Ewa Bem —
Be a Man ... LP PolskieNagrania (Poland), 1981. Very Good+ ...
Straight ahead and swinging jazz vocals from Ewa Bem – a session that's sung both in English and her native Polish, and which features backings by the lively Swing Session combo, led by trumpeter Henryk Majewski! Tracks are mostly short and upbeat, and although the standards here are familiar and done with a tone that's a bit too eighties at times, the other Polish numbers are pretty darn great – colored with deeper tones and more imagination than the English numbers, in a way that makes us wish we understood the language! Titles include "Tylko Dni", "Wyznanie Wieczorne", "Dzien Dobry Mr Blues", "Groovin High", "The Man I Love", and "Rob To Co Chcesz". LP, Vinyl record album
One of the best early recordings from this legendary European Jazz Festival – and a set that also features some amazing young work from the great John Tchicai – already making a big name for himself overseas! Side one features Tchicai on alto in a group put together by jazz critic Jorgen Leth – who doesn't play in the group himself, but has an ear excellent enough to also include Max Burel on baritone sax, Niels Bronsted on piano, Bjorn Alke on bass, and Rune Carlsson on drums. The two tracks on that side – "Blue Monk" and "Night In Tunisia" – feature great extended solos by Tchicai and Bruel – a player we only know from a few other records, but who reallys parkes here. The second half of the set features a group led by guitarist Igor Caplinsky – playing in a cool, breezy style alongside the tight sounds of a trio that features Wojciech Karolak on piano, Juliusz Sandecki on bass, and Andrzej Dabrowski on some mighty lively drums! The combo plays versions of "Out Of Nowhere" and "Moonlight In Vermont". CD
An incredible record from Jerzy Milian – easily one of the hippest vibes players in Europe in the 60s, and a key member of the Polish jazz scene that also included Krzystof Komeda and Tomasz Stanko! The album's an extremely evocative session that features Milian's vibes and marimba mostly in a spare trio setting – stepping out with a highly chromatic tone that has echoes of Bobby Hutcherson's straighter Blue Note work of the 60s, but which also flows out with a unique sense of color and timing. A few tracks feature great wordless vocals from singer Ewa Wanat of the Novi Singers – drifting along with the tunes in a haunting way that has a bit of a soundtrack feel – and the album also features a bit of guest flute from Janusz Mych. Titles include "Bazar W Aszchabadzie", "Tempus Jazz 67", "Serial Rag", "Valse Ex Cathedra", and "My Favourite Band". CD features four rare bonus tracks – "Valse Ex Cathedra", "Song Polly", "Nokturn", and "Serial Rag". CD
Janusz Muniak —
Placebo ... LP PolskieNagrania (Poland), 1982. Near Mint- ...
Features Muniak on soprano and tenor sax – plus Wojciech Puszek on Fender Rhodes! LP, Vinyl record album
A fantastic set from Polish jazz musician Wlodzimierz Nahorny – a player with a name that's certainly a mouthful, but one with talents who will also leave you breathless! Nahorny shines here on a number of different instruments – with solos on alto sax, flute, and piano – plus some cool harpsichord on one track too – all set to the sophisticated backings of Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski, who was easily one of Poland's hipper arrangers of the time! The album's got a mix of jazz and orchestration's that's as hip as some of the late 60s CTI sessions – particularly during their years with A&M Records – or with a vibe that's a bit like some of the later Stan Getz projects on Verve, with all the cool, sophisticated touches that would imply! Tracks are all Polish numbers, done instrumentally – which makes for an especially fresh feel to the set – and titles include "Obok Nas", "Wlasnie Tego Dnia", "Jej Portret", "Taki Dzien", and "Mowity Mu". CD also features 6 more bonus tracks from Polish Radio performances a few years before – showing Nahorny in great small combo settings! CD
Some of the best jazz work by Polish composer Komeda – all on one CD! The set's broken into 3 sections – the first of which features early trio work by Komeda, working in a fairly straight, but captivating format on titles that include "Get Out Of Town", "Stella By Starlight", and the original tunes "Fourth" and "Moja Ballada". Next up is some incredible soundtrack work – the score to Roman Polanski's film Knife In Water, featuring 4 off-beat modern tracks performed by Komeda's trio, with guest tenor by Bernt Rosengren. The set includes Komeda's classic "Crazy Girl", plus other original tracks "Typish Jazz", "Ballad For Bernt", and "Cherry". Last up, as kind of a bonus, is the classic 1965 album Astigmatic – one of the landmarks of European jazz in the 60s! The style is incredibly modernist, but with none of the over-indulgences that later plagued the Polish prog-oriented scene, and with none of the non-jazz influences that could stop a session like this dead in the water. Instead, the band grooves nicely throughout – on 3 long tracks all written by Komeda: "Astigmatic", "Kattorna", and "Svantetic". The quintet features 2 of Poland's other great jazz musicians – Tomasz Stanko and Zbigniew Namyslowski, the latter of whom is incredible on this session. 11 tracks in all. CD