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Jan Ptaszyn Wrblewski: Real Jazz & Supercalifragilistic

Ernest Barteldes By

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Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski
Real Jazz

Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski

While Polish jazz has a dedicated fan base in large cities like Krakow or Warsaw, many youngsters from the country have not yet been exposed to the genre - a quick (and very unscientific) survey among members of the immigrant communities in New York shows that few are acquainted with many of the performers who regularly appear stateside, even if they attract considerable audiences wherever they perform.

Unlike more adventurous players as countrymen trumpeter Tomasz Stanko or pianist Marcin Masecki, saxophonist/songwriter Ptaszyn Wróblewski is a performer who seems to prefer a more straightforward approach to jazz; his music reminds the listener of the more accessible textures of Chet Baker and Dave Brubeck (his compositions have been recorded by many performers, such as Anna Maria Jopek, who included "Zielono Mi on her 1998 live album, Koncert).

His own playing seems to have been strongly influenced by the likes of Stan Getz, especially when hearing his "Blue Sands , a song from Real Jazz that has a strong bossa-nova backing (a genre that seems to be very present among Polish jazz players). Pianist Wojciech Niezela, however, seems to draw directly from the later work of Bill Evans, playing stronger notes than Jobim's followers, who prefer a smoother touch to the keys. He also knows how to take advantage of open spaces, masterfully filling in the gaps in Krzysztof Komeda's "Sleep Safe and Sound ("Kolysanka Rosemary , from Rosemary's Baby) with short but critical riffs.

Wróblewski also sounds comfortable playing sophisticated 12-bar blues, as heard on "Bblluueess , from his quartet's latest disc, Supercalifragilistic, which despite the title, thankfully does not contain any tunes from Mary Poppins. The musicians take advantage of the tune's simplicity to be playful, a chance for drummer Marcin Jahr to show his chops.

The new disc has more covers than his other outing - in addition to material by Komeda (the beautifully poignant "Szara Koleda ), there are several other tunes which receive a personal treatment from the quartet: Monk's "Well, You Needn't uses the song's upbeat tempo to the band's advantage, giving ample opportunity for all the musicians to improvise freely throughout, and Sonny Rollins' "Doxy , which begins with Wróblewski playing a solo and later joined by the other band members.

The Wróblewski Quartet has earned a lot of respect from their niche audience back home and is definitely ripe for (re)discovery by audiences on our side of the pond.

Tracks and Personnel

Real Jazz

Tracks: Blue Sands; On Green Dolphin Street; Instead; Uncle's Dance; Promenade Through Empty Streets; We'll Together Again; Morning Thunder; Sleep Safe And Warm; JadÄ... Gwizdze.

Personnel: Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski: tenor saxophone; Wojciech Niedziela: piano; Jacek Niedziela: double bass; Marcin Jahr: drums.


Tracks: BBLLUUEESS; Pokaż dołeczki; Well, You Needn't; Seans na niepogodę; Doxy; Spadek kalorii; Szara kolęda; I Hear a Rhapsody; Schlus blues

Personnel: Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski: tenor saxophone; Wojciech Niedziela: piano; Jacek Niedziela: double bass; Marcin Jahr: drums.


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