking bounderies – Zorn does so in each kind of artistic activity he engages in – as a musician, composer, publisher. Zorn@60 is an event designed to present multifaceted versatility of his repertoire and vastness of his vision and ambitions.

Set I

The all-star The Dreamers begin the evening, in a company of three singers, with just a slight change in a line-up – John Medeski sits in on keys for Jamie Saft. The formation takes upon the proug name Song Project.
Mike Patton cuts through the air with the very first song. It's rock'n'roll with the right amount of hardcore. Some of the next remind you of the drunk bar-songs by Tom Waitts. Patton's voice comes straight from the guts, it can nonetheless charm you with the deep, if a bit rusty tone. Just to pierce the space with primal scream right afterwards.
The dynamite intro is followed by Sofia Rei – songs she's featured in resonate with the bittter-sweet latin note. It's lyrical, Sofia's voice is deeply emotional, if a bit theatrical. Her strong voice fits well with Mike's in the duo setting as well.
The third vocalist – Jesse Harris does not fit the bill. No stage charisma, his voice thin, soft and bit flat. His songs in the smooth-pop-rock-jazz vein, along with occasional bossa nova only reinforced that impression. Nicety but guttless. To create on stage collision between Patton of Harris – that's a sign of demiurge's cruelty.
John Zorn sits in the middle of the stage, a master of puppets of sorts to direct the show – here's a juicy guitar solo by Ribot, there's John Medeski on piano to charm the audience. It's all good, with such fine musicians on stage it must be.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Concert Schedule 15-21.07 Warsaw Summer Jazz Days / Crossroads Festival in Krakow

I'm moving to Warsaw for one week so that's the place which will be featured in our schedule. Warsaw Summer Jazz Days is one of the biggest Jazz festivals in Poland, it's program fits well both mainstream, free, big international stars as well as strong polish representation. I think the names on the list (especially the one in bold font) need little introduction on my part.

Here's the program of the festival

15.07. John Zorn at 60 - A run through a variety of Zorn's project as he celebrates his 60th birtday. The groups will be:

16.07. A day for fans of guitar and flamenco.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shalom in Szeroka - Krakow Jewish Culture Festival 2013 Finale (06.07)

Shalom in Szeroka street is an annual marathon of music, a feast of love that ends the biggest Jewish Culture Festival in the world. Thousands of people every year come to this open air concert to celebrate, dance, sing together, no matter the age, sex, color of skin, place of birth or religion.

The evening was created for the most part by the same groups that played during the week in the Tempel Synagogue. The festival's scope is to show the Jewish culture as diversified, as modern and as alive as possible. Seven concerts of Jewish music and no klezmer music whatsoever. Instead you get a band like DeLeon from Mexico city, a psychodelic indie group whose music is rooted in the ancient sephardic tradition.

Later in the evening the power trio Boom Pam takes you on the wild surf session as hard rock guitar rides the wave of powerful and heavy bass drum beats and the  and tuba riffs. Boom Pam participates in the guitar rock revival but distinguishes itself from many other bands with the surprising instrumentation and eastern flavour.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Maria Raducanu & Cukunft at Krakow Jewish Festival (03.07)

It would be hard to immagine the modern polish scene without Raphael Roginski and the entire plethora of his projects, idealized to bring back jewish culture, modern and vital, to a country where it used to thrive and where it disappeared completely after the tragedy of World War II. Roginski's vision of jewish music is modern and rebellious and Cukunft is the perfect vehicle to make it a reality - powerfull, tribal drumming, poignant guitar tones and absolutely furious clarinets chasing one another - that's Cukunft, in short.
For the concert at the festival Cukunft (expanded to a quintet with Piotr Domagalski on bass) invited a Ramanian vocalist Maria Raducanu, to sing with them. We are children of the borderline, said Festival's director Janusz Makuch, introducing the performance. And that's where the meetings happen, and where cultures influence each other, and we all can appreciate our differences, and be surprised of how much in common we have. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 08-14.07

Only couple hours ago Shalom at Szeroka cupped the week of Jewish Culture festival - the biggest of its kind in the world (some writings about will be posted next week).
Krakow culture life never stops though. July is the month of Summer Jazz Festival, next week begins the intercultural Crossroads Festival etc..
Here are couple of suggestions for the next week.

Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica Pod Baranami
08.07 Adam Baldych & Pawel Kaczmarczyk duo
09.07 Adam Baldych - Up To Date
10.07 Adam Kawonczyk Quartet
11.07 Adam Pieronczyk Quartet
12.07 Travel Image play Joe Zawinul's music
13.07 Piotr Wylezol trio
14.07 High Definition

10.07 I Am Super Ape at Alchemia
For something different, an indie-rock group from Malmo, heavy, dense and energetic.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Riverloam Trio at Krakow Jewish Festival (02.07)

My appreciation to Mikolaj Trzaska's music is confirmed in many posts in the blog's archive so I'll try keep this one simple. Especially since you can see the concert via festival's web tv yourself.

I remember this trio playing in Alchemia two years ago, they were named Ha Tichona trio back the, which means "inner ear" in hebrew. It is a recurrent term that appears as the name of another band (Inner Ear Quartet with Steve Swell, Tim Daisy and Per-Ake Holmlander) and in many conversations with Mikolaj:

I'm a saxophone player, I'm not a composer, but I'd call myself rather a „music maker”, I make music, I dabble in sewing pieces of music together. I don't compose, meaning I rarely sit down and write. I build the music up, it results from my work, my practice, from my inner hearing. I make music that I can hear is inside me. I try to capture it, I try to translate it and voice it out. I'm trying to do it so that this inner portrait of music I have, It would be presented in the most accurate way there is. I mean so there would be no cunningness, no artificial nicety in it, but the music I play would mirror perfectly my thoughts and my emotions.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Apples at Krakow Jewish Festival (28.06)

The Apples' concert opened this year Krakow Jewish Festival with a true funky blast. This definitely was not your typical klezmer music concert, a clear reminder that Jewish music can surprise you in many ways.

The Apples are: Arthur Krasnobaev (trumpet), Yaron Ouzana (trombone), Oleg Nayman (tenor and soprano sax), Yakir Sasson (baritone sax), Yonadav Halevy (drums), Alon Carmelly (bass), Erez Todres (turntable), Ofer "Schoolmaster" Tal (turntable), Uri "Mixmonster" Wertheim (sound console & live effects). Oldschool funk is obviously a foundation of the group's music but it got spiced up with ingredients as diverse as big band swing, eastern folk flavour and modern club music appeal.