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Although he has not become a household name in the American jazz world, Zbigniew Namyslowski (whose last name is sometimes spelled Namyslovski as on this album) is one of the most significant jazz musicians to emerge from Poland and the European continent in general. His passionate sound, which at times can sound a little bit like David Sanborn (who he preceded by several years), is a perfect vehicle for his own distinctive style of jazz. He was born in 1939 in Warsaw, Poland. Namyslowski studied piano and cello in Warsaw and Krakow and by 1957 was playing jazz professionally on both of those instruments. However he soon took up the trombone to play in dixieland groups, quickly mastering the instrument. His final switch was around 1960 when he became an alto-saxophonist, developing his own solo sound along with brilliant technique. Namyslowski formed the Jazz Rockers (definitely a futuristic name) in 1962. The group included Michael Urbaniak (who later became famous as a violinist) on tenor sax and toured Europe, making an appearance at that year's Newport Jazz Festival. In 1964 Zbigniew Namyslowski formed a quartet that caught on very well in England. Since that time he has become a world traveler, recording in many different countries, particularly in Europe. He probably became best known for his playing on Krzysztof Komeda's Astigmatic (a record that also features trumpeter Tomasz Stanko) and his own mid-1970s album Kujawiak Goes Funky..Still very much active as he enters his seventies, he recently led a big band at a jazz festival in Belfast. In his music, Zbigniew Namyslowski combines together his intense sound, soulful ideas, ability to effortlessly play very fast lines, and his Polish heritage with several styles of jazz, including hard bop, fusion, post bop and aspects of the avant-garde. All of this in evidence on Namyslovski, his first album to become widely available in the United States. At first one might think that they are listening to an unusual David Sanborn record due to the altoist's tone, but quickly it becomes apparent that he is a true original. Joined by a stimulating three-piece electric rhythm section comprised of his fellow Poles, Namyslowski starts out jamming over the rhythmically tricky but funky ÌøåÀå_Mambo Boogie.ÌøåÀå_ ÌøåÀå_Time Goes ByeÌøåÀå_ is a spacey ballad, a little reminiscent of something Miles Davis might have recorded in the early 1970s. ÌøåÀå_TangoÌøåÀå_ has a fast tango rhythm, the feel of East European folk music, and an excellent Fender Rhodes eclectic piano solo from Slawomir Kulpowicz. The concise ÌøåÀå_PastoraleÌøåÀå_ has a rapid melody line and Namyslowski's own type of sheets of sound in his solo. ÌøåÀå_BalladeÌøåÀå_ is a ballad that gradually becomes quite passionate and intense. ÌøåÀå_HobbleÌøåÀå_ has some creative bass playing from Pawel Jarzebski and ÌøåÀå_Just A Little WaltzÌøåÀå_ features a warm melody and a happy sound. The CD concludes with humorous free playing on the brief ÌøåÀå_Ohh-Hah!ÌøåÀå_ Namyslovski is a superior showcase for Zbigniew Mayslowski, an altoist who is well worth discovering.
|Instruments||Music and Musicians|
|Accompanist/ Conductor||Slawomir Kulpowicz - fender and acoustic piano, Pawel Jarzebski - electric and acoustic bass, Janusz Stefanski - drums|
Customer Reviews (2)
- "Get to Know This Name!"Review by Big Toots
As is the case with Polish and Eastern European surnames, occasionally they are spelled phonetically, thus incorrectly – as is done in the title here. But, that’s not anywhere near as egregious a misstep as the fact that here in the United States, this superbly talented musician is virtually unknown. With his wide notoriety and respect in Europe, one would think that this exciting music would carry trans-Atlantic. This effort certainly would assist in doing that.
It’s unfair to categorize or describe Namyslowski as being “like Dave Koz, or Eric Marienthal, or David Sanborn.” While he shares the same axe and chops of an equal stature and can play in a Fusion-Rock style, Namyslowski himself had a much earlier vision regarding what he wanted his music to be than the aforementioned.
The album kicks off with an up-tempo rocker (“Mango Boogie) and doesn’t let go in terms of drive, spirit and artistry. Zbigniew has a superior, classic alto sound – he’s Ronnie Lang gorgeous on “Time Goes Bye” and actually shades those Johnny Hodges “bends” on the beautiful “Ballada” - and technical chops galore. While not a hardcore Bopper here, he cooks and spins across his alto with blinding speed yet brings unique life to the blur (“Pastoral” and “Tango” – complete with a “Drunken Sailor” line cliché). The closer, “Ohh-Hah!” is a Rube Goldberg-ish exercise in humorous plucks, honks, tinkles and paradiddles. It is a different – and childlike – way to head back to Track 1 again.
Namyslowski composed all of the intriguing selections for the session. His pen writes superbly for the Fusion-Rock style he offers. The themes are simple, yet not simplistic and the textures engaging (“Just a Little Waltz”). The rhythm section of pianist, Slawomir Kulpowicz, bassist, Pawel Jarzebski and drummer, Janusz Stefanski are up to the task of working prestissimo and support the effort with great vigor. They buy into the format whole hog and also offer spirited solos.
“Namyslovski” is a wonderful way to become acquainted with a very adventurous and superior artist. While it may be misspelled, it’s spell-binding.
(Posted on 5/16/2015)
- NamyslovskiReview by Simon Sez
Zbigniew Namyslowski is actually a stronger jazz player than Sanborn and can play very fast. On this album, he is joined by an electronic rhythm section and plays music that looks at Miles Davis’ fusion albums, East European folk music, some free jazz and even a tango. Everything works well making Namyslowski (no matter how you spell his name) someone who should be discovered.
Simon Sez: Zbigniew Namyslowski’s Namyslovski (IC1048) is a brilliant Polish altoist who plays fusion and other styles on this album.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
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