Nowe Idzie Od Morza’s Review of "Shaman"


Nowe Idzie Od Morza’s review of the Mazolewski Gonzalez Quintet release on For Tune Records (Warsaw), “Shaman”

Much time has passed since the moment that this album was “released" by For Tune Records and the moment it actually appeared.  "Shaman" is from a recording session by five musicians (the leaders Dennis Gonzalez and Wojtek Mazolewski plus Joanna Duda, Jerzy Rogiewicz and Marek Pospieszalski), which took place in November of 2010, during the first visit of the American to Poland.  Therefore, this material no longer feels newly fresh, especially the opening track, Suite with the motif of Newcomer, a track that has been overworked in all possible ways by the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet.  But fortunately, that’s only the beginning, and there’s a lot of great music that follows.  The album consists of six compositions written by three composers - two by Gonzalez, two by Mazolewski and two by Krzysztof Komeda, towards whom the album is partly an acknowledgement.  "Shaman" is reflected as in a mirror: vibrant, delicate, and moody - straight from the era of 60’s Polish jazz.  Gonzalez’s trumpet leads the session forward, and is best when paired with the pianist Duda (as in the middle track Sztandar [Banner]).  All the artists’ compositions complement all the others - the Gdańsk bassist Mazolewski’s tracks are interspersed with the American’s discordant, crazy pieces, and their phrasing emphasizes the singular, copyrighted, feel of Komeda’s legacy.  Paradoxically, it is most interesting that Gonzalez’s compositions - and it happens throughout - are the most vivid, predominatly filled with twists and turns and with a kind of musical roughness.  Broken and twisted, The Matter at Hand is a huge contrast to the harmonious and well-mannered Hymn for Julius Hemphill.  In his second great dialogue with the saxophonist Pospieszalski, the trumpeter appears calm and pays precise attention to detail and to how he selects his playing material.  For this reason, Gonzalez seems to be the strongest point of this program - the same impression I had while watching the quintet play live (with a few different compositions) in Sopot. Gonzalez, despite his age, is the most laid-back of the five, giving off a youthful, playful impression.  He creates around himself a kind of magic - a bit of charm - and this is the element of the album that is felt most strongly.
Unfortunately, nowhere on the internet could I find any work promoting this release.

-Jakub Knera

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