I chatted a few days ago to electric bass player Janek Gwizdala (above). He was in Los Angeles.
Tonight April 9th and tomorow night Good Friday, he’s in London, at Charlie Wright’s. Then he’s off to Europe. Then he’s back to do Boaters in Kingston on the 19th. Then back to New York.
So where’s home these days, I ask him? Since 2005 it’s been half New York and half Los Angeles. And on tour…
Gwizdala is an astonishing player, with an improbable life-story:
-home-educated in Mitcham
-intense training as teenage member of the British national kayaking squad
-first instrument drums
-at 16 mesmerised by Laurence Cottle
-hanging out as apprentice juggler in Stretham (machetes/ flame-torches) with Cottle
-one year at RAM
-1998 off to Berklee.
Since when he has been hanging out with the best- Mike Stern , Gary Husband, countless others…. The band at Charlie Wright’s has the formidable Swiss New Yorker Jojo Mayer on drums, with whom he has worked for eight years. Plus pianist/singer Oli Rockberger, and Norwegian trumpeter Audrun Waage.
Gwizdala has any number of offers to play in rock bands (he was touring earlier this year with Jem , TV shows. So what’s driving him musicaly? Playing presenting his own music with guys he wants to play with. And making the touring financially viable. Which is precisely what the Charlie Wright’s gigs are about.
There are reams and reams more information about him on CDBaby’s CD review pages .
I heard gigs in 2007 with Gary Husband, Elliott Mason from Norwich who is now in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and Gwilym Simcock. There’s a good sequence on Youtube from one at the 606. It’s playing, it’s a commmand of the bass which stay indelibly in the mind.
There is another angle on this. Gwizdala is a partner in a very interesting project called
Art on Earth . Art on Earth is a means of distributing music online which leaves the artist far more control than other similar systems. I will write about it in more detail…..later.