Arek Skolik Checkmate Quintet | Mirror Gambit | Not Two Records

Not Two, 2002 | MW 738-2 | CD

Arek Skolik – drums | Michał Walczak – guitars | Paweł Smorąg – saxophones | Krzysztof Pacan – bass | Bogusz Wekka – percussion, congas | Paweł Rozkrut – bells | Irena Kijewska – vocal (6) | Piotr Biazik – accordion

Special thanks to: Beata Skolik, Jola Mazur-Gachowska, Marek Gachowski, Grzegorz Gutowski, Andrzej Kalinowski, Krzysztof Kobylinski and all the people who helped in this project.

on December, 10, 2000 at HH POLAND STUDIO, Gliwice, Poland. Recorded, mixed and mastered by: Michal Rosicki. Production: Marek Gachowski, Arek Skolik CHECKMATE. Executive producer: Marek Winiarski. Photos: Grzegorz Kulik, Bartek Barczyk, Marek Gachowski. Cover photos: Marek Gachowski. Design: ArKuS Team

Tracklist: 1. Mirror Gambit [08:05] 2. Stopped Time [07:41] 3. Song For Kacperek [07:59] 4. Zastrzyk w głowę [08:48] 5. Exhoust System [06:43] 6. Sleep Safe And Warm (excerpt) (Komeda’s lullaby from “Rosemary’s Baby” words by Larry Kusik and Eddie Snyder) [05:23] TOTAL TIME: [44:39]


Arek Skolik

Why Jazz?

Is it still worth listening to in today’s world? Yes, especially today! Not only is it worth listening to, it should be! Not instead of, but in addition to other good music. Only then will that, which is so important in Jazz for today’s listeners, come to the foreground and become clear. And what is it that’s so important to us in today’s Jazz? Everything that Jazz is, but mainly the way this music is created – it’s probably the only kind of music that is still improvised. The theme and improvisations, each member of the band playing solo and together – this is the kind of Jazz we want. Everyone, musicians and audience alike, awaits the solos, when each soloist has the opportunity and the freedom for self-expression – unconstrained performance of his own interpretation of the theme which doesn’t disrupt, but adds to the cohesion of the music.


Bogusz Wekka

The sound of Jazz is created as a coherent whole, created in part by each of the artists in a given group who holds his own position in that group. When he is creative and plays well, he takes part in forming the whole, and the more creative he is, the fuller and more colourful the whole becomes. Upon starting to play, musicians don’t necessarily know what their piece will be like – they only know it must be good, while the final shape depends on each player’s contribution. That is why no musician or single bar of music is unimportant in Jazz. Each plays a significant and unique role. Playing this way, they create their own Jazz. Doesn’t this remind you of something? Isn’t it what our reality of everyday life should look like, the reality of free people working together for the sake of the common development of Life – the most important piece of work? This is how Skolik plays with his partners, and this is how he forms his ever-developing line-ups. That is exactly what we need today. Let’s listen to Skolik. — Marek Gachowski


Michal Walczak

Before you listen to the recordings on this album

I’d like to remind you about, or rather draw your attention to some of the people that Arek Skolik has worked with so far. First of all, a group of musicians connected with the last “revolution” in Polish jazz at the beginning of the 90’s, should be mentioned. They include, but are not limited to, bands like: Graal and Love (“Mitosc”), as well as outstanding soloists such as: Janusz Muniak, Leszek Mozdzer, Antoni Gralak, Stanistaw Sojka, Wtodek Kiniorski, Wojciech Pulcyn, Maciej Sikata, Joachim Mencel, Piotr Wylezot, Jerzy Matek, Tomasz Gwiticiriski, Locko Richter and the avant-garde Jerzy Mazzoll, to list his most frequent musical cohorts. This second album by Arek Skolik, prepared fully by himself, is proof of a very clear and consistent evolution of his talent and skills. Arek is not among those musicians who want to be innovative at any price; he rather tends to pay homage to the many decades of tradition, trying to enrich it with his own musical temperament and sense of aesthetics. pAWELsMORAG

Pawel Smorag

He is an outstanding drummer with an incredible ear for music, formidable chops and a sense of swing, which places him among the top drummers in the country. Arek Skolik perfected his skills based on performances by the best teachers in his profession: Jimmy Cobb, “Philly” Joe Jones, Max Roach, Billy Higgins, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams. Despite his great admiration for tradition and the jazz of the 60’s, when necessary, Arek can easily use a completely modern language in the style of Joey Baron or Jim Black. So much for the experience and inspirations of the author of this record, which fully deserves your attention. I have not written anything about the music contained in “MIRROR GAMBIT” as it explains very well itself, without comment from me. — Andrzej Kalinowski


Krzysztof Pacan


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