Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Polish Jazz vol. 45 – Complot of Six

   The first wave of modern jazz in Poland was an effect of fast transition from traditional forms modeled on Dixieland patterns to cool and hard bop harmonics and sound constructions. The generation of musicians born before the war and starting their musical activity in 1950’s has been called Polish school and started great tide of jazz in culture of 1960’s. In the seventies, when most jazzmen in the world explored possibilities of fusion music, many artists were trying to connect still bearing hard bop with funk rhythms and short rock phrases. This direction was expanded by some well known artists as well as youngest Polish musicians. And this was a phenomenon one can call the second wave of Polish jazz school. It was not only the issue of generation adherence, although comprising mainly these musicians born after the war and grown up in admiration to the legends of Polish jazz scene. 
   Wrocław was interesting jazz scene with festival of young talents “Jazz nad Odrą” and many active musicians. With Cracow and Warsaw it was one of three most powerful jazz centers in Poland. In Wrocław atmosphere of creative ferment, ensembles were formed and disappeared, giving place to the next generations of bands. The same musicians played in various groups and artistic projects. One of such groups was Spisek sześciu (Complot of Six), one of most popular fusion bands of mid seventies in Poland. It was established in 1972 and made its debut on Jazz nad Odrą festival in 1973. Band was awarded and took place in Jazz nad Odrą 1974 contest winning 1st prize. The same year 1974 Spisek sześciu played in Prerov (Czechoslovakia) where musicians won gold medal and European Extra Class Band designation.

Polish Jazz vol. 45 – Complot of Six (1975)

   After an instant success the new sextet from Wrocław was invited and played in festivals Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw and famous Spanish festival in San Sebastian. But the top achievement of the group happened to be the only album recorded in Wrocław in March 1975 for Polskie Nagrania. It has been published as volume 45 of Polish Jazz series. Musicians were playing as Spisek sześciu in next editions of Jazz nad Odrą in 1975 and 1976 and many other events. But in 1976 the band broke down and three of them started new jazz-rock group Crash. Composer of whole material was leader Włodzimierz Wiński playing tenor and baritone saxophones. Members of the ensemble were trumpet player Zbigniew Czwojda, trombonist Leszek Paszko, pianist Bogusław Razik, bass guitarist Andrzej Pluszcz and drummer Adam Bielawski.
   Program of the album is eclectic choice of jazz-rock and fusion jazz pieces. Improvised fragments are closer in some parts to rock solos than to jazz. First side is one wide expanded cyclic composition Visions which comprises three episodes constructed as a suite. Set in trendy directions between free jazz and progressive rock, this almost 20 minutes composition was primarily planned as title piece of the whole album. Maybe its title Visions was worn out too much and title of the album has left eponymous. Second side program are three compositions in clear jazz style, basically consisting of themes and improvised choruses. These compositions are Amorphous, With Salt and Pepper and Epitaphium. The sextet played presumably on traditional instruments, only exceptions were bass guitar, sometimes playing with expressive distortion and Fender electric piano. Yet its sound was very far from acoustic jazz. This is very interesting album full of fresh ideas and very good trumpet improvisations. Three and a half on the five stars scale for good position in history of Polish progressive music.

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