Quintet (Blackout Music; 2011)
Andreas Lang (bass)
Anders Mogensen (drums)
Tomasz Dabrowski (trumpet)
A wonderful discovery for me in the last few days has been a quintet session from Tomasz Licak and Artur Tuznik. This fairly new (in terms of lineup) Polish/Danish quintet are young but possess the great energy and punch of their influences. The group combine a sensual style of contemporary modern with well crafted improvisation. Their latest release, simply titled, Quintet feels like mid-period Branford Marsalis or an adventurous One For All.
The group manage to sound well at home in the modern hard bop setting as they do when they let the rhythm fly. "Uwaga" comes pounding out of the speaker with vigour. Tuznik and Mogensen drive the beat with cinematic effect. Tuznik shapes the piece with somber relaxed movements intertwined with improvised changes. These are cut across boisterous chords from the horn section which make "Uwaga" a massive opening statement.
"Lightblub In Green" reminds me of the best moments of being in a jazz club and closing my eyes to the rhythm. Lang and Licak have a lovely exchange midway through that could resemble Jackie Mclean and Paul Chambers at their Blue Note best. The quintet quietly swing with verve and each member's contribution is heard crystal clear. The tone is lowered on the melodic and beautiful "Nardis" (also featured on their previous album as Last Call). It's a technical and introspective piece where Tuznik takes center stage and delivers a performance that slowly envelops you with very powerful emotions. Tearful.
While most of the material on Quintet has a contemporary atmosphere, "Hobbit" rips the cover off the box and the group conjure up a funky groove built inside patterns of free jazz. It may have the uninitiated shaking their heads and they will eventually be sucked into the groove. There are individual moments where band members create subtle colours and tones and then return to the fire free form of their original theme.
Quintet is a stellar addition to the brief catalog of Licak and Tuznik and they will definitely be one of the creative duos that we will be talking about in the next few years. I loved this record and think its a must for every music fan. And I'm not just talking jazz fans. This is the wonderful balance between contemporary and free jazz.