Monday, May 30, 2011

Andrzej Przybielski

Andrzej Przybielski (trumpet)
Abstract (Not Two Records, 2005)
De Profundis (Fenom Media, 2011)
Marcin Oles (bass)
Bartlomiej Oles (drums)

Andrezj Przybielski was one of those truly underrated musicians that never got even close to the word "recognized" in the wider public. For probably those outside Poland and parts of Europe, the name Andrezj Przybielski will unfortunately mean nothing. But, he is revered in his homeland and his passing this February will touch the artistic community in Poland for years to come.  Fellow Polish trumpeter, Tomasz Stanko has also acknowledged Przybieslski's legendary status. Przybielski's playing might be more fierce and adventurous than Stanko. He could turn phrases like Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard or Don Cherry. His loss is the entire jazz community's loss but hopefully in this digital age his legend can grow and be cemented.

Andrezj Przybielski, while having a pretty lengthy catalog, didn't record with any great frequency. Only in the last decade did it seem like he was really recording at a decent pace. He began playing more in the avant garde style in the 60s and 70s. As he got older his playing became more statesman-like but still had a distinctive bit to it. In the last few years he paired up with Europe's most prolific rhythm sections, the Oles Brothers, and formed a trio that recorded two albums under Przybielski's name, and two under the Oles Brothers direction as Custom Trio.

Abstract (Not Two Records, 2005) is a perfect introduction to Przybielski style. Abstract features moments of hard bop mixed with free jazz that form a beautiful and crisp document for a group with evolving ideas. You could compare the youthful injection from the Oles Brothers to that of the Marcin Wasilewski Trio for Tomasz Stanko. The energy featured on "Ride" forces the group into exchanges that are both explosive and beautiful. Przybielski and Bartlomiej demonstrate a brilliant piece of interplay midway through "Ride" that will undoubtedly have you stunned. The classic "Afro Blue" also gets a deep rendering which is drastically different from both the Mongo Santamaria original and the more well-known John Coltrane version. The trio really deconstruct this piece with a great deal of improvisation and post-bop vision. Elsewhere, "Epitafium dla Jacka" illustrates a more relaxed nature to Przybielski's playing that sets him alongside Miles Davis or even Clifford Brown.

It would be six year later that we would get the chance to experience this trio again. This time, in the form of a live album De Profundis (FenomMedia, 2011). De Profundis features tracks from Abstract, including a boisterous version of "Afro Blue" that really brings out the power of Marcin's bass playing. The trio is sublime form on this evening. There's consistency, but also a good deal of improvising throughout. The members have played with each other so long that you can tell they know the other's next move. The title track screams with an immediacy and beauty that you might not get on the previous album, and later develops into a bit a of call and response between the members and then a gentle fade out. "Guru" is a midtempo blues tinged number that has an incredibly introspective quality to it. The album closes on a more chamber/improvisational version of "De Profundis" that sees the trio moving in various directions but still keeps a distinct harmolodic tone that will encapsulate the listener until the end.

The passing of Andrzej Przybielski may not be felt throughout the entire jazz community but these two records are perfect documents of what the world will miss. Przybielski was never an artist who really wanted the spotlight. He played his music - when he was ready to play. When he wanted to record. And the results are something that we are all better off for after listening. Whatever you do this week, Abstract and De Profundis should be on your list of records to check out. A legend has gone but his music will touch more than he will ever know...

1 comment:

  1. I remember writing this before but maybe the comment got lost - small correction : Custom Trio was a trio with Oles Brothers and Krzysztof Kapel (sax) that recorded two cds (one live + one studio) with Przybielski as a guest.