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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Waclaw Zimpel, Wojtek Traczyk, Robert Rasz - The Light (Multikulti, 2008) ****

In the history of music, from the creation of the universe till today, "Lonely Woman" stands out as an absolutely sublime composition, regardless of who plays it. Any performer who lays his or her hands on this Ornette Coleman piece, regardless of the instruments used, regardless of the style in which it's played, is guaranteed to make a success of it. Even the most incompetent cannot destroy the sublime.

Yet it is up to the very good to present this wonderful composition in a new dress, as does this Polish trio, consisting of Waclaw Zimpel on clarinet and bass clarinet, Wojtek Traczyk on double bass and Robert Rasz on drums. "Lonely Woman", with arco bass and bass clarinet, is played very slowly with lots of emotional intensity, very free, evolving into barely audible high clarinet sounds weeping over a single sustained note on arco and finger-played drums, ending in dark silence.

This trio's play list is diverse, from Dolphy over Coleman to Nirvana, interspersed with some of their own compositions. The music is rhythmic, powerful, sensitive, delivered with care and passion. And free. Even Dolphy's "Straight Up And Down" is played in a totally non-straight way, starting with Rasz's creative drumming, evolving in the joyful theme, which is both respectful of Dolphy while adding to it. The Nirvana tune "Where Did You Sleep Last Night (My Girl") is the rawest piece on the track. Traczyk's bass plays an important role in most pieces, sometimes reminding me of Charlie Haden in his deep and warm approach, with a great sense of finding the right note. The "intro" is a bass solo and "The Light" is a slow track on which the bass really shines. But don't misunderstand me: this a true trio album, with Waclaw Zimpel leading the dance, very openly and with lots of fresh ideas and approaches, unhurried but precise, and with Robert Rasz's drumming restrained and subtle, as is the music itself. Free, gentle, sensitive and open.

Listen to samples on MySpace.

© stef


Anonymous said...

"Where did you sleep last night" is by Leadbelly. Nirvana covered it.