Reviews that mention Waclaw Zimpel

January 2, 2019

Jazztopad Festival 2018

November 20-25, 2018
Wroclaw, Poland

By Ken Waxman

Photos by Susan O'Connor

Inclusion is what makes Jazztopad, the annual festival in Wroclaw, Poland, so notable. While visitors see a cross-section of international players on stage at the modernist, glass-clad Witold Lutoslawski National Forum of Music (NFM) each night, they’re also welcome at the nightly jam sessions in the funky basement Mleczarnia Club around the corner. On weekend afternoons they can participate in house concerts in selected locations around Wroclaw, where accomplished locals trade musical ideas with visiting players, including some featured at NFM concerts. MORE

May 27, 2016

Dominik Strycgarski Core 6

Czôczkò
ForTune 0071(010)

From its beginnings, part of the appeal of Jazz and/or improvised music was how inventive experimenters altered existing tunes, initially American folk ballads and pop songs. As the music became more international so did the sources. Like manufactures which source raw materials internationally, improvisers had access to different melodies. Increased internationalism also meant that local improvisers began to draw on their own country’s heritage for inspiration.

With Czôczkò, Warsaw-based blockflutist Dominik Strycgarski and his five associates have come up with an appealing program inspired by Kashubian hymns. More notably, Strycgarski’s arrangements and the ensemble’s composition – two reeds, two double basses, two drummers – means that the brief program is transfigured from rote reproduction of songs from Poland’s West Slavic ethnic group to sophisticated 21st Century sounds. Like peasants still sporting frilly overblouses and flowered kerchiefs, but who text via smart phones and ipods, what’s maintained in these performances is the concept of unbridled foot-stomping elation. MORE

March 12, 2016

Ziporyn/Zimpel/Zemler/Riley

Green Light
MultiKulti MPTO 12

Christian Lillinger

Grund

Pirouet PIT 3086

Die Hochstapler

Plays the music of Alvin R. Buckley

Umlaut ub007

Théo Ceccaldi’s Quartet

Petit Moutarde

ONJazz JP-001

Ziporyn/Zimpel/Zemler/Riley

Green Light

MultiKulti MPTO 12

Dikeman/Parker/Drake

Live at La Resistenza

El Negocito Records eNR041

Something in the Air: Young Blood Still Pumps in Jazz
MORE

March 2, 2016

Switchback

Switchback
MultiKulti MPI 026

Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra

Nature Moves

ForTune 0036 (025)

Clarinetist Wacław Zimpel could be the poster boy for modern Polish improvised music. Unlike pop music or film idols whose celebrity commonly consists of being able to repeatedly play the same role, the Warsaw-based reedist has created international interest because of his extreme versatility. With playing partners raging from trombonist Steve Swell to kotoist Michiyo Yagi, Zimpel defies simple characterization. MORE

March 2, 2016

Wacław Zimpel To Tu Orchestra

Nature Moves
ForTune 0036 (025)

Switchback

Switchback

MultiKulti MPI 026

Clarinetist Wacław Zimpel could be the poster boy for modern Polish improvised music. Unlike pop music or film idols whose celebrity commonly consists of being able to repeatedly play the same role, the Warsaw-based reedist has created international interest because of his extreme versatility. With playing partners raging from trombonist Steve Swell to kotoist Michiyo Yagi, Zimpel defies simple characterization.

Take these two sessions, recorded within two weeks of one another. On Nature Moves the clarinetist’s six reductionist compositions are played by a Polish nonet with the taunt economy of a duo. Besides stoic timbral examination related to microtonal notated sounds, the pieces also include improvisational outpourings and Occidental echoes. Like trying to compare a dwarf and a giant, Switchback couldn’t provide more of a contrast. Four shards of sinewy Free Jazz, Zimpel symbolically butts heads with Americans, saxophonist/flutist Mars Williams and bassist Hillard Greene as well as German percussionist Klaus Kugel, who has toured with Charles Gayle. MORE

June 20, 2014

Label Spotlight

For Tune
By Ken Waxman

Like many projects related to improvised music, the origin of Warsaw’s FOR TUNE (Publishing House) recordings began with three jazz fans talking. Jarek Polit, vice-president of the label and one of its three full-time staffers, had been managing a record store for decades, and he was enthusiastically telling two of his regular customers about the 11-piece Power of the Horns (POH) band which hadn’t yet recorded. Similarly enthusiastic, the other two joined forces with him to present POH in a small local cub. “It was like hitting the bull’s eye,” recalls Polit. “So we thought we might create a phonographic company to implement our own ideas, and record some interesting though not commercially viable projects.” Released as a two-disc CD-DVD package, POH’s Alaman became the first For Tune in 2013. Now the catalogue is heading towards 30 releases with many more to come. MORE

June 20, 2014

Hera with special guest Hamid Drake

Seven Lines
MultiKulti MPI 030

By Ken Waxman

Billed as special guest, Hamid Drake fills more than that role on Seven Lines. The Chicago-based drummer fits into this expanded edition of the Polish Hera band like incense within a censer. The reason is simple. Known for his sophisticated contributions as a jazz drummer, Drake is also at ease in so-called world music, playing in African-inspired and reggae bands. Hera bandleader, reedist Wacław Zimpel is his homologue. A frequent associate of jazzers like Ken Vandermark, the clarinetist’s compositions for Hera are based on Japanese, Iranian tribal and Tibetan themes. Moreover when Zimpel and Hera’s saxophonist Paweł Postaremczak play harmonium, and Raphael Rogiński’s guitar and Maciek Cierliński’s hurdy-gurdy join in, it’s as if the ensemble is made up of tabla, sitar and ektara (one-stringed drone instrument). MORE

March 3, 2014

Keefe Jackson's Likely So

A Round Goal
Delmark DE 5009

S.O.S.

Looking for the Next One.

Cuneiform RUNE 360/361

Robert Marcel Lepage

Le lait maternel.

Ambiances Magnétiques AM 212

Double Trio de Clarinettes

Itinéraire Bis

Between the Lines BTLCHR 71231

Something In The Air: Reed Blends.

By Ken Waxman.

Reed sections have been part of jazz’s performing vernacular since its earliest days. But only with the freedom that arose with modern improvised music in the 1960s were the woodwinds able to stand on their own. In the right hands, with the right ideas, a group consisting only of saxophones and/or clarinets can produce satisfying sounds that don’t need the intervention of a rhythm section or even brass for additional colors. All of the fine discs here demonstrate that. MORE

January 26, 2014

Wacław Zimpel Quartet

Stone Fog
Fortune 0009/009

One of the few Polish jazzers with an international profile, Poznań-native Wacław Zimpel is mostly known through his work in one of Chicago reedist Ken Vandermark’s Euro-American ensembles. At the same time the clarinetist has established himself as a leader with his own bands, including the one on this CD, featuring German drummer Klaus Kugel.

Although Stone Fog fits snugly in the genre of atmospheric, Nordic scene-setting and adornment, six earlier tunes chug along before ample sonic rewards are audible. “One Side of my Face is colder than the other” and “Stone Fog”, the penultimate and final tracks may be chock full of vibrant creative improvising, but the earlier ones meander through a miasma of similar tempos timbres and textures. Although the satisfaction engendered by the last two tunes is like suddenly watching an energized runner start sprinting after an episode of desultory pacing, is the delayed pleasure worth it? Perhaps in a live situation Zimpel could concretely demonstrate the building process that goes into transforming introversion to action, but an aural media is more unforgiving. MORE

June 18, 2013

The Resonance Ensemble

What Country is This?
NotTwo MW 885-2

Fire! Orchestra

Exit!

Rune Grammofon RDCD 2138

Lean Left

Live at Café Oto

Unsounds 32U

Double Tandem

Cement

PNL Records PNL 013

Something in The Air: Modern Rhythms and New Jazz

By Ken Waxman

As the rhythmic base of jazz has changed over the past half century, adding emphases besides pure swing to improvisation, the role of the percussionist has changed as well. No longer just a time keeper the modern drummer must be conversant with varied beats from many genres of music. This familiarity with other cultures is also why many non-Americans have become prominent. Case in point is Norwegian percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, who plays with the Euro-American band Lean Left band at the Tranzac on June 15. Nilssen-Love, whose associates range from the most committed electronics dial-twister to free-form veterans is equally proficient laying down a hard rock-like beat as he is trading accents with experimental timbre-shatters. The two extended tracks on Live at Café Oto Unsounds 32U demonstrate not only Nilssen-Love’s cohesive skills amplifying the improvisations of Chicago-based tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Vandermark as he does in many other contexts, but shows how both react to the power chords and violent string distortions which characterize the style of guitarists Andy Moor and Terrie Ex from Dutch punk band The Ex, who complete this quartet. In spite of Vandermark’s consistent overblowing which encompasses pumping altissimo honks and frenetic slurs; plus the guitarists’ constant crunches, smashes and frails, the drumming never degenerate into monotonous rock music-like banging. Instead, while the backbeat isn’t neglected, auxiliary clips, ruffs, ratamacues and smacks are used by Nilssen-Love to break up the rhythm, with carefully measured pulsations. This strategy is most obvious during the climatic sections of the more-than-37 minute Drevel. With all four Lean Lefters improvising in broken octaves, the narratives shakes to and fro between Vandermark’s collection of emphasized freak notes and dyspeptic stridency and the dual guitarists’ slurred fingering that leads to staccato twangs and jangling strums. Not only is the climax attained with a crescendo of volume and excitement, but the final theme variations are in contrast as stark and minimalist as the earlier ones are noisy. As guitars methodically clank as if reading a post-modern composition, and the clarinet lines emphasize atonal reed bites, intermittent stick strokes and toe-pedal pressure from the drummer concentrates the sound shards into the track’s calm finale. MORE

December 5, 2011

Undivided

Movement Between Clouds
Multikulti Project MPT 002

By Ken Waxman

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. At least that’s how it appears since American clarinetist Perry Robinson has joined the Undivided combo, adding his voice to what previously had been an indivisible whole, despite every member being from a different country.

Not that there’s anything particularly grating about the playing of the clarinetist who has followed a singular path since the 1960s. However by appending another reed sound to that of Polish bass clarinet, clarinet and tarogato player Wacław Zimpel, means that tentativeness infects this CD, compared to the band’s stronger debut session as a quartet, recorded five months previously. As a matter of fact, figuring that this record of a Warsaw concert is programmed in chronological order, all five don’t seem to be fully in sync until the final track, the nearly 20-minute “What A Big Quiet Noise.” MORE

February 7, 2011

Undivided

The Passion
Multikulti MPI 011

Augustí Fernández/Barry Guy/Ramón López

Morning Glory

Maya Records MCD 1001

Ozone featuring Miklós Lukács

This is C'est la Vie

BMC Records BMCCD163

Nils Ostendorf/Philip Zoubek/Philippe Lauzier

Subsurface

Schraum Records 11

Something in the Air: Global Combos

By Ken Waxman

Globalization, mass communication and travel have actually created certain situations where the standardization of everything from hamburger patties to drum beats can be experienced no matter where in the world a person is situated. Increased mobility also, for instance, allows like-minded musicians in different locations to exchange thoughts and ideas. Because of this, the 21st Century has seen the instigation of literal global ensembles; musicians who work together regularly but live in different cities, countries or even continents. MORE

June 13, 2009

Zimpel/Traczyk/Rasz Trio

The Light
Multikulti Project MPI 003

Tony Dryer/Jacob Felix Heule/Jacob Lindsay

Idea of West

Creative Sources CS 132 CD

Staple of Dixieland and Swing Era combos, clarinet-led trios have had to wait for the liberating climate of POMO Free Music to become prevalent again. Not that any two are identical. Despite the instrumentation for instance, these two reed-bass-drum combos – one American and one Polish – clearly demonstrate that imagination is the only restraint on creativity. Although lacking a chordal instrument, neither is limited in any way. MORE

June 13, 2009

Tony Dryer/Jacob Felix Heule/Jacob Lindsay

Idea of West
Creative Sources CS 132 CD

Zimpel/Traczyk/Rasz Trio

The Light

Multikulti Project MPI 003

Staple of Dixieland and Swing Era combos, clarinet-led trios have had to wait for the liberating climate of POMO Free Music to become prevalent again. Not that any two are identical. Despite the instrumentation for instance, these two reed-bass-drum combos – one American and one Polish – clearly demonstrate that imagination is the only restraint on creativity. Although lacking a chordal instrument, neither is limited in any way. MORE