14 December 2016: eastern European spiritual jazz

The music this week has a religious quality and a calm intensity that allows for reflection, contemplation and even melancholy. Over half of the music came from Eastern Europe and is readily available through Steve’s Jazz Sounds.

monte-alban-adam-pieronczykThe first tune came from the distinguished veteran Polish sax player Adam Pieronczyk. It comes from his 2016 album Monte Alban recorded in Mexico and including a Mexican drummer. There’s a highly distinctive and unusual sound – electronic devices processing the sound of the bass add layers and give an electro-jazz feel. It is gripping, original and a must for free jazz thinkers.

the-beat-freaks-leonWe like to re-visit music on Cosmic Jazz – giving you an opportunity to make an informed evaluation of a new album. For the second week in a row there was a tune from Leon the new Beat Freaks album. They are led by Polish sax player Tomasz Licak who moved from Poland to Copenhagen to study music and remains based there. Again it is distinctive, contemporary, more electro-jazz even.

Valer Miker is a pianist from Slovakia with a trio of drums and bass sometimes augmented by guitar and an album with the interesting title Vibrations, States, Emotions.

Another Polish musician, bass player Pawel Wszolek from Krakow leads a quintet with an album that has a strong religious feel. Indeed, look no further than the title of the album Faith for evidence of this, but the music definitely has religious intensity. Last week we had Psalm 27, this week Powrot Syna. 

There was no let-up from this intensity with a beautiful tune from Gustavsen, Tander and Vespestad from their 2016 album What Was Said. I saw them perform this year in the excellent acoustics of The Apex at Bury St. Edmunds. Very beautiful the music is too, although possibly too precious for some. The minimalist live set could have been longer but you left the show feeling enriched.

The Wajciech Majewski Quintet encapsulates the lyricism and melancholy to be found in so much of Polish jazz and the title of the album Remembrance fits perfectly with the themes of the music in the rest of the show.

Finally, as a tribute to the late Don Rendell who through the Rendell/Carr Quintet first got me into live jazz we featured the classic Dusk Fire, an eternal Cosmic Jazz favourite that epitomises in feel, sound and impact everything this week’s programme of moving music for the heart, mind and soul is all about.

  1. Adam Pieronczyk – The Arrival from Monte Alban
  2. The Beat Freaks –  Bright Eyes from Leon
  3. Valer Miker Trio – From Sunrise to Sunset from Vibrations, States, Emotions
  4. Pawel Wsolek Quintet – Powrot Syna from Faith
  5. Gustavsen, Tander & Vespestad – What Was Said to the Rose/O Sacred Head from What Was Said
  6. Wajciech Majewski Quintet – Zamyslenie from Remembrance
  7. Don Rendell/Ian Carr Quintet – Dusk Fire from Dusk Fire

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