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)