Polish bassist/composer Wojtek Mazolewski has a great understanding of groove. There’s an easy sensibility to his music, just coasting along. Even in its heights, the music seems to have arrived there not through ostentatious backflips but by gentle rises. It all makes sense together, which could be why Mazolewski is presenting his work remastered for the rest of the world as Polka – Worldwide Deluxe Edition, out August 3rd on Whirlwind Recordings.
“Grochow” has a gentle roll to it, an apt early track for an album and a nice showcase of this band. Trumpeter Oskar Török and tenor saxophonist Marek Pospieszalski handle the horn section well, smoothly and confidently. Trading off duties and bringing a dynamic fullness to this sound. The title track is a fantastic showcase for pianist Joanna Duda and her clear phrasing. It’s hard to know why the song is called “Polka” when it’s in 5/4 time, but it’s a charmer nevertheless in its neat four minutes. “Berlin” has a slinky cool reminiscent of a film heist score for a ragtag group of screwups with hearts of gold. “Sunday” is a downright jam that practically boogies with drummers Qba Janicki and Michał Bryndal keeping excellent pace. Each song here finds a mood, explores it, but never overstays its welcome. As most of these songs are named after cities, Polka sounds like a rollicking vacation and Mazolewski & Co. are the perfect travelling companions.
By album’s end, one finds their take on the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s “Theme De Yoyo” a welcome treat, and with the notion that this was an altogether cool album from a group of cool people who know what they’re doing, because they made it all sound so simple. But knowing to play Art Ensemble of Chicago and actually pulling it off says something about good taste (as if their voices for the previous twelve songs didn’t say enough). Wojtek Mazolewski is a bandleader and bassist of taste and talent, and a sense of music that seems to sound too easy to listen to, and these are pretty great qualities that the rest of the world needs to hear. Wojtek Mazolewski is a bandleader and bassist of taste and take, and a sense of music that seems to sound too easy to listen to, and these are pretty great qualities that the rest of the world needs to hear.
Polka – Worldwide Deluxe Edition, the American-label debut album of the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet, is out August 3 on Whirlwind Recordings.
Oskar Török – trumpet
Marek Pospieszalski – tenor saxophone
Joanna Duda – piano
Wojtek Mazolewski – double bass
Qba Janicki – drums
Michał Bryndal – drums
All songs except London (Intro, Part 1, Part 2) recorded at Radio Gdansk, Poland
Engineer – Piotr Taraszkiewicz
Mixed by Piotr Taraszkiewicz &
Wojtek Mazolewski at Nu Wave, Gdansk, Poland London (Intro, Part 1, Part 2) and Theme de Yo Yo recorded at Rolling Tapes Studio, Poland Engineer – Marek Szwarc
Mixed by Marek Szwarc & Wojtek Mazolewski at Rolling Tapes Studio
Mastered by Piotr Taraszkiewicz
Produced by Wojlek Mazolewski
Executive Producer for Whirlwind Recordings
Executive Producer for Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet
Original Cover Design – Mateusz Holak
Nextbop Editor-in-Chief Anthony Dean-Harris hosts the modern jazz radio show, The Line-Up, Fridays at 9pm CST on 91.7 FM KRTU San Antonio and is also a contributing writer to DownBeat Magazine and the San Antonio Current.