Sunday, February 12, 2017

Andrzej Trzaskowski - 1965 - The Andrzej Trzaskowski Quintet

Andrzej Trzaskowski 
The Andrzej Trzaskowski Quintet

01. Requiem Dla Scotta La Faro [2:47]
02. Synopsis (Expression I, Expression II, Impression) [18:13]
03. Ballada Z Silverowska Kadencja [1:43]
04. Sinobrody [10:22]
05. Post Scriptum [2:44]
06. Wariacja Jazzowa Na Temat 'Chmiela' / 'The Hop'  [11:05]

Polish Jazz vol. 4
Recorded in Warsaw at Polskie Nagrania Studio
January 20-22, 1965 (tracks 1-4), February 18, 1965 (tracks 5-6)

Tomasz Stanko – trumpet
Janusz Muniak – soprano and alto sax
Andrzej Trzaskowski – piano
Jacek Ostaszewski – bass
Adam Jedrzejowski – drums

One thing I like about this is that its off-ness is mostly rhythm-centered as opposed to tone-centered. Sure there's dissonance here and there but most of the things that mark this as "avant-garde" involve Trzaskowski and company's tendency to throw in weird, offbeat emphasis and countermelodies. It's a refreshing alternate take on what it means to push the boundaries.

There's also a lot of lower key explorations that the quintet take in between their more involved pieces. i'm not just talking about the interstitial pieces like "Requiem dla Scota La Faro" and "Post Scriptum," but the moments within the longerpieces where the group quiets down for a spell without breaking the momentum of the piece.

Part of the reason that I'm so taken with the 18 minute "Synopsis" is that it lays out all the groups strengths without feeling like an excuse to do so. Let me try to explain that better: most songs that play as omnibus entries to show off just how many things a given group can do feel somewhat self-congratulatory and unearned. "Synopsis" flows naturally as a song of its own while leading you through the whole of the band's breadth and it's so much better for it.

The other lengthy pieces don't quite match "Synopsis" in scope, but they definitely show that Trzaskowski and his collaborators have an easy chemistry with each other. They've also got a nice playful streak in them as on the closing Polish folk interpretation "Wariacja jazzowa na temat "chmiela"" that makes for a nice ly varied listen.

Truth be told, the shorter pieces here are a bit of a distraction to me. They're more showcases for Tzraskowski alone rather than the quintet, and the quintet is the bigger draw and the most impressive aspect of the release is how they work together. They're not really doing anyhting terribly new and exciting, but their playing as a unit is a joy to witness.