Feature/Interview

Zbigniew Namysłowski Quintet… play music of Namysłowski and Komeda (Jazz Cafe POSK 7 Dec)

Zbigniew Namysłowski with his quintet will perform at Jazz Cafe POSK in London on Saturday, December 7, 2019. This outstanding musician will play both some of his most famous compositions and selected compositions of Krzysztof Komeda, whose 50th death anniversary falls this year. This concert is a part of the series of events “Tomasz Furmanek invites…” and Furmanek wrote this preview for LondonJazz News:

Zbigniew Namysłowski (Photo © Filip Błażejowski)

Zbigniew Namysłowski, a phenomenal saxophonist and composer, is an icon of Polish jazz and the first Polish musician to record an album in Western Europe – it was Lola for Decca in 1964. The artist is an unsurpassed master of Polish jazz dialect, who has managed to develop an original musical language understood by both Polish and global jazz audiences.

In the early ’60s, at the beginning of his career, Namysłowski came to England where he impressed jazz audiences with his innovative approach to jazz. Here is how the artist himself recalls this period in one of the interviews that I had the pleasure of conducting with him earlier this year:

“After the success of my quartet at Jazz Jamboree Festival ’63, we were invited several times to the United Kingdom for tours. During one of these English tours our impresario managed to agree with a publisher and the Decca label. These were really big tours all over England, Wales and Scotland, we were almost everywhere, lots of concerts, and basically any place we played we were very successful! Well, apparently, a rumour about us had spread and Decca decided to record our music. At that time, we had such compositions in the program as Siódmawka or Piątawka, which were inspired by Polish mountain folklore. In addition, we played few ballads of mine, like Beautiful Lola, Flower of the North, and something else more folkloric too, and these were the forms that had never been heard there before. In other words, not only was I a musician from behind the ‘iron curtain’, but it also turned out that this musician had his own voice and showed something… innovatory”.

In 1965, Krzysztof Komeda invited him to record the album Astigmatic, widely regarded as one of the milestones in the history of jazz music: “Krzysztof just invited me to play a concert and then to record this album. Generally, I did not play – and I would not play – in the Komeda’s band, because I always dealt with my own affairs and composed myself the repertoire for my band. In case of playing, for example, in Komeda’s band, I would have to be only a performer of someone else’s music. Nevertheless, it was a great cooperation, and this album turned out to be a huge success and constantly gains first places in the rankings of the best Polish jazz albums.”

During the concert on 7 December at Jazz Café POSK, Namysłowski will play both his most famous compositions, such as, for example, Kuyaviak Goes Funky or Jasmine Lady, as well as selected compositions of Krzysztof Komeda, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Komeda’s tragic death This will also be an extremely rare opportunity to hear fragments of Astigmatic played live.

Zbigniew Namysłowski with his trombonist son Jacek. (Photo © Filip Błażejowski)

Namysłowski has played all over the world but he always mentions the U.K. – and especially London – with a great enthusiasm: “I think it is a great city, very international, I feel great here! I think it is the friendliest place in Europe, towards everyone. Of course, Paris too, although Paris is a little different… London is open to everyone, everyone is treated here equally well and I like it enormously – not to mention the atmosphere of the city itself, it’s fun here…”

Namysłowski has recorded almost 30 original albums, many of which have been released abroad. Records such as Winobranie (1973) and Kuyaviak Goes Funky (1975) became huge jazz hits in Poland and were recognized as one of the best albums of all times in Polish jazz. In 1980 he recorded the first album with his funk jazz band Air Condition: Follow Your Kite. The band was hugely popular, touring a lot in Poland and Europe.

From the beginning of his career Zbigniew Namysłowski has stayed at the forefront of Polish jazz, he is a laureate of many Fryderyk music awards, and in 2014 and 2015 he was awarded the title of the alto saxophonist of the year in the Jazz Top poll.

Zbigniew Namysłowski Quinte play music of Namysłowski and Komeda
Jazz Café POSK,
238-246 King Street, London W6 0RF
Saturday 7 December 2019
Door time: 7:30pm Music starts: 8:30pm
Ticket price: £20

LINK: Booking link

Jazz Cafe Posk

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