Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet ‘When Angels Fall’ LP/CD (Whirlwind Recordings) 4/5

The Polish bass player was born in 1976 and is often credited with the current resurgence in jazz from his homeland. He has collaborated with Tim Berne, Tomasz Stanko, John Zorn and Pete Wareham. As well as performing he has composed music for film and theatre. He has released several albums since his recording debut in 2008.

His first release for Whirlwind Recordings ‘Polka’ proved to be very successful and popular in dance clubs and rock festivals alike showing his wide appeal. This new release focusses attention on his Polish colleague Krzysztof Komeda who was not only a legend of Polish jazz but also an established composer for film and here the quintet explores Komeda’s output. The quintet is made up of fellow Polish musicians and comprises trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums with the trumpeter also supplying electronics and the pianist playing Wurlitzer. The bassist carried out detailed research when preparing to record this album, feeling the need to find out who Komeda was and how he lived. This is the product of a three year project to write original material based on Komeda’s music.

So, to the music itself. ‘When Angels Fall’ opens the album and seems to set the scene for what is to come. It is a pensive piece of music and features delightful keyboard and trumpet. ‘Roman II’ follows and is in complete contrast to the opening piece. Free exploration soon gives way to a pulsating rhythm with the saxophonist making his presence felt.

Introspection returns with all of the musicians featured on ‘Le Depart’ with trumpet and tenor saxophone blending particularly well and later, an ethereal feature for the trumpet and a relaxed tempo. There are eleven tracks on the album and most are relatively short but this allows for a great variety of approach. Mood and texture. Some pieces incorporate elements of free jazz but the overall feel of the album is that of a melodic excursion inspired by Komeda. ‘Crazy Girl’ is fun with drummer and electronics to the fore.

The feeling of this being an album of music for film is all-pervasive but is certainly not a bad thing.

There is much to enjoy in this varied collection which reveals its pleasures slowly and certainly repays repeated listening.

Alan Musson

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Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet ‎’Polka’ Deluxe 2LP/CD (Whirlwind Recordings) 5/5