Maiden Voyage

[Compost Records,]


[Ellipsis Arts,]

Ghos Busters III

[Record Label Records,]

The Best of Polish Jazz 2005

[Polish Jazz,]

It all started in 1993 in Munich when Into Somethin' crew began a club night called "Maiden Voyage". The crew wanted to share their deep knowledge for soul, jazz, Brazilian music, boogie and disco with the rest of the dance fanatics. Throughout the years, the regular night became somewhat of a national addiction for German DJs. Taking its cue from Herbie Hancock's classic 1965 Blue Note classic, "Maiden Voyage" is a compilation of thirteen choice cuts that have become favourites at these club nights. Ranging from Norman Connors' soulful "She's Gone", to Roy Ayers disco-funk on "(Sometimes) Believe in Yourself", through to the sunny shores of Alicia Myers and her "I Want to Thank You", the compilation is a winner through and through. One of my favourite tracks here is the slow jam laid down by James Mason "I Want Your Love". Her sultry vocals are to die for [or to strip by, whichever you prefer]. Without a weak track in the bunch, this is one compilation that no doubt will provide many hours of pure, bright sunshine to filter through on the rainiest days of the year to come.
Ever since the beginning of time, people have risen up to protest what they felt was unfair treatment of the fellow men. People have joined others in protest to gain strength, to gain power and ultimately to get to the ultimate goal which is always victory. "Protest" compilation which is appropriately subtitled "Songs of Struggle and Resistance from Around the World" presents fifteen of the so-called protest tunes. These are tunes that have woken people up to recognize the importance of the struggle for particular causes. Some of these tunes were written during protests, while others are a reflection on protests that have occurred in the past. Algerian singer Baaziz pleads for non-violence on the feet-stomping flamenco beats of "God Bless(s) America", while Larry Kirwan (Black 47) in his spitefully bitter but honest "Bobby Sands, MP" honours that IRA operative, hunger striker, Member of Parliament and ultimately a martyr. Lebanese composer Marcel Khalife urges positive dissent [as in non-violence] in his strikingly beautiful "Speak Up", while the "Joan Baez of Israel" Chava Alberstein sings a gorgeously haunting ballad on "Chad Gadya", in which she openly sympathizes with Palestine's right to be a fully sovereign nation. American legend Barbara Dane pays homage to those fallen more than three decades ago on "The Kent State Massacre". Papa Wemba gives a gorgeous rendition of "Esclave", a tune meant to point out the evils of slavery. With so many tunes coming from every corner of the world, "Protest" has enough gut and grit for any banner-waving street rally.
Carrying the subtitle of "A Global Dance Party", the self explanatory "Feet" is meant to rouse the most stubborn non-dancers straight to the dance floor.  Gone is the political subtext, which is replaced by crazy beats, sunny flavours and joyful vocals of people from the entire globe. Starting off with Cuban ÊmigrÊs who are based in Miami, Tiempo Libre and their salsa rendition of "El Guanajo Relleno", to the bhangra flavours of Shabaz and their "Lagian (Joyful Bhangra Dance), through to Natacha Atlas & Transglobal Underground's down-tempo take of "Amulet" [as remixed by TJ Rehmi], this collection has a little bit of something for just about every musical taste.  Salsa returns with Senegalese group Africando's take of "Yaye Boy" [Baron Lopez Remix]. Mystic Middle Eastern trance is best felt during Turkish Delight's "Oh De". You can just envision a slow belly dance coming down the tubes as the tune slowly caresses your mind and body. Zydeco music is represented by American outfit Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi-Rollers and their funky-bone-shaking "Give Him Cornbread". It's hard to imagine a better mix of dance music that is so well suited variety-wise and from a straight musical standpoint. A+ all around!
Record Label Records has been a strange little operation. Featuring odd bunch of candidates such as the bhangra heavy Kush Arora and the snippet touches of Fluorescent Grey, they've been slowly redefining the possibilities of plunderphonic electronic music. Featuring a funky plunderphonized movie poster of original Ghostbusters movie, "Ghos Busters III" is nothing short of a label showcase for their budding artists. Wobbly's wicked percussive glitches and radio static on "Limited Party" works quite well as does Mike Dunkley's faux rapping on "Dirty Birdie". Fluorescent Grey's "I am a Photograph of My Old Driveway?" does wonders with processing and a quaky sense of editing, while Kossak's beats on "Bassturbation" are lot more straight-forward, to the point of an actual rhythm being firmly established. Kush Arora gets top marks as usual for his bhangra craziness on "Ending Times". Each new track opens up a whole new door into the world of the crazed edit, a sharp mind and a brilliant insatiable beat.
As much as I love Polish jazz - Stanko, Bem, Milian, Komeda, Seifert could never do anyone any wrong - I tend to look on a jazz compilation with a certain amount of disdain. I suspect the 2 CD "The Best of Polish Jazz 2005" was put together in order to introduce non-Polish audiences to the flavours of music that is enjoying a fair amount of popularity in Poland [though in this world of pop standards, that popularity is a very relative term]. Having said that, at least from a commercial and mainstream point of view, it accomplishes its mission. Pianist Mikolaj Tokaj and his trio churn out a lovely rendition of "Skyline", while jmTrio, under the leadership of pianist Joachim Mencel do a fine, straight-forward take of "That Mountain (for David Friedman)". Simple Acoustic Trio's "Simple Jungle" is another example of the piano-bass-drum trio at work. One of the better numbers is one by the trio of bassist Marcin Oles, drummer Bartlomiej Oles and saxophonist David Murray called "Fair Play". For just over thirteen minutes, they stretch their chops and deliver a fully satisfying number in every imaginable aspect. This is what I'd call harmonious communication. Vocalist Grzegorz Karnas improvises flawlessly on the extended "Dreams", while Janusz Zdunek 5 Syfon ensemble delivers a nicely flowing number entitled "Waltz 4 Clown". One of the more satisfying numbers are the two offered by the Gdansk-based sextet Pink Freud. While "Jazz is Cool" sounds initially like a throw-back to Herbie Hancock's "Sextant" project from early 70's, "Conversations with a Life Jacket" is a more contemporary piece that features a good deal of squelchy samples and warm trumpet playing from Tomasz Zietek. As the liner notes appropriately point out "Polish jazz could make "jazz" popular music again in America, if only Americans had the chance to hear it." Amen to that!

- Tom Sekowski

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+ Pharaoh Overload - Live in Suomi Finland
+ Andromelos - Andromelos
+ Fresh Maggots - Fresh Maggots
+ Unfolding - Freak Out Party: How to Blow Your Mind
+ Susan Christie - Paint a Lady
+ Jan Jelinek - Kosmischer Pitch
+ Carl Craig - The Album Formerly known As ...
+ Funkstörung - Appendix
+ Skinny Puppy - Mythmaker
+ Boogy Bytes Vol.3 - Mixer By Modeselektor
+ Adult. - Why Bother?
+ Stewart Walker - Concentricity
+ Sleep Well - Chapter III
+ Anthony Rother - Moderntronic
+ 5YR: Five Years Of Regularity - Mixed By Jaumetic
+ Dr. J present 1 Love - Neophilia
+ LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver
+ International Deejay Gigolos 10 - Presented By DJ Hell
+ The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
+ Electronicat - Chez Toi
+ Dirty Doering - Saubermann
+ Matthew Dear - Deserter
+ Computer Incarnations For World Peace

- - - - - - - - -

+ HAL RAMMEL - Like Water Tightly Wound
+ MARTYN BATES - Your Jewled Footsteps
+ ROBERTO OPALIO - The Last Night of the Angel of Glass, Vol. I & II
+ THE STRANGLERS - Anthology
+ DAX PIERSON / ROBERT HORTON - Pablo Feldman Sun Riley
+ ZU & NOBUKAZU TAKEMURA - Identifications with the Enemy, A Key to the Underworld
+ YELLOW 6 - Painted Sky
+ FENNESZ - Endless Summer
+ NINE HORSES - Money For All
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - HEAVYBreathing - The Sounds of Sex - Vol. 3 - Stop It! - HEAVYBreathing - The Sounds of Sex - Vol. 4 - Touch Me!
+ KATHY DIAMOND - Miss Diamond To You
+ FRED LONBERG-HOLM TRIO - Terminal Valentine
+ JASPER LEYLAND - Fieldstone
+ KILO - Kilo / POLE - Steingarten / TELESEEN - War / HECKER - Recordings for Rephlex
+ AURAH - Etherea Borealis
+ THE STYLE COUNCIL - Live at the Full House Rock Show DVD / BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE - Live E=MC2 DVD
+ DANIEL MENCHE - Animality
+ ANDREA CENTAZZO MITTELEUROPA ORCHESTRA - The Complete Recordings 1980 - 1981 - The Complete Recordings 1982 - 1983
+ DAVID TOOP - Sound Body
+ ASTRO & SUZUKI JUNZO - Cosmic Blues Experience / SUZUKI JUNZO - November.10.2001
+ DOCTOR BOB - Dark Times
+ THE BAMBOOS - Rawville
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Strictly Drum and Bass - The Roots of Sly and Robbie / VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Historic Roots of Ska
+ FRED ANDERSON & HAMID DRAKE - From the River to the Ocean
+ TG MAUSS - Gravity Will Keep Us All Together
+ POEM ROCKET - Invasion!
+ JENNIFER GENTLE - A New Astronomy
+ MIRA CALIX - Eyes Set Against the Sun / !!! - Myth Takes / LONDON SINFONIETTA - Warp Works & Twentieth Century Masters
+ ISRAEL QUELLET - Oppressum
>> VARIOUS ARTISTS - Maiden Voyage / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Protest - Feet / ASSORTED PERFORMERS - Ghos Busters III / VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Best of Polish Jazz 2005
+ SOFTWAR - Softwar
+ THE ETERNALS - Heavy International

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+ Writing rhythms is easy - rozmowa z Stewart'em Walker'em
+ Regularity is the secret - wywiad z Jaumetic'em [Regular label]
+ Szybsze bicie serca - rozmowa z Patrycją Hefczyńską aka DJ Patrisią [Husky]
+ My fire is burning - wywiad z Hell'em [Gigolo Records]