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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jacek Kochan - One Eyed Horse (Gowi Records, 2005) ****

Another remarkable CD of Polish origin : drummer Jacek Kochan, with master saxophonist Greg Osby and Austrian trumpet player Franz Hautzinger. Krystyna Stanko's voice is present at some limited and barely audible places. And believe me, this is a great album. Kochan's music is highly rhythmic, funky even at times, but with free inclinations simultaneously, with beautiful melodies and interplay, against a restrained backdrop of electronics and ambient sound. This is modern jazz at its best, the kind of music from which so many would-be innovators of today could learn from : this is real music, with energy and intensity, clever musical constructions, full of variation, creative, emotional. The CD consists of 15 relatively short tracks, often built on a (strong) rhythmical pattern, often electronically transformed, and Kochan imitates to perfection what DeJohnette does on Miles Davis' Bitches' Brew : to keep that high-tempo rhythm going in full support of rhythmless sax bursts or slow melodic trumpet, by economically and relentlessly hard-hitting the hihat, just to take the initiative back again to demonstrate to all who want to hear what rythmic wonders such a drumkit can contain. Kochan is a great drummer, period. And Osby and Hautzinger feel perfectly at ease in this context, whether it's uptempo free, funky, or slow melodic, it all fits, not too mellow, at times a little rough, yet accessible. The real power of this album is the unity of style, and the fact that the electronics are fully subordinate to the music. Highly recommended.

Listen to sound samples :
Sun Doesn't Know She Is A Star
Fear No More (whole track)
Simoom (whole track)