Adam Pierończyk | Ed Schuller | Jacek Kochan | Plastinated Black Sheep | Not Two Records

Not Two, 1999 | MW 710-2 |CD

Adam Pierończyk – tenor & soprano sax | Ed Schuller – bass | Jacek Kochan – drums

Produced by Jacek Kochan. Executive producer: Marek Winiarski. Recorded directly on two track digital tape by Jacek Gawlowski at Studio Chrost, on March 3th 1999. Mastering by Tadeusz Mieczkowski. Cover design by Marta Kochan. Photography by Jan Bebel, Winek Chrost, Marta Kochan, Lukasz Gawronski.

Tracklist: 1. Plastinated Black Sheep [07:49] 2. Solo Divers [07:09] 3. Sparrow Dance [06:22] 4. For Walter [10:22] 5. Volkstrot [05:29] 6. Sooner Then Before (In memory of Jakie Byard) [10:01] 7. Sparven [04:53] 8. Ohadi [07:06]

PBS is a 1999’s trio led by drummer Jacek Kochan.

The dominant style here is an Ornette-ish kind of free blues feel, with material contributed by all three men. Kochan, who directs the musical flow from the traps, studied in the U.S. back in the Eighties, and he combines the melodic drumming of a master like Max Roach with the polyrhythmic approach to Elvin Jones. His beat is infectious, and so is the lift he brings to a band. Considering that you can feel that kind of energy through your home stereo, imagine how inspiring it must be to be sharing a bandstand with Kochan. Saxophonist Pieronczyk has an attractively gruff sound on tenor, loose and facile with hints of Sixties-era Rollins and Coltrane. His soprano is a pleasant surprise, controlled and tuneful. Kochan’s “Sparrow Dance” is his soprano feature, as he races bassist Ed Schuller’s busy throb and the composer’s pounding drums to the end. Schuller is in his element here, with a lot of space to fill with his massive sound and an active rhythm partner in Kochan.

He also contributes two compositions. His “Sooner Then Before” is a dedication to the late Jaki Byard, with Pieronczyk on tenor charging through the melody urged on by Kochan and the composr’s probing bass. It’s a long track, but they prove time and again on the CD that they can grab and hold the listener’s interest without strain, even on original tunes that run as long as ten minutes. The other long piece, “For Walter” by Pieronczyk, is a tender song that evokes a relaxed performance and a spirited tenor solo. All told, an ispired first-time encounter among three musicians with limitless imaginations and big ears. Very hip, and recommended. — Stuart Kremsky (Cadence)

JACEK KOCHAN

– drummer, composer, arranger. He started his career in the seventies, working with bands like Dzamble and August Trio. In January 1981 Jacek went to the United States and lived in New York for two years, where he met musicians like Jaco Pastorius, Mike Ciark and Robbie Gonzales. In the mid eighties he moved to Canada (Montreal and Toronto), where he stayed for several years. He was then involved in many a jazz project, both as a leader and as a sideman. His creativity was reflected not only in live performances but also in many albums he recorded. During that period be cooperated mainly with two labels: Unity Records and Counterpoint Recordings. He recorded sixteen albums for them as a sideman and seven as a leader, inviting several jazz stars to participate in his projects. The list of musicians who cooperated with him is impressive: among others John Abercrombie, Kenny Wheeler, Pat LaBarbera, Joey Calderazzo, Jerry Bergonzi, and Lars Danielsson, to name a few. Rich arrangements, care for details, and a specific style of improvisation are charecteristic of his work. As an instrumentalist he is broadly interested in various styles included in the jazz tradition, but also funk, rhythm&blues, and ethnic music from Africa, the Caribbean, Balkans.

ADAM PIERONCZYK

– is the youngest member of the trio, born in 1970. Between 1988 and 1996 he lived in Germany, where he graduated music studies in the saxophone class at The Higher Music School in Essen. For the last two years his artisic career has been connected with Poland. First he performed with two German bands, Themathe and Gutter Music, and was immediately noticed and apperciated by critics and the Polish music scene at large. Slowly, he started to play with Polish musicians, participating as a guest in the performances of one of the most innovative and progressive bands of that time -Mitosc, and also in Leszek Moidier’s projects. In 1997 he recorded his first Polish album, ,,Few Minutes in the Space”, which was nominated for the Polish music award, ,,Fryderyk”, in the jazz album of the year category. Pierohczyk received a nomination in the musician of the year cafe-gory. In the following year a new album, ,,Live in Sofia” appeared, recorded in a duet with Leszek Mozdzer. This is the recording of a live performance in the capital of Bulgaria, and it crowned the artistic path of one of the best duets in Polish jazz history. If was voted the album of the year in the annual Jazz Forum Magazine Readers Poll. Nowadays Adam Pierohczyk is no longer a promising young talent, but one of the most important saxophone players on the modern Polish jazz scene. Moreover, he is often invited to participate in international projects and so far he has cooperated with such important musicians as Archie Shepp, Ted Curson, Joey Calderazzo, Carl Alien, David Friesen and George Cables.

ED SCHULLER

– bassist, composer, son of the famous composer and conductor Gunther Schuller. He was born in 1955. He started to play bass at 15 as a high school student, under the tutelage of the creator of The Cleveland Symphony, cellist David Levenson. In 1972 he entered the Afro-American department of The New England Conservatory, where he studied bass under Larry Wolf, and composition and theory under Joseph Maneri. He started his professional carreer as a teenager when he went on his first tour of the United States with the Pat Martino band. After the tour he moved to New York, where he cooperated with such artists as Jaki Byard, Lee Konitz, Steve Lacy, Tim Berne, Paul Motion, Jim Pepper, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, Mal Waldron, Billy Bang and many others. It is impossible to count all the recordings he participated in. Nowadays, Ed Schuller in one of the finest bassists in contemporary jazz. His musicality, knowledge of composing techniques and outstanding craftsmanship are appreciated by mosts musicians, jazz fans and journalists. Since the beginning of the nineties, apart from participating in the impressive number of sessions, Shuller leads his ,,Eleven Hour Band”, which has recorded five albums so far.

First-time encounters

of known jazz musicians at O recording session almost always carry the promise of something unique being created. Sometimes the internal ,,chemistry” of a group is so cohesive that a regular session becomes something out of the ordinary; it sometimes gibes to such a degree, though rarely, that music is made on a level beyond imagination. This may be the case with ,,Plastimated Black Sheep”, by the trio of Kochan, Pieronczyk, and Schuller.

We’ve known each of these musicians for a while now. We’ve had plenty of occasions to marvel at the concentrated, emotion-charged – but mysteriously inaccessible – music of Adam Pieronczyk, the wonderfully deep, massive, noble tone of Ed Schuller, not to mention the impressive array of rhythmic inspirations in Jacek Kochan’s playing. Now we have all of this on one CD, but we also have something more. This is because the music collectively made here is not just the sum of the competence, musical talent, and temperament of the individuals making if. The event to which we are witness here challenges the basic expectations that the sensitive listener has of a phenomenon we call music. Beneath the array of discernible sounds, consonances, rhythmic ambiguities, and the wide-reaching web of timbres lie the most essential elements – emotion, superb balance, and an unaffectedly valid artistic statement. Three distinct musical sensibilities meet here, lead a discourse, and meld to become a single voice. That’s exactly how groups lauded as ideal as complete are bom, groups in which each constituent member’s individuality is recognized, thus creating a specific space for them within the overall creative process. The music of the Kochan-Pieronczyk-Schuller trio is deep, mature, free of rivalry, has undeniable power of expression and the type of greatness which does not demand clamorous applause. On the contrary, this music draws one towards an intimate tete-a-tete with the soul. — Maciej Karfowski

Listening to music is a form

of experiencing art. The intentions of a composer or performer are manifested in the form of sounds that reach our ears. At a concert these sounds are undistorted; alive, as it were. Recording them on a CD lengthens the path of communication between the artist and the listener. This creates the risk of a substantial amount of information being lost or transformed info something that is probably unacceptable to the performers. The culprit may be equipment failure or any of a host of other things. We choose our equipment ourselves, but have no influence over how a CD is recorded. In order to fully access that which the musicians want to convey, no link in the chain can be ignored.

The first and probably most important of these links is the silver -excuse me – gold CD. The recording of this one was supervised by the editorial staff of the magazine ,,Hi-Fi and Music”, which deals with high-end audio equipment and – most importantly – the question of sound quality. Before the material played by this exceptional trio made it to the master disc, there were many listenings. A very wide assortment of speakers, amplifiers, cables – but mostly people for whom the natural sound of the instruments, and the faithful reproduction of the acoustics of the room, are as important as the music – were used. You ask – ,,Why go to all that trouble?”. We answer – ,,ln order to improve your listening experience”.

This would not be possible, however, if not for the cooperation between the musicians and the recording engineers. They put more heart and hard work info this project then one usually encounters. For this reason I think we were successful in creating something truly special; I hope you will share this opinion. Be that as it may, after an original interpretation of Vivaldi’s ,,Four Seasons'” I have the pleasure of writing the last couple of sen-fences. We give you a piece of incredible jazz. The kind that doesn’t have any complexes vis a vis the achievements of the world’s jazz giants. — Maciej Stryjecki

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