Thursday, November 28, 2013

Made In Chicago Festival in Poznań 29.11-01.12

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

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

Nicole Michell Sun Dial

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

Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed duo

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

Chicago Woj-tet

Liquid Soul

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

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Resonance finale at Manghha - Krakow Autumn Jazz 24.11

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

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

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

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Resonance day 4 at Alchemia - Krakow Autumn Jazz 22.11

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Joachim Kuhn Trio at Jazztopad (17.11)

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

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

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

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

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

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

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

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

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

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

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Krakow Concert Schedule 11-17.11

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

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

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

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

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

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

Consult the schedule at

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

you can check the schedule at

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

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

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

Creative Sources 2012

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

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

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

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

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

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