Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Irek Wojtczak & The Fonda-Stevens Group: Folk Five

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Polish jazz has a long history, and includes many more players than the widely known Tomasz Stanko or Krzysztof Komeda. A deeper, and much earlier influence than American jazz coming to Poland is that of the folk music indigenous to Poland itself.

Reedman (saxophones and bass clarinet) Irek Wojtczak & The Fonda-Stevens Group, arguably a free player, relates in the liner notes how, in his thirties (when else?), he wanted to reconnect to his musical roots. He found folk violinist Tadeusz Kubiak whose playing exhibited a direct simplicity that enabled Wojtczak to dig deeper into what he, and his music really were.

The primal and even atavistic Folk Five is the result of his investigations and efforts. Supporting Wojztczak are the four members of the Fonda/Stevens group (bassist Joe Fonda, pianist Michael Stevens , trumpeter Herb Robertson and drummer Harvey Sorgen).

One might ask how Americans could become so comfortable and at ease with Polish music. Fonda and Stevens have been playing in Poland for the last ten years and recorded a live gig with Wojtczak about six years ago, and thus have been able to internalize the Polish ethos.

Even for someone who has not heard any Polish influenced jazz, this album has an immediacy and a combination of delicacy and power that pulls one in. Polish folk themes are either directly quoted (Ale Zagrajzke Mi Kowolka (Play The Kowal Dance For Me) and then improvised upon, or the essence of the melody is used as the starting point (Pod Gazem (Polka) (Tipsy (Polka Dance).

It is obvious from his first notes that Wojtczak has deep emotional ties to this music, and his fierceness, intensity and deep sensitivity carry the day.

Fonda, always a powerful bassist, is more than up to the task of pushing and being pushed, while Stevens shows his range by his energetic comping and lyrical soloing. Robertson is almost Wojtczak's ethnic double when staying close to a folk theme, but also can play as free as a bird, while Sorgen's rhythmic support is both sensitive and forceful when needed.

Folk Five is important both for what it succeeds in accomplishing musically and as an entry point into the rich music that is Polish jazz.

Track Listing: Ale Zagrajze Mi Kowola (Play the Kowal); Cztery Mile Za Warszawa (It Was Four Miles Out of Warsaw); Leczycki (Oberek Dance From Leczycki); Pod Gazem (Typsy); Kiej Jo Ide W Pole (When I Go to the Field); Weselny (For the Wedding); Oj Stary Jo se Stary (Oh, Am I Old); Ogrywka.

Personnel: Michael Jefry Stevens: piano; Joe Fonda: bass; Herb Robertson: trumpet; Harvey Sorgen: drums; Irek Wojtczak: saxophone.

Title: Folk Five | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Fortune Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Wojtczak NY Connection

Wojtczak NY Connection

Self Produced
2015

buy
Folk Five

Folk Five

Fortune Records
2015

buy

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019
Read Rasif Album Reviews
Rasif
By Chris M. Slawecki
January 21, 2019
Read Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 Album Reviews
Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981
By John Sharpe
January 20, 2019
Read More Than One Thing Album Reviews
More Than One Thing
By Gareth Thompson
January 20, 2019
Read Wandering Monster Album Reviews
Wandering Monster
By Roger Farbey
January 20, 2019