Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Merry Jazzy Christmas 2014 AD

There's no denying it - the blog has been very neglected recently - I'm definitely putting it on my New Year's resolution list.

'Tis the season for giving and forgiving so I hope you'll forgive me If dust off and give you three merry little playlists for the occasion.

May you have the very best Christmas and The Happiest New Year. With a lot of jazz and stuff. 

Yours truly

Jazz Alchemist

(some of the tracks may appear more than once although I remember trying to avoid it)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 08-14.12

The festival-packed weekend is over, it is a fool's hope though to get any rest before Christmas time. No special events, no festivals but Krakow is still up to the task of feeling your evenings with good live music this week.
The latter half of the week will satisfy abundantly indie-rock audience who should check the 11.12 date in Alchemia, Piekny Pies and Kolanko, while those less rock-oriented listeners (me included) can follow the competition for the most inspired rock band name (The Gentle Art Of Cooking People steals the 1st prize in my opinion).

08-09.11 Kołakowski : Wykpisz : Korelus at Piec'ART
The piano trio will explore how the music theory of Arnold Schonberg works in improvised context. Will the band be able to close the gap between classical music and jazz?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 01-07.12

The last week announcement of the end of festival season was premature. Before we all give to up to the pre-Christmas frenzy we have a week ahead of us that is packed full with concerts and 3(!) festivals. There are some very difficult choices to be made.

The festivals are:
15th Silent Movie Festival - check here for the full program
Re:Source fetival dedicated to avant-electronica
38th Jazz Juniors - the festival includes few heroes of jazz history as well as presents the talents of young band

Given the amount of events I'll be as coincise as possible with the selection below. make sure to check the whole program of the festivals.

02.12 Gogol Bordello at Rotunda
for something completely different, a gypsy-punk band that is bound to rock the night.

04.12 SzaZa at Kino Pod Baranami plays "Berlin : Symphony of Great City" (Silent Movie Festival)
SzaZa is a resourcefull duo to play clarinet, violin and all sorts of percussion, toy instruments and electronics - the music they play can be equally haunting as humorous.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 24-30.11

It will be difficult to adjust to post-festival reality. Tonight's the last concert of the Krakow's Autumn Jazz and I hope to see you all there. Festival or not though, there's is some music around the next week as well, especially if someone would like to get some rest from jazz related events. The first and the last items on the list are the two musts of the week the way I see it.

24.11 Emiter at Galeria i!
Emiter is a electronic-music magician, one of the most important figures of polish minimal electronica, an artist who finds beauty and melody and rhythm in white noise and cracklings. His solo performances are most highly recommeded.

24.11 Arms And Sleepers at Alchemia
Max Lewis and Mirza Ramic has founded the group in 2006 and they've playing music ever since, the sound is a reminiscent of trip-hop classics and this sounds like a good vibe for a nice chillout evening session.

The Architekt animation from QB Media on Vimeo.

25.11 Hugo Race at Alchemia
Hugo Race was one of the foundind members of the Bad Seeds. And his solo recordings confirm the roots - poetic, moody and dark songwriting, low timbre of voice and melancholic guitar.

26-27.11 Matuesz Kołakowski / Krzysztof Gradziuk at Piec'ART
Mateusz Kołakowski a few years had made a big entrance on polish jazz scene - a teenager only, has participated in a few quite prestigious international compositions playing both classical (Chopin or Bethoven's concertos) and jazz. Krzysztof Gradziuk is definitely among the top jazz drummers in the country, most famous for his work with RGG trio. It might be a very interesting meeting to see.

28.11 Raphael Roginski plays Zion Golam at Cheder Cafe
Roginski was always at the foreground of polish modern jewish music. In fact only few years the term would be basically synonym to his name. The repertoire for the concert will be the music of the Yemenite composer Zion Golam. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 17-23.11

The final week of the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival will fill the week completely. Prepare to make Alchemia the 2nd home for the next few evenings.
PS. Polish readers can check www.jazzarium.pl where I covered some concerts that were part of the festival as well as Wrocawl's Jazztopad concert with Wadada Leo Smith Golden Quartet.

(edit : I admit I forgot to include in the list two events outside of the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival - there are two concerts Klub Re that are definitely attention worthy although It's a tough luck that the dates coincide with the Alchemia concerts)

17.11 Prophetic Fall - Strycharski / Wojcinski / Szpura in Alchemia
Part of the 3-nights polish scene presentation during the festival. Dominik Strycharski is trying to carve some space in free jazz music for his flute arsenal. Wojcinski and Szpura make probably the strongest rhythm unit on polish stages.

18.11 Ogoya Nengo & The Dodo Women's Group at Klub RE
Ogoya Nengo and her group will bring to Krakow the root music of Kenya. Her name in the local dialect means "Precious" and the music should fulfill the promise thus given. Voice, rhythm music that is hundreds years old and on the verge of extinction.
(The concert will be followed by two post-punk groups The Kurws and UZS)

18.11 Slawek Pezda & Mateusz Gaweda duo at Alchemia
I'm extremely happy this Krakow duo will get a chance to present thesmelves on the same stage and the same evening with the main project of this year Krakow Autumn Jazz. It's high time Krakow's audience get better acquianted with the two names, both musicians being very active on local jazz club scene.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 9-16.11

Festival fiesta has begun with a mighty programs in Wroclaw, Tri-City and Bielsko-Biała. But those staying in or coming to Krakow should have they evenings filled with good music as well. Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival continues, the fans of the more experimental and conceptual audio-video art should look closer at the Audio Art Festival programming.

9/10.11 Värt att veta om herr K. at Piec'ART
I've enlisted this duo in the last week schedule but a second mention is in place as the double nights closes the week and launches the new one. The complicated name stands for Karl Hjalmar Nyberg on saxophones and Andreas Skår Winther on drums. Improvising sax-drums duo from Norway? Count me in.

11.11 SamBar + Javier Cremona at Piękny Pies
SamBar is a baritone sax duo with Tomek Gadecki and Paulina Owczarek, they will be joined on stage by Javier Cremona. This is bound the sub-sound version of the clash of the titans.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 03-9.11

The Thing & DKV started jazz November, one needs to gather considerable strength reserve before the festival marathon starts (around 12.11). Still that doesn't mean to neglect the weekly concert schedule.

3/4.11 Prucnal / Parker / Parker Trio at Piec'ART
Bartlomiej Prucnal is easily one of the more promising young sax players in Poland working in the mainstream idiom of jazz but not shy of jumping through the fence once in a while. Mike Parker and Frank Parker (no blood relation) should make a fine rhythm section to back him for this sax trio session.
Below a band featuring Prucnal led by Mike Parker.

9/10.11 Värt att veta om herr K. at Piec'ART
The complicated name stands for Karl Hjalmar Nyberg on saxophones and Andreas Skår Winther on drums. Improvising sax-drums duo from Norway? Count me in.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 27.10-02.11

November begins and we all know what it means - pumpkin pies, horror movies and jazz festivals in Poland. There is "stuff" happening in Poznan, Bielsko-Biala, Wroclaw, Tri-city, Silesia and last but not least Krakow. And the concert on November the 1st should nail it. The free freak fans need to wait patiently for Saturday, while the more moderate jazz listeners have their fair share of worthwile mainstream gigs as well.

28.10 VEIN at Piec'ART
An austrian ensemble, very convincing in trying to continue and develop the fine tradition of piano trio, you can find a short review of two of their releases as well as an interview with Michael Arbenz who plays the piano. VEIN's journey through jazz history (from ragtime to modern post-bop) is definitely a pleasure to join.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 20-26.10

While we're awaiting impiatiently for November to kick off with The Thing & DKV there is no shortage of good concerts in Krakow. Ve have improv, electro, garage rock, funky, ethno and stuff for the week.

20.10. Institute of Intuition with Yedo Gibson & Vasco Trilla at Galeria i!
Two improv artists from Spain will perform with the Institute and, the day after, with its guitar player Michal Dymny. (Note all galeria i! concerts start at 7pm)

20.10 Rimbaud - Budzynski / Trzaska / Jaceszek at Alchemia (Conrad Festival).
A kind of unusual meeting between the world of free jazz, modern electronica and poetic rock.

20-21.10 Princessleatrio at Piec Art
I'm telling you Scandinavian scene is booming, another young freely melodic group that sounds really intriguing.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 13-19.10

With yesterday's concert by Ab Baars and Zlatko Kaucic (a strong performance I might add) we hit a brief pause in the Krakow Jazz Autumn program (we reboot with DKV + The Thing double trio night on 1.11).
Strangely enough though, the following week is on the busiest in a while with a plenty of interesting music to offer.

13-19.10 Unsound Festival 2014 - The Dream. Unsound is an international festival, with most focus on modern electronic music. I'm unfamiliar with many names, but this is one of the festival that puts a quality stamp of approval anytime an artist has a spot on a list. Lovers of the improvisation will find their share on the program.

13.10 Collective at Piec'ART
I've already wrote about the group last week. A quartet with stellar players - Piotr Damasiewicz, Michal Gorczynski, Ksawery Wojcinski and Wieland Moller.

13.10 Ircha Clarinet Quartet with Remont Pomp at Manghha (Unsound Festival)
Remont Pomp is an unique percussion ensemble, Trzaska's been collaborating with them for a while now and he's bringing the Clarinet Quartet for the Unsound Festival and it will be initeresting to see them depict the festival's theme - The Dream.

14.10 Hanna Paulsberg Concept at Piec'ART
Piec'ART is somehow a venue to bring a lot of talent coming from Scandinavia to Krakow. Most of those band had not yet a name for themselves but I'm posivite many will. Scandinavia's youth jazz is bringing many positive surprises and Hanna Paulsber might be one of them.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A double double bass recommendation for the next few days in Krakow - Marcin Oles and Joelle Leandre

A very quick update and a last minute suggestion. All who don't feel too under the weather should get up and check Piec'ART for Marcin Oles solo concert.

02.10 Marcin Oles - Basso-Nova at Piec'ART
The bass half of a rhythm section that had a huge impact on the beginnings of modern polish free jazz scene. Marcin Oles has a beautiful sound and a is an artist of clear vision. Catch it if you still can. Concerts in Piec start only at 9.30 PM so you still have a chance.

Marcin OLES - bassoNOVA from Marcin Oles on Vimeo.

05.10 Joelle Leandre at Alchemia (Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival)
No introduction needed I hope. Among the most incredible visionaries of double bass, both in improvised and composed music (designated performer of pieces by John Cage or Giacinto Scelsi). One is usually cautious when it comes to a double bass recital and they're not that common but to  have a chance to see two in the distance of few days is great. I daresay this is the most important night of the whole Atumn Festival.

BTW. Polish readers may check Jazzarium for a note about the first two concerts of the festival.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jazz Alchemist is back for the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival and more

It's been a long vacation from the blog. I've bitten and heavily by the vinyl bug and recently all the free time I can get is spend with the (occasionally crackling) sound of the dark matter circling on the turntable.
I can't get enough of Duke Ellington's Orchestra, of the round and warm sounds of Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, of the trumpet high flyers Roy Eldridge, Charlie Shavers, Dizzy. Heck I even loved me some classic fusion. Add to that Ray Charles, some classic rock (polish band SBB and Niemen!) polish jazz series (Stanko, Komeda, Namyslowski!). It's not any news, but I love music.

I'm planning on restoring more regular activity although possibly a formula will change a bit (no details yet to specify). For the nearest future the main topic will be yet another edition of Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival - probably the only polish festival so clearly dedicated to the avant/free/improvised face of modern jazz.

I'll get to the whole schedule soon but for now you need to know that the festival is starting this Sunday with an open-air concert of The EX and Brass Unbound.

I didn't get to cover any of the recent big events in Krakow (particularly Sacrum Profanum festival) but bear in mind also another musical series that start today - Festival of Film Music will propose to you orchestra performance of the music from Gladiator, scores from video-games and much more.

The more avant-guarde projects of the festival are AlterFMF series in Malopolska Art Garden among which:

25.09. Europa Train Score
a multimedia performance with a large group of musicians among which well known jazzmen Adam Pieronczy, Marcin Oles, krakow-based improviser Michal Dymny, improvising rock-drummer Jakub Rutkowski and many more.

27.09 Trzaska plays Smarzowski 
Mikolaj Trzaska needs no introduction to this blog's readers - he'll perform the music he composed to Wojtek Smarzowski - but make no mistake, these are no background melodies but compositions filled with guts.

27.09 Also of interest and more on the ambitious electronica side is a Saturday One Louder mini-fest with Thaw, Stara Rzeka (Old River), X-Navi:ET amd Artur Rominski at Alchemia

28.09 The EX & Brass Unbound on Plac Nowy (KRAKOW AUTUMN JAZZ BEGINS)
An exciting ensemble The EX with the energetic horn section of the best of the best in screaming jazz Mats Gustafsson, Ken Vandermark and Roy Paci. A smash evening guranteed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 18-24.08

I've been recently bitten by the vinyl bug again and in these weeks of absence on the blog I've been listening abundantly to the greats of swing & bop era, the wonderful sounds of Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Shavers, Howard McGhee, Roy Eldridge, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington and many more.
I'll try to recover and get back to more recent releases soon. In the meantime, Krakow can provide you with some quality live music as always.

18.08 Gaweda / Fortuna Experiment at Piec'ART
Piano/drums duo is definitely not the most common of duo settings but one that can produce brilliant music (from the top of my head two completely different examples - Cecil Taylor / Max Roach and Danilo Rea / Stefano Gatto). Given that Gaweda and Fortuna are the top class of jazz youth in Cracow I think their experiment can give good results.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Elisha / Rubin / Elisha - East of Jaffa [OutNowRecordings]

Ehran Elisha - drums
Harold Rubin - clarinet
Haim Elisha - piano

OutNow Recordings 2011

The 24th Krakow Jewish Festival, barely behind us*, is a perfect pretext to have a look at Israeli improvising scene. OutNow Recordings is based in Tel Aviw and managed by Yoni Kretzmer (a might sax player himself, you may find reviews of his cds "Overlook"  and the Brooklyn based 2 Bass Quartet's "Weight" on the blog) and guitarist Ido Bukelman (with a couple of fine releases on his own as well). However when the label was launched back in 2011 the premiere releases were two sessions with the drummer Ehran Elisha. I've written a while ago about his duo with Roy Campbell "Watching Cartoons with Eddie" but the trio "East of Jaffa" is well worth a look back.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kraków Concert Schedule 11-17.08 / DotArt in Krakow

There are two concerts that stand out among the regular jam/jazz sessions on jazz clubs this week so without further ado:

11.08 Slawek Pezda / Mateusz Gaweda Duo at Piec'ART
An adventurous duo tha travels throughout the lands of modern jazz with free spirit. Very recommended.

15.08 Janusz Muniak Quartet at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
Once among the avantguardists of polish jazz scene, Janusz Muniak is now a legend that feels comfortable with the world of sultry, classic jazz. The tone and feeling and maestry.

Beside jazz music I recommend to you to visit a few places where my hombre Stefano Ambroset will bring a selection of pictures from the international photo competition DotART. The exhibitio will open:

10.06 Pracownia Pod Baranami
12.06 Alchemia
13.06 Pierwszy Lokal...
14.06 Betel Cafe
15.06 Konfederacka 4

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Andrew Cyrille - The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note [CAM] part 2

This is the second half of the text dedicated to the Andrew Cyrille's box which is the part of the brilliant series "The complete and remastered recordings on Black Saint and Soul Note. Check the previous post
for the complete overview of the set.

Andrew Cyrille with Jimmy Lyons
Nuba (1979; Black Saint)
Something in Return (1988; Black Saint)
Andrew Cyrille - drums, percussion; Jeane Lee - voice, poetry (on Nuba only); Jimmy Lyons - alto saxophone

Definitely the most "out" releases in the pack, especially the "Nuba" with Lee's idiosyncratic singing and poetry. Very artistic, spacious and spare playing of the three, completing each others timbres and registers. Lyon, who is criminally undervalued,  with his pure alto sound is a particular treat (check the frenetic, scattered lines in "Sorry"). Lee's voice is clearly an acquired taste but her contribute to the music is undeniable, which doesn't happen that often within the "jazz and poetry" format.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Andrew Cyrille - The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint & Soul Note [CAM] part 1

The Black Saint & Soul Note box series is a way to acquire some amazing and long out of print music at a bargain place. I presented in the past on the blog the boxes with music by Julius Hemphill and David Murray Octet. The Andrew Cyrille box have been in my tracklist almost non-stop for over a month, along with the Miles Davis volume 3 of the bootleg series I wrote about in the previous post. The 7cds in the package can be divided further accordingly to the personnel:

Andrew Cyrille and Maono Quartet
Metamusician's Stomp (1978; Black Saint)
Special People (1981; Soul Note)
Andrew Cyrille - drums, percussion, foot; Ted Daniel - trumpet, flugelhorn, woof flute, foot; Nick DiGeronimo - bass, foot; David S. Ware - tenor saxohone, flute, foot

As soon as "Metamusician's Stomp" starts with its earthy, african groove and joyful chords it's clear why all the musicians are credited with playing "foot" along their respective instruments. You just can't stay still when the melody is dancing around you. Daniel's trumpet thrills are shining but so is the hefty tenor sound by Ware, the round and swift bass played with swag by Di Geronimo and Cyrille's incessant pulse on drums. 
Both cds are immense pleasure and joy to listen to and constitute possibly the most accessible recordings David S. Ware ever made (check the lyrical and slowly moving "My Ship" or charming "A Girl Named Rainbow"), his robust, energetic tone and dynamic outbursts seem to be the perfect fit for this quartet whose music is clearly inspired by the african roots of jazz music. Both albums are filled with strong themes, muscular yet graceful playing, sunny sounds, joyful swing and happy thoughts.

still with Ted Daniel
The Navigator (1983; Soul Note)
Andrew Cyrille - percussion; Ted Daniel - trumpet; flugelhorn; Sonelius Smith - piano; Nick DiGeronimo - bass

No David S. Ware on this one, instead we have Sonelius Smith on the piano. The set is an advanced post-bop jazz, with a deeply resonating blues vibe and and late night jam feeling. Smith's piano playing is elegant, impressionistic and very versatile for which the title track is a great example - lyrical at the beginning, sharp and poignant at the end, with a cutting trumpet solo on the top. Daniel fronts the band with panache and poise and the music is stirring nicely, with plenty of going on to keep your interest. A great set of mainstream jazz that should be appreciated on the both sides of the "free or not" barricade. A ballad "So that life can endure...ps. with Love" with romantic piano intro and warm and sweet flugelhorn tune is a charm.

given the length of the text I decided to divide it into two parts, check the next post for the complete overview.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 21-27.7

Last three weeks have been overly intense when it comes to music events, so you may take a breath and relax for the next weekend. For the lovers of a mainstream sound Summer Jazz Festival is still on with the are daily jam sessions and concer

20-24 Daily Jam Sessions at Piec'ART by teachers and students of Summer Jazz Academy

24.07 Scratch Nerds at Alchemia
open turntable jam session at Alchemia, bring your LPs, bring your decks, bring yourself and enjoy yourself.

27.07 Slawek Jaskulke Trio at Harris Piano Jazz Bar (part of Summer Jazz Festival)
Jaskułke is definitely one of the strong voices of polish piano jazz scene, he can be very lyrical (especially in a solo setting) and enjoy crossing the boundaries of jazz, vide his orchestra project, or the modern grooves he plays with the trio.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

23th Warsaw Summer Jazz Days summary

I've got a a problem with managing expectations toward festivals with "jazz" in their name. Now to me jazz music is something exciting, vital, invigourating. Something that should engage and challenge you emotionally and intellectually. It seems nowadays that the term means most of all pleasant. Which is ok. You can enjoy pleasant. But it's also can leae you with a bit of boring aftertaste. But, as I said, that's my problem of not being able to manage expectations correctly.

Four days in Warsaw were packed with jazz. Most of which swinged nicely. Little of which brought real excitement onto the stage. But there where some moments of smiley "wow", and "niiice" among the general "ok" toe tapping and, worst case scenario "meeh". 

To the point. Let's talk about the "niiice". The memory of the festival's last day is most fresh and Gregory Porter made it a success. If you're interested in jazz music and don't know yet who's the guy it means you've been hiding under the rock lately. Claimed the new hope of vocal jazz and Blue Note records, Porter can deliver some fantastic songs. Not afraid to mix blues, soul, gospel influences with jazz, he has a ladykiller smooth, silky, deeeep voice and plenty of energy on the stage. But also a fine band behind and some great songwriting to go with it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 16.07-20.07

The return to Krakow from Warsaw was tough (I'll try to gather my thoughts on 24th Warsaw Summer Jazz Days in a next post). The recurrent theme in Krakow for the next two weeks is still the Summer Jazz Festival, I don't see any favourites in the schedule this week though with one possilbe exception - final concert of international competition dedicated to Zbigniew Seifet might prove to be quite interesting, especially for fans of jazz violin.
There's one other thing going on though. Crossroads festival is focused on music with ethnic roots, yet not afraid to cross the cultural and geographic boundaries. A few very strong points in the schedule to see (make sure to check the entire program, what's below is just a selection).

the comments will be very skippy this time, enjoy the music videos.

16.07 Mosaik at Galicia Jewish Museum (part of Crossroads Festival)
first stop on the journey, quite appropriately - Poland.

17.07 Ernst Reijseger / Mola Sylla / Harmen Fraaje at Synagoga Tempel (part of Crossroads Festival)
classicaly trained european musicians (and fierce improvisers) meet traditional Senegal music. A must-see of the week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Miles Davis - Miles at the Fillmore. Miles Davis 1970: The Bootleg Series vol. 3 [Columbia]

Miles Davis on Fillmore East, June 17-20. 1970 and Filmore West, April 11. 1970
Miles Davis - trumpet
Steve Grossman - tenor sax, soprano sax
Chick Corea - electric piano
Keith Jarrett - organ, tambourine (Fillmore East only)
Dave Holland - bass
Jack DeJohnette - drums
Airto Moreira - percussion, flute, vocal

Columbia / Legacy 2014

Make no mistake, I won't try to add anything incisive nor original to what's been written and said about Miles Davis or about this particular set for that matter. Nor Miles Davis nor Sony Music are in need of additional promotion on my side. It's just that this set is one of the reasons behind the lack of any new reviews on the blog for the past two months or so because it hardly ever left my player so I thought I should just write a bit so I could get past it. 

The simply fact is that that this box and its 4 cds is a bomb. Over 4 hours of material, never previously available in unedited form, presenting one of XXth century music geniuses in peak form with a groundbreaking band. The liner notes by Michael Cuscuna will provide with you plenty of information as well as some social context for the concerts while a separate poster presents snippets of the press of the era that was clearly conflicted regarding Miles' status. Davis was partly antagonizing jazz audience while flirting with the young and hip rock crowd, fresh after the release of epic "Bitches Brew".

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Neta Elkayam Howa Jani at Tempel Synagogue / The Angelcy at Cheder Cafe (Jewish Culture Festival day 8 and day 10)

That was the last concert in the Tempel's Synagogue of this year's edition of the festival. Part of the "classic" side of the program, although the music certainly didn't sound too classic for the european ears.

Neta Elkayam and her band are part of the revival of Moroccan music with its ecstatic rhythms and exotic melodies. The petite singer has a most charming smile, a strong voice and unlimited energy on stage. The muisicians follow her bravely, the piano and bass adding a bit of classical, slighly jazz touch along the percussive madness and cutting violin solos.

Neta would talk about how the music is not only for the sould but also for the body, and there was certainly a solid group beside the stage dancing, not able (and not willing) to resist the groove. For me, among the more dance-oriented concerts of the week, Howa Jani band was among the most soulful performances. With a modern approach but keeping intact the mysterious element of music. Ecstatic yet meditative.  

TheAngelcy closed the festival with a concert in a very overcrowded Cheder Cafe. The air was filled with sweat, and sounds that made it more than worthwhile to stay inside. The group's cleary indebted to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and to all the anti-war pets of the era but also modern songwriters (I'm thinking of groups like The Shins or Zero 7).
The music they play is modest and hearftelt, at times melancholic, at others quite joyful, always utterly charming. I'm listening through the band's debut "Exit Inside" and just can't put the cd away. It's simply a collection of beautiful songs. Put to words, it seems too simple, yet its simplicity like this can be priceless.

Oh my darling babe,
take me in your arms,
don't let me be a stranger.
Oh I wish I'd find
a giant heart to crawl up inside and sleep,
where everything is still,
where there is no war,
where everything is one.
In your arms, where everything is one,
In your arms I shine
(from the song "Giant Heart")

Howa Jani:
Neta Elkayam - vocal; Amit Hai Cohen - piano; Elad Levi - violin; Netanel Ben Shitrit - darbuka; Moske Bakhar - oud; Gal Maestro - double bass; Meir Amar - percussions

Tempel Synagogue. 04.07.2014. 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

Rotem Bar Or - vocal, guitar; Maya Lee Roman - viola, voice; Aner Paker - double bass; Maayan Zimry - percussion; Udi Naor - percussion; Uri Marom - clarinet, flute, vocal

Cheder Cafe. 06.07.2014. 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 7-13.07

We have not yet even finished the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival (last concert tonight) and we begin today the 19th edition of the Summer Jazz Festival at Piwnica Pod Baranami with New Orlean's jazz parade at Rynek Główny. While the festival is mainly focused on traditional and mainstream jazz, there are few names that should be of interest to followers of the freer paths in jazz. This week the main three events of the festival this week are
New Orleans Jazz Sunday
Inaugural concert with Wlodek Pawlik's grammy winning project "Night In Calisia"
Night of Jazz with a dozen concerts all around on Saturday the 12th.

Plus, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days starts in a few days. Ain't life great?

07.07 Dustin Carlson Krakow Trio at Piec'ART
Straight from Brooklyn's improvised music scene to Krakow to play with Slawek Pezda and Damian Niewinski for what's bound to be an exciting set.

09.07 Wlodek Pawlik Trio with Randy Brecker & Krakow Philharmony Orchestra - Night in Calisia (inaugral concert of the Summer Jazz Festival)
Although Summer Jazz Festival starts few days earlier, this will be the one big event to open it with a blast. Wlodek Pawlik with Randy and the orchestra will perform Pawlik's grammy winning project "Night In Calisia". It sure will be a majestic music.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Nor Cold - Nor Cold [Multikulti]

Nor Cold:
Olgierd Dokalski - tumpet, project concept
Wojciech Kwapiński - guitar
Oori Shalev - drums, percussion
Zeger Vandenbussche -saxophones, clarinet, Jew's harp

Multikulti 2013

For all the incredible diversity and richness of the 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival I am a bit dissapointed with the lack of representation of the new polish jewish music. In the previous years the festival would present to its international audience such bands as Shofar, Cukunft, Alte Zachen, Ircha Clarinet Quartet or Riverloam Trio (it's no coincidence of course all of the aforementioned feature either Raphael Roginski or Mikolaj Trzaska or both - no doubt two of the most prominent figures of the rising scene). In order to make up for it, I invite you to check the below albums which I believe to be among the most successful entries in the genre within the last years:

And now let's move to Nor Cold which is thus added to the above list. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Shabari / A-WA at Tempel Synagogue (24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival day 6)

A very anticipated concert by Frank London and crew. Sharabi, which is the name of the project, means intoxicated and the term is open for both very heavenly and earthly interpretations which reflects the a nature of life. The idea of the project relates closely to the idea of the entire festival - and is that of the meeting (between cultures, generations, traditions ecc). Two leaders and two vocalists represented two cultural circles - that of klezmer music (Frank London and Sarah Gordon) and punjabi bhangra (Deep Singh and Manu Naryan). Both would be garnished with a bit funk.
I believe there is little doubt about what klezmer stands for. Punjabi bhangra is the music and the dance of Indian immigrants, a meeting, again, of the tradition of land of the fathers and inevitably that of the land of sons. (Just so you could get a more clear picture of the style, below one of the songs that appeared during the concert that I believe you're familiar with).

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Erik Friedlander / Daniel Zamir Quartet at Tempel Synagogue (24th Krakow Jewish Festival day 4 and 5)

I'm waiting impatiently for tonight's concert by Sharabi project with Frank London and Deep Singh. I believe Frank London is a crucial person to the Radical Jewish Music ever since the mighty Hasidic New Wave. He's as well crucial to the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival having played part in probably every edition of the festival, did you know 1998 performance by the Hasidic New Wave was released by Not Two records?

Few words only about last two evenings. Not too many since you can watch the concerts yourselves on the festival's web channel which is far better than reading others' thoughts on it and I invite you to follow the live transmissions during the week.

Erik Friedlander began the week with a beautifully intimate solo performance a suite "Songs of Scribes" he was commissioned to write by Jewish Museum in New York for an exhibition of manuscripts of jewish, christian and muslim sacred texts. 
The music felt like a beam of light in the dark space, shining with beutiful harmony. Be it the symmetry of medieval madrigals, the emotivity of folk dances like tarantella.  Friedlander's performance was delivered with profound maestry of the instrument, grace and kindness. You could play a shoestring, Coltrane used to say, if you're sincere. It doesn't hurt to be a virtuoso on the top of that as well.

Daniel Zamir used front a dynamic trio Satlah that would shake the jewish music in the key of the free jazz. This year he came back to Krakow with a mainstream jazz combo and with a clearly mainstream project "Saxophonist on the roof". Can you imagine a more iconic culture "text" than the epic soundtrack of the "Fiddler on the roof"? Ironically, the music itself, has little to do with authentic folklore but nevertheless it become one of the cultural lenses through which we look at the jewish culture. 
Zamir and his cohorts would re-interpret the hit songs from the musical in the key of modern jazz, they'd just enough harmonic complexity to the original material and groove to make it all work fine. Bit too elegant, bit too smooth for my taste, but personal preferences aside, sparks were flying with the streaming solos of the leader on the soprano and Omri Mor on the piano. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser and the crowd wanted more, including some chanted call&response. I'd be too much of a cynic to not honestly enjoy "If I were a rich man" with the funky groove. 

Check the quartet's concert on the festival's channel, meanwhile let's jog our memories with the music by Satlah.

Erik Friedlander - cello
Tempel Synagogue. 30.06. 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

Daniel Zamir Quartet
Daniel Zamir - soprano saxophone, voce; Omri Mor - piano; Gilad Abro - double bass; Amir Bressler - drums
Tempel Synagogue. 01.07. 24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 30.06-06.07

The week is pretty filled up with the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival about which more in the previous post. Still, for those willing to look elsewhere, there are some alternatives.

03.07 Bartek Prucnal Quartet at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
Bartek Prucnal is clearly one of the most promising jazz saxophonists out there. The quartet will consist of Mateusz Gaweda on piano, Adam Szwugier on bass and Dawid Fortuna on drums wchich should make for a pretty explosive mix.

3-4.07 N.A.K. at Piec'ART
A trio with widely recognized Jacek Kochan and one of the most gifted youn pianists on polish scene Dominik Wania, Michal Kupczyk on bass completes the band. I've no idea about any details of this particular projects but these musicians are bound to come up with something interesting.

05.07 Ida Zalewska and Kuba Pluzek Trio at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
Kuba Pluzek is developing a very strong voice as a leader but he's also a very accomplished accompanist to the elegant and classy voice of Ida Zalewska. It will be smooth and fun evening at Harris.

 06.07 Karl Culley and Friends with Andy Baily at Piekny Pies
An interesting singer/songwriter clearly inspired by the classics of the acoustic genre.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Krakow Jewish Culture Festival musical recommendations.

I wholeheartedly invite you all to absorb all the variety of the festival. Nonetheless, my particular interest goes obviously toward the musical part of the program, and the "off" half of it, rather than classical.

28/29.06 Liron Amram and the Panthers at Barka "Sobieski" (8pm)
As is very common in this cultural circle, Liron Amram, grew surrounded by music, his father being one of the stars of yemenite music. He reinterpretes thoses songs in melodies in the language of 70's dub, electronica and groove. East meets West, etno meets oldschool. Party guaranteed.

30.06 Erik Friedlander "Songs of the Scribes" at Synagoga Tempel (8pm)
This musician is no stranger to any follower of improvised music. Merging classical sound with radical approach, most known for his work with John Zorn (Bark Kohba Sexter, Masada String Trio) but polish listener can remember him as well from the "Chamber Quintet" with Oleś Brothers. The concert will be the european premiere of his solo suite.
A meeting with the artist will be held at 4pm at Cheder Cafe.

30.06-04.07 Midnite Session at Alchemia  (12pm)
A traditional daily late night jam session that will rock Alchemia from the midnite till the early morning hours. Every midnight of the week.

Friday, June 27, 2014

24th Krakow Jewish Culture Festival starts today!

One of the biggest annual events in Krakow, and one of the biggest events of its kind in the world - 24th edition of Krakow Jewish Culture Festival starts today and will last till the next Sunday. 
Over the course of 10 days, Krakow citizens and thousands of guests of the city will have a full immersion course into the jewish culture. 
Cinema, city, history, philosophy, kitchen, traditional dance as well as modern club sessions and last but not least music, both classical and modern. 
I, Jazz Alchemist am the most interested in the last ingredient of the mix and tomorrow I'll try to run you through the musical part of the program of the festival.

In the meantime you can check the festival's website for more details as well as this link for the posts about the 2013 edition.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Kraków Concert Schedule 23-29.06

You get to relax for the first few days of the week, but coming thursday, there's a lot to see. There will be a separate post dedicated to the program of Krakow Jewish Festival, below are the events not related to it in any way, that seem to deserve your attention as well.

26-27.05 Significant Time at Piec'ART
A Norwegian quartet with a fresh and bit quirky approach to vocal jazz formula. A lot of fun, definitely unorthodox, joyfull and vivacious. The band is: Signe Irene Time – vocal, Øyvind Dale – piano, Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson- Bass, Raymond Lavik – Drums.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Double invite to Galieria i!

Galeria i! is slowly becoming the busiest underground (not literally) space for free improv performances in Krakow, Let me pass the invite for the next two evenings.

20.06 Sympli Romantiko - Denis Kolokol, Ernest Ogorek and Tomek Choloniewski

How it would be to actually touch the sounds or the perceive them as other physical objects? The trio tries to find and answer to that question with Denis Kolokol playing music through body movements along with Krakow's very own Ernest Ogorek on bass and Tomek Choloniewski on drums.

21.06 Institute of Intuition with Kamil Szuszkiewicz

Institute of Intuition will be represented by Rafal Mazur on acoustic bass and Tomek Choloniewski on drums. The guest, for a solo and trio set, will be Kamil Szuszkiewicz on trumpet, whose debut cd "Prologomena" I praised on the blog a while ago. It will be hard to squeeze the concert in between all that'll be goin around during the Wianki - Feast of Music, but it should be definitely worth it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 16-22.05 / Wroclaw Art of Improvisation Creative Festival

Not so much during the week, one concert "for something completely else", along with your regular nights at the jazz clubs. However the weekend will be a musical feast. A massive Wianki in Krakow for a lot of fun while Wroclaw will provide a more intimate context for the improvising music.

I'm also waiting for a confirmation on two possible Art of Intuition performances in Galeria i!

19.05 Sunday Pagans at Piekny Pies
Traditional multi-voice folk songs filtered through modern drum'n'bass, electro, dub trance nd else. Sounds like a freaky mix? That's the way I like it.

21.05. Wianki - Fete' de la musique in Krakow
The annual feast this year, instead of one big scene below Wawel castle will have a different formula this year. A number of open air stages and clubs will be involved and audience will be able to enjoy concerts of classical music, traditional jazz, club music events, indie rock, reggae and else.

The whole program can be consulted here. My reccomendation would go for alternative scene on Plasc Szczepanski with

Samech - the neo-classical quartet, mostly inspired by the tradition of jewish music, the second polish band in the internationally appreciated Tzadik label
Peter J Birch - bluesy and folksy acoustic americana
Patrick The Pan - melancholy indie
Zbigniew Wodecki with Mitch & Mitch Orchestra and Choir - a full-time retro show with funk and twist and whole lotta fun.
Silent Disco - curated by the Unsound Festival

There are other club events sparged through the city
Alchemia party with DJ set by two turntablists Wake Up and Lapsky along with Slawek Pezda on sax and Marcin Polanski on drums. DJ Jam with DJ Krime and Pauza Klub or ad DJ set with Macio Moretti and Bartłomiej Tyczynski in Bomba.

20-22.05 Art Of Improvisatoin Creative Festival at CK Agora, Wrocław

Another edition (3rd I think) of the multidisciplinary Art of Improvisation Creative Festival in Wrocław
will inspire art lovers this weekend. The focus is on music and the program is really strong, with performances from Matthew Shipp Trio, Matte Rasmusen trio with Alan Silva, Marcin Masecki, Kamil Szuszkiewicz and Hubert Zemler duo or new polish - german quartet Second Exit.

For the whole program and details visit the festival's website here

Sunday, June 8, 2014

We seem to have bypassed spring directly into summer. A perfect time to go out and enjoy oneself. Below some suggestions for the next week.

12.06 Unusual History of Ether at Alchemia
The dark and moody songs by this unusual group remind me a little bit of Nick Cave. A stamp of approval from the ILK label bodes well.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 04-08.05

It's been a long and intense weekend, sorry the schedule is a little late bu here it is for the remaining part of the week including a must-see DVA concert.

05.06 DVA at Klub RE
A crazy duo from Czech, voice, electronica, loops, guitar, clarinet. DVA has an unique sound and absolute charisma on stage. I wrote about their performance in Alchemia a few years back and it remains one of the best live acts I can think of.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 26.05-01.06

Are you up for the next week with plenty of music?

26-27.05 Mopti at Piec'ART
Straight from Scandinavia but clearly inspired by the warm African sound. Double night with young quintet.

27.05 Ghedalia Tazartes at Alchemia
A music of journey by mystic nomad who croesses boundaries of musican genres and times.

27.05 Institute of Intuition with Tomek Gadecki at Galeria i!
Part of the Paulina Owczarek and Tomek Gadecki SamBar tour. Our guest from Gdansk will join the Krakow workshop group with Michal Dymny, Tomek Choloniewski, Rafal Mazur and Paulina. (The concert starts at 7pm so it's perfectly possible to catch before going to Alchemia).

28.05 The Mob Fixing Freedom at Piekny Pies
Straight from Vienna a melodic punk trio will fix you freedom.

30.05. Pixar in Concert at Krakow Arena
for something completely different. Inagural concert at the Krakow Arena especially for the children's day. Orchestral performances of the music known to the younger ones (and the ones not so young anymore) from the modern classics of animation. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

01.06 Francois Carrier, Michel Lambert and Rafal Mazur at Alchemia
The french guests need no introduction, nor, to any reader of the blog, does Rafal Mazur. We'll see what will come out of their meeting.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 19-25.05 / Green Zoo Festival

I've complained last week about lack of events. I should've better kept my mouth shut. You better gather your strenghths in the first few days of the next week because starting thursday there are places to be and the number of difficult choices can melt your brain.

22-25 Green Zoo Festival IV
Green Zoo Festival is presents 10 events within three days, dedicated to all sides of the alternative in music. Indie rock, pop, electronica, experimental, improvisation. There will be techno, hip hop, dance along with free improvisation. You name it. Most of the names in the schedule remain unknown to me but you can trust the selection. The concerts of most interest from jazz ear perspective are listed below:

22.05. Mikrokolektyw at Klub Re (Green Zoo Festival)
Artur Majewski andKuba Suchar duo is internationally recognised for their mixture of acoustic and electronic improvisation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 12-18.05 edit - Jozefinska 21 encore

The previous list was posted too early to include invites for two interesting events in the alternative space at Jozefinska 21 which has become a sort of community center in the Podgorze area.

14.05 Institute of Intuition series vol. 3 - Paul N. Roth

Institute of Intuition is another collaborative series featuring guest musicians with Krakow's improvisers. The concert will feature Tomek Choloniewski, Rafal Mazur, Michal Dymny along with Paul N Roth. Attention: starts early - 7pm. 

16.05 Official opening of the space as art gallery "I!" (And!) with Krakow's experimental audio-video unit HiQ (read: haiku). 

The group will include Alek Janicki (multimedia), Maria Janicka (laptop), Rafal Mazur (acoustic bass guitar), Michal Dymny (el. guitar), Michal Gorczyca (electronics), Andrzej Skwarek (el. cello). 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 12-18.05

After four spectacular nights at Pardon To Tu, the next week in Krakow seems very much eventles. There's an electro concert at Alchemia, a punk night at Piekny Pies, but jazz fans are left with the standard everyday concerts of the mainstream venues. Among which the trio below is in my oppinion the most intriguing proposition.

12.05 Matuesz Gaweda Trio at Piec'ART
Mateusz Gaweda with Piotr Poludniak and Dawid Fortuna are among the most active jazz musicians of their generation, still at the very beginning of their artistic paths but well on the road of finding their own musical language.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2 nights with The Thing at Pardon To Tu (04-05.05)

Let us start this time with where rather than who. Pardon To Tu has established itself in the recent
years as the busiest free jazz stage in Poland. Few years back such statement could be made Krakow's Alchemia, now I've came to envy the jazz fans in or Capitol. I believe it's perfectly natural that such places come to live and go, but I what I've witnessed in Pardon To Tu gives reasonable hopes that this particular places will live and love the music for a longer while.
The place, cosy and warm, makes the musicians feel at home, the audience is there, filling the house and listening enthusiastically. The musicians are there in the audience as well, to listen to each other, to learn and to enjoy themselves. Warsaw's free jazz scene is flourishing and Pardon To Tu has become it's hang out space. There's creative impetus around the place and its probably the most important manifestation is how the club tries to participate actively in forming its artistic enviroment, an example of which is the residence series of the "2 nights with" and improvised sets featuring the internationally acknowledged guests playing with polish musicians.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 05-11.05 / Bluessroads Festival / Pardon To Tu visit

The biggest event of the week in Krakow is the double concert with the legend Tomasz Stanko and the rising star of polish jazz scene Marcin Masecki. The two will play two separate concerts on the 7th may in Alchemia. Meanwhile in Warsaw, Pardon To Tu continously reaffirms its position as the best stage for improvised music in Poland. While in Warsaw I'm hoping to finally get some writing done, there are two boxsests than just can't leave my cd player right now which stands in the way of "new releases". I'll let you know what two boxes are they very soon.

07.05 Tomasz Stanko and Marcin Masecki at Alchemia.
The veteran of european jazz and the wild youngster toghether will play two separate sets at 7pm and 9pm. Unpredictable evening is to be expected.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 28.03 - 03.05 / Katowice Jazz Art / Pardon To Tu Marathon

Spring has come and one feels its presence in the air and in the number of concerts happening around.
Below the list of suggestions for Krakow but interesting events will take place also in:
Katowice for the JazzArt Festival (the program includes Dave Douglas & Uric Caine duo, Ellery Eskelin & Dave Liebman Quartet, Anouar Brahem, Kronos Quartet our own Dominik Wania Trio and more).
Pardon To Tu (not really a surprise, the place has become the busiest free-jazz stage in Poland last few seasons). On 28th and 29th the place will hold a mini-festival for the Pop Up magazine (among the musicians Peter Evans and Rapahel Roginski). Between 04.05 and 07.05 the place will be visited by The Thing (2 nights), John Dilkeman and Switchback.

28.03 Sir Richard Bishop at Klub Re
It's not often you get to meet a member of upper class on stage. Sir Richard Bishop's music is for guitar lovers. Not the rock'n'roll, fusion kind of fireworks though. It's minimal, melancholic and focused on mood rather the fingers' speed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 21-27.04 / Lublin Jazz Festival

The Easter is (almost) over and it's time to come back to Krakow for some live music. The main event for the week is the 17th birthday of the Harris Piano Jazz Bar that will be celebrated for a few evenings with Pawel Kaczarczyk's Directions in Music projects.
I also recommed a visit to Lublin, if possible, for the VIth edition of the Lublin Jazz Fest. Especially the Saturday part of the program seems extremely tempting (Satoko Fuji Orchestra) while the biggest star of the festival - Ravi Coltrane - closes the weekend.

Harris Piano Jazz Bart 17th Birithday with Pawel Kaczmarczyk Directions in Music:
24.04. Tribute to Eric Dolphy with Maciej Obara
25.04 Tribute to Dexter Gordon with Piotr Baron
26.04 Tribute to Elis Regina with Maria Alban Juarez

Directions in Music is a series of projects led by Pawel Kaczmarczyk, designed to honor music of some of the most important figures in jazz history, in special, often very surprising arrangements, each edition is featuring a different band and a special guest. The three concerts (the fourth, dedicated to Hancock's Headhunters is taking place next weekend) will present quite a spectrum of jazz histroy. My bet is the most adventurous will be the concert with Maciej Obara but some classy bop and bossa nova should turn out fun as well.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Jazzy Easter 2014

Hans Memling - Scense from the Passion of the Christ (ca 1470)
I wish everyone a peaceful time on the upcoming holidays. May the family, friends and good spirit stay with you. Obviously with good spirit comes good music as well.

I believe any true art is spiritual in a way but I'll take the occasion to re-post a playlist from some time ago, focusing on music with some sort of religious theme and inspiration. I hope you'll enjoy it.

1. Marilyn Crispell Trio - Dear Lord
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 (from "The Hymn Project")
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 The Resurrection)(from "Salve Regina")
12. Undivided - Zmartwychwstanie (Resurrection) (from "Passion")
13. Joachim Mencel Trio - Ezechiel

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cassandra Wilson at Kijow Centrum (13.04 Starzy i Mlodzi Festival)

While the festival Starzy i Mlodzi celebrated its 20th anniversary, Cassandra Wilson, undisputedly the biggest star of this year edition, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the "Blue Light 'Til Dawn".

You kinda know what to expect from a concert like this, there's not much element of surprise, but there's plenty of musical pleasures to enjoy. Most of the vocal stars wannabes think that the important thing is to hit the high notes with ease. Cassandra's voice is low and smooth, her singing seduces, dark and silky, focusing on a emotional depth of the song and not the effective but trivial ornaments.  And the less instruments are filling the background, the better her bluesy voice sounds.

I wouldn't mind in fact that the whole concert would be played by her with Brandon Ross (absolutely precious slide, rural blues sound on the acoustic guitar) and Lonnie Plaxico (noble and groovy). They way the three played the encore "Strange Fruit" was absolutely electrifying (although played acoustically). O the of the many highlights was as well the silky and seductive "You don't know what love is", for the most part a vocal - guitar duo.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

MMW + Nels Client at Manggha (12.03) / Krakow Concert Schedule 13-20.04

Strzy i Mlodzi Festivals fills up the weekend. But before we'll jump to the tonight's big event and tomorrow's finale (and a bonus round on tuesday) I feel a definite need to write up few sentences about yesterday. 
Medeski Martin & Wood rock. Actually that's an understatement. They groove, they're hip, funky. They're just so much fun to ride along. Chris Wood's is dancing on his toes with the bass and together with Billy Martin they just create an unstoppable groove machine. Medeski jumps with his fingers over the four keyboards around him like a posessed man, toying with registers, timbres. Retro? If we want to play word games it's post-retro. The trio is obviously fascinated with the sound of the 60' and 70' jazz-rock but they play fresh and vigorous. 
There are no composed forms in the traditional, song-like sense. We travel through abstract bridges but once we hit the groove, that's all there is. Groove and infinite layers of textures. Nels Cline adds a bit of gutiar whizz (very cool use of electronics, while the pyrotechnic solos were a had a bit of too much fusion inside for my taste). 
Fellow jazz journalists had a chance to spoke with John Medeski before the concert and he confirmed his polish origins, apparently he's not the only one in the band either - Billy Martin's mom was pole as well. Best polish jazz band in the world? One thing is for sure - they put the fun(k) back in jazz. It was a hell of a joyful ride.

John Medeski - hammond B3, klavinet, wurlitzer piano, moog
Chris Wood - double bass, bass guitar
Billy Martin - drums, percussion
Nels Cline - guitar, electronics

12.03 Manggha. Krakow. Starzy i Mlodzi Festival

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Peggy Lee Band - Invitation [Drip Audio]

The Peggy Lee Band:
Brad Turner - trumpet and flugelhorn
Jon Bentley - tenor saxophone
Jeremy Berkman - trombone
Peggy Lee - cello
Ron Samworth - electric, acoustic and 12-string guitars
Tony Wilson - electric guitar
Andre Lachance - electric bass
Dylan van der Schyff - drums and percussion

Drip Audio 2012

We've spent over a month in sunny Italy, we're going now to Vancouver but have no fear - the weather stays bright and warm and it's because The Peggy Lee Band invites us for a musical journey back to Africa.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Krakow Concert Schedule 07-13.04

Quite a packed week ahead of as, including the Starzy i Mlodzi (Old and Young - Jazz in Krakow) festival with especially delicious looking weekend schedule.

08.04. The Sleeping Tree at Alchemia
(also 10.04 at Pracownia pod Baranami)
Sleeping Trio is Giulio Frausin with a collection of intimate acoustic songs. Happy and sad, touching and delicate. Music for a soothing evening.

09.04 Free Cooperation at Piec'ART
Free Cooperation was on the rather monotonous scene of 80s polish jazz sign of a new wave coming. Fresh, energetic, wild. Big band, with elements of free, fusion as well as folk or reggae. The group disbanded in 1988 after their second release and now it's back, with the veterans (Ziut Gralak, Yanina, Mateusz Pospieszalski, Alek Korecki, Bronek Duzy, Henryk Gembalski, Marcin Pospieszalski, Wojtek Czajkowski) will be joined by some yung cats. I've no idea how this many people will fit on Piec'ART stage but it will be most definitely interesting to see whether the group will rise triumphantly from the ashes.

10.04 Bartek Pieszka Quartet at Harris Piano Jazz Bar
I remember couple years back during Krakow Jazz Juniors, otherwise blant and uneventful, one duo caught my ear and it was Bartek Pieszka on vibraphone with Nikola Kolodziejczyk on piano. The music they played was melodic, rich and colorful. It had cinematic quality, it engaged listener in a telling of a mysterious story. 

10.04 Straight Prezidents Show - Gonzo and the Presidents / Straight Jack Cat at Alchemia
Two young bands that are just a presentation of a much wider phenomenon. Loud, noisy and dirty rock'n'roll is thriving in Poland and guitars are surfing musical waves.

12.04 Medeski, Marin & Wood with Nels Clien at Manghha (Starzy i Mlodzi Festival)
one of the baddest hippiest and grooviest trios around with Nels Cline, there will be a lot of fun no doubt, in the meantime I'm listening to the funky tunes the group played with John Scofield, music with hight toe-tapping factor.

13.04 Cassandra Wilson at Mangghs (Starzy i Mlodzi Festival).
true lady of jazz. No introduction is needed I think. Standards, blues, folk tunes - whatever it will be, Cassandra's voice makes it sound good.