Three new Polish jazz releases

Here on Cosmic Jazz we welcome new music from all over the world but – thanks to Steve’s Jazz Sounds – we seem to have a special affinity with new jazz from Poland. We have marvelled before at the amount of excellent new music that emerges from this east European country but it’s really a reflection of a long jazz tradition. O.N.E. Quintet are a group of young musicians with a debut album called – unsurprisingly – One. There are seven tunes on this release: three by sax player Monica Muc, two by pianist Paulina Almanska, one traditional tune and one composition by Krzysztof Komeda – one of the founding fathers of jazz in Poland.

The quintet includes violinist Dominika Rusinowski, who is prominent on the up-tempo number Drozina. So often, Polish jazz appears to attract a melancholy tag – in much the same way as music on the German label ECM. But this is very much not the case with O.N.E Quintet – the sounds are warm and embracing, but there is still the opportunity for soloists to take off. Checkout, for example, sax player Monica Muc here on As Close As Light.

Another debut album – but this time from a squad no less – is Elements, the latest release from the Wojciech Jachna Squad. Jachna is a trumpet player who has been active on the Polish scene for a decade now and has appeared on many albums, mixing the mainstream with the avant-garde. This album is neither. The guitarist Malek Malinowski helps give the album a deep, intense, electric sound. On the tune Checkers 11 the guitar seems to ping off all over the placeuntilthe more becalming and lyrical sounds of Jachna’s trumpet appear. It’s an album full of dark mystery, accentuated by Jachna’s trumpet. Listen to the tune Philosopher’s Waltz and – if you are a philosopher (practising or aspiring) you can dance your own version of a waltz.

The new release Nada is led by guitarist Daniel Popialkiewicz. He’s a composer, lecturer and graduate of the Academy of Music at Katowice with a doctoral dissertation titled Articulation techniques of rock guitarists based on jazz music. Alongside him on these new tracks are Paweł Tomaszewski on piano and keyboards, Robert Kubiszyn on bass and Paweł Dobrowolski on drums.

This is the third album by Polish Jazz guitarist/composer Daniel Popiałkiewicz, recorded in a quartet setting with a stellar lineup consisting of keyboardist Paweł Tomaszewski, bassist Robert Kubiszyn and drummer Paweł Dobrowolski. The ten original compositions on the album are all by Popiałkiewicz and the music is melodic, quirky, and unpredictable. We wonder whether the guitarist is familiar with East London too, given the title of the tune Lea Bridge Road. For more Polish jazz – and music from many other European destinations – head to Steve’s Jazz Sounds and explore.

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