We have to start here. I promise I'll explain later:
ThisIsAmazing No.4: Music from Poland
A few weeks ago, I was in Warsaw, Poland playing, listening, and talking with people about music. I was excited to learn about some amazing musicians I hadn't heard. I've been listening since and I want to share. If you know about any great Polish musicians I should be checking out, please post them in the comments.
When I was in Poland, every other jazz musician I met asked me if I knew Rafał Sarnecki. Rafał is an incredible composer and guitarist from Warsaw currently living in New York and writing and playing beautiful music.
Rafał recently made an recording called Cat's Dream with a hell of a band. Colin Stranahan, Lucas Pino, Glenn Zaleski, Rick Rosato, and Bogna Kicinska all play beautifully on the record. It's heartening to hear with how much care Rafał builds his compositions. Each moment is considered. I really love this record. Here's the EPK:
There are some incredible solos on this record. Yesterday I transcribed Rafał's solo on his song Czarna Porzeczka. Brilliant playing! Simple, but sophisticated.
The Polish label, Lado ABC is one of those rare labels that has managed to bring together improvised and experimental music, jazz, classical, electronic music, noise, punk and rock music into a single space. You can check out Małgorzata Sarbak playing classical harspsichord, Marcin Masecki and 10-piece brass band playing new.old music, rock bands with two drummers like Hokei, Baaba's weird electronic music and a bunch of other things. Here is their SoundCloud playlist and my new favorite way to find new music. Lado, everybody. It's cool.
Ok! Remember the video of the blue suited people playing out, Polish band music. That was Marcin Masecki, a pianist and composer living in Poland and making music like nothing else I've ever heard. Marcin is an artist on Lado. I saw him play a solo piano concert in Poland that was really, very inspiring. This is his website.
Marcin Masecki. Born in Warsaw in 1982. Pianist, composer, conductor, member of the independent label Lado ABC, leader and participant of an astounding variety of projects. Winner of many awards Masecki is widely recognized as a leading figure in the polish independent music scene. Among others he leads a jazz sextet “Profesjonalizm”, he is the director of WOR – Warsaw Orchestra of Recreation – and he is a member of the international band Paristetris. His latest project POLONEZY is a 10-piece brass band which plays a set of original Polonaises.
His parallel passion is classical music which he performs in highly unusual ways (unusual venues, unusual instruments, unusual interpretation). He is an advocate of treating classical music as a legitimate and fully integrated element of the modern musical landscape, not just as an elitist museum piece. If anyone treats classical music as an elitist museum piece, or even just does so much as apply a museumish-elitish discourse to it, he gets understandably filled with sadness.
This video is a great place to start to get sense of how he plays piano.
And this is Marcin playing Bossa Nova songs with Macio Moretti. Fun and funny and great.
Ok! Finally, we have to talk about Krzysztof Komeda, the great Polish pianist and composer. Americans know Komeda's music, because of his affiliation with director Roman Polanski. Komeda wrote the film score for Rosemary's Baby. His most famous record is called Astigmatic and features a young Tomasz Stanko. You can listen to both below.
Polish music! Wow! Great stuff. If you have favorite Polish musicians, leave them in comments so I can check them out. Have a great day! Danny