Most AAJers, be they writers or readers, probably don't speak Polish. Reading over the composition titles listed on Appaz
by the Polish duo Jan Malkowski
and Dominik Mokrzewski
one might think they are just more words from a foreign tongue. They are, but its language is semordnilap, in other words, names spelled backwards. The title track "Appaz" is for Frank Zappa
. Opening with gentle phrases from Małkowski's tenor saxophone and brief scraping cymbals, the music builds from its quiet genesis into a ferocious storm fueled by the heavy pulse laid down by Mokrzewski. If you want, you can play connect-the-dots here. "Appaz" has a sound coming very much from that of the Peter Brötzmann
school which is recognized with "Retep Brö." Here, Brötzmann's lung-bursting sound is heard alongside what can best be described as a Hamid Drake
Captured in studio November 2020 during the pandemic, Appaz
is the duo's second release, and it follows Riders from the Ra
(Creative Sources Recordings, 2018). The pair can also be heard on the excellent New Ghosts
(Fortune, 2014) by the Infant Joy Quintet.
Yes, this duo has the holy spirit of 1960s' fire music burning in their souls. "Relya," of course for Albert Ayler
, splutters notes with that chest thumping, paint peeling sound associated with jazz's holy ghost.
"Dyar," draws deeply from the blues, much like John Coltrane
favored with Elvin Jones
's pulse on the tubs. Małkowski draws lengthy and patient lines here and on "Not Xarb" (Anthony Braxton
). The Charles Lloyd
inspired "Dyoll" is an exalted prayer that reaches for higher and higher altitudes. The duo concludes with a tribute to Han Bennink
with "Kinneb." Jan Małkowski opens on alto and finishes with soprano saxophone, but mostly lays out for Mokrzewski's animated and barely contained solo. In any language, backwards or forwards, fire music lives.
Retep Brö; Dyar; Relya; Appaz; Not Xarb; Dyoll; Kinneb.