All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

5

Obara International: Live at Manggha

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
The sophomore release of Polish-Norwegian quartet Obara International, led by rising Polish alto saxophonist Maciej Obara, solidifies his affinity with cool Nordic jazz. The group is not only the powerful rhythm section of resourceful Norwegians—double bassist Ole Morten Vågan and drummer Gard Nilssen. Lush phrasing by Obara himself and emphatic, profound interplay rounded out by the fantastic young pianist Dominic Wania suggests a formative influence by the Jan Garbarek Norwegian-Swedish quartet from the seventies (with pianist Bobo Stenson, double bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen) and the ECM aesthetics at large.

Furthermore, Obara musical heroes—legendary Polish composer Krzysztof Komeda and his favorite trumpeter, Tomasz Stańko, often recorded with Scandinavian musicians. Stańko even took part in Scandinavian recordings, most notably key seventies recordings by Finnish drummer Edward Vesala. Obara and Wania are taking part in Stańko's new Balladyna project, and the Obara Quartet's debut album, Komeda (For Tune, 2013), offered new arrangements of Komeda compositions.

The quartet first met during the Take Five: Europe event in 2012. Live at Manggha was recorded in May 2013 during the 19th international Masters and Youngsters Jazz Festival in Krakow, Poland, pianist Wania's home town, at Manggha Museum. Due to to an adventurous journey from Łódź to Krako, the quartet arrived only an hour before the scheduled concert. They needed nothing more than a full house to stimulate one of their best performances ever.

New compositions by Obara written especially for this festival intertwined with intriguing arrangements of Komeda's themes, well known by a supportive audience. The group's reserved aesthetics and high level of communication are demonstrated beautifully in this performance. Obara opts for an elegant, lyrical tone, organically flowing yet locked within tight interplay. It rarely reaches violent peaks of free improvisation, but enables enough room for extensive individual contributions. His dialogues with Wania emphasize their affinity with subtle, somehow melancholic forms of ballad dialogues, supported wisely by the inventive, solid pulse of Vågan and Nilssen.

The Norwegian rhythm section rarely challenges the Polish front line, but on "7Up," the most energetic piece in this performance, and the last short, improvised "Manghha," the band lays down an infectious, intense rhythm, forcing both Obara and Wania to follow a liberating, resolute pulse. They adopt rare, spontaneous and dense tones which answer the uncompromising stream of rhythmic power. But Obara and Wania feel at home in more moody, free-form ballads like the beautiful "Unloved," or with the slow- burning seventeen minutes of "Variation," which offers both a chance to charge their respective solos with slowly intensifying energy and passion.

Obara International already sound like an impressive, balanced and resourceful working group that have only begun to explore their promising potential.

Track Listing: Conversation With…; Ballad; 7Up; Unloved; Variation; Manggha.

Personnel: Maciej Obara: alto saxophone; Dominik Wania: piano; Ole Morten Vågan: double bass; Gard Nilssen: drums.

Title: Live at Manggha | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: For Tune

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Unloved

Unloved

ECM Records
2017

buy
Live at Manggha

Live at Manggha

For Tune
2014

buy
 

Trio+2 – Live in...

Not Two Records
2012

buy
 

I Can Do It

Jaz Records
2009

buy

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Grime Scene" CD/LP/Track Review Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read "Horizons" CD/LP/Track Review Horizons
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 27, 2017
Read "Oscar Peterson Plays" CD/LP/Track Review Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "Solo a Genova" CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Jigsaw" CD/LP/Track Review Jigsaw
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2018
Read "Parallels" CD/LP/Track Review Parallels
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 8, 2018