Monday, February 9, 2015

SBB

   In Poland just like in any other East European country all genres of western popular music, including jazz and rock, in first decade of cold war were officially prohibited. Later they became conditionally acceptable but not supported and criticized from time to time as elements of hostile way of life. After jazz had emancipated from its early underground forms, some cases of dance and pop music in late fifties and rock in the end of next decade gained their secondary position in musical culture. In late sixties some forms of progressive rock music had emerged as well. Those times jazz had already secure position of artistic genre so at first progressive rock music was connected mainly to jazz-rock. Musicians playing any kind of blues or psychedelic rock were experimenting with some progressive ideas. In 1971 in Siemianowice Śląskie musician Józef Skrzek, singer and multi-instrumentalist formed Silesian Blues Band, known under acronym as SBB, which shortly became the legend of underground blues rock in Silesia. Józef Skrzek was singer, playing bass and keyboards. The musicians of the band were guitarist Antymos Apostolis and drummer Jerzy Piotrowski.

SBB (1974)

   First step in the career of the band from industrial region of South Poland was common project with Czesław Niemen, who was already a number one star in Polish rock. Musical experiments were great part in musical experience of young generation. After recording four albums with Czesław Niemen, in 1973 they parted ways. Trio from Silesia started to work on their own career. The next step was concert tour as SBB. Promoting SBB in Poland and Germany as progressive rock band they found new meaning of the acronym: Szukaj, Burz i Buduj (Search, Break & Build). The person who found new motto was Franciszek Walicki, he served as the manager, wrote some lyrics and helped musicians to find their scenic image.
   Fragments of two concerts played April 18th and 19th in Students Club “Stodoła” in Warsaw were published the same year by Polskie Nagrania as first album of the group. Constructed in wide forms, improvised in best part, trance and contemplative music was as much heterogeneous as different were artistic personalities of the trio members. From electrified blues to electronics and from acoustic mainstream harmonic and repetitive rhythmic structures to ambient sounds and electronic experimenting with musical space, this was music giving young people a chance to find their own esthetic experience. Published in last of summer 1974 debut album became famous in few months. Autumn of the same year it was out of print and sold on the black market at significantly higher prices. From this point on SBB was the most famous band of Polish progressive rock.

SBB - Odlot (1974)

   First album of SBB consists of perfectly compiled material from two full time live gigs. To show whole spectrum of artistic possibilities editor had used syncretic structure building music which at the time was even hard to call. Józef Skrzek in opening words to the public says “the band wants to introduce the music”. And it was not an act of conceit. At this moment for a young leader it was really hard to find a name comprising all genres musicians were trying to embody in their music. From blues-rock to jazz-rock and progressive rock, in program of first edition listeners found only small fragments of concerts, but these musical collages were enough to earn the position of groundbreaking album in the history of Polish rock. Fragments were connected in two suites Odlot (incl. song Odlecieć z wami) and Wizje (incl. song Erotyk). And such crossover compilation was in Poland most powerful idea of fusion in Polish rock of 1974. No wonder this four star album holds its special position in the history of Polish progressive rock.

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