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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Maciej Obara Special Quartet - Four (Ars Cameralis Records, 2010) ****

Another easy album to recommend. Upcoming Polish alto saxophonist Maciej Obara, meets some great jazz musicians of the moment in New York earlier this year: Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Mark Helias on bass, and Nasheet Waits on drums. The result is this fantastic album. Even if the pieces are composed, yet barely, the focus is on the open improvisations, the respectful and measured interplay, full of lyricism and melodic expansion. Obara has released two albums so far, and is best known for his collaborations with Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. Even if the music is relatively calm, it has its bouts of intensity. Influences abound, from the boppish last track, to Ornette Colemane-style unision themes, to more open and free interplay. The latter, no surprise, gets my preference and it also represents the band's best moments. Enjoy!

Maciej Obara - I Can Do It (Self-published, 2009)***

 On this album, the aloist is joined by Maciej Garbowski on bass and Krzysztof Gradziuk on drums.The trio travels across jazz history, which leads to a somewhat too strong variation in styles and levels of intensity, but the playing is good.

You can order directly from the musicians

Watch the trio on Youtube

© stef