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American clarinetist Brad Terry spends a good part of his time working in Poland, a fertile ground for jazz. One of his more impressive accomplishments was the discovery of three young Polish jazz musicians who play far beyond their years and bringing them to the United States for a tour and recording session. And young they were when this album was cut in September of 2000. Pianist Mateusz Kolakowski and drummer Tomek Torres were 16 and bassist Michal Baranski, 14.
The play list is ear catching and challenging. "14th Spring" written by the trio's pianist Kolakowski with its Monk like rhythmic structure reveals compositional maturity far beyond the young man's age. The intense playing by the group shows understandable pride in this compositional achievement. Sponsor and premier clarinetist Terry chips in on some tracks enhancing them with his exquisite technique and feel for the music. He and the trio work with one mind on Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue". One of the more haunting numbers on the set is Horace Silver's "Peace" with some excellent solo work by Baranski. Terry's clarinet, sounding even more mellow than usual, weaves in, out and around the pianism of Kolakowski. The classic standard "All the Things You Are", provides an opportunity for an extended improvisional excursion by the pianist as Torres' drumming provide an incentive for further exploration but without being overbearing. This subtle percussive approach is further demonstration of musical maturity. The work on Steve Grover's "Blues on the Bridge" shows understanding of this fundamental element of jazz as well as their ability to swing. But it takes the music of Duke Ellington to reveal the deep affection for jazz of these young musicians in concert with Terry. The clarinet takes on an almost middle eastern tone and each member of the trio gets ample opportunity to play with the melody line of Duke's (and Juan Tizol's) exotic composition "Caravan". Every piece on the CD is given a thorough working over, some tracks lasting more than eight minutes without the extemporization becoming redundant.
There is fine playing all around on an album that will be an outstanding addition to any collection.
Track Listing: Solar; Afro Blue; Away from Home; 14th Spring; Blues on the Bridge; Caravan; All the Things You Are; Sooky Sooky Now; Peace
Personnel: Mateusz Kolakowski - Piano; Michal Baranski - Bass; Tomek Torres - Drums; Brad Terry - Clarinet
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.