Wojciech Staroniewicz “Karambola”

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Wojciech Staroniewicz – tenor
& soprano saxophone
Robert Majewski
& flugelhorn
Grzegorz Nagórski
– trombone
Cezary Paciorek
– piano
Olgierd Walicki
– double bass
Cezary Konrad
– drums
Nippy Noya
– conga & percussion



1.   Karambola 6’52
2.   Melo d’Amelie 5’38
3.   Pros & Cons 7’45
4.   How Insensitive 4’28
5.   When You’re Sleeping 6’19
6.   Summertime 7’20
7.   Up Train 9’58

Karambola follows Quiet City as another programme of Wojtek Staroniewicz’s authorship.  As a saxophonist, composer and a semi-finalist of the International Jazz Improvisation Competition in Washington, D.C., Staroniewicz this time reaches deep into the Latin American music, still however staying in touch with the specificity of the middle stream jazz.
The premiere concert at the Sopot Molo Jazz Festival received vivid reception of the public, which was subsequently reflected in enthusiastic reviews:

“Trying to describe this extraordinary musical event I am left with no option but to capitulate.  I was literally staring with my mouth open and listening, absorbing, absorbing the music and drowning in delight. Oh, man! If this carambolic concert is ever to be repeated, do take the risk and spend your last ten zloty (or even more, if jazz is to be subject to inflation) to see it, simply because it is worth it.”
Stanisław Danielewicz “Jazzi Magazine” 28/1998

“Already the first piece amazed me with the diabolic rhythmic divisions, executed with freedom full of disinvolture. The next thing that followed was, like in Hitchcock, only crescendo…”
Roman Kowal “Jazz Forum” 9/1998

According to the readers of Jazz Forum, this concert was one of the biggest jazz events of the year 1998.  This same year Karambola was being applauded at Gdynia Summer Jazz Days ’99, which evening also featured Kenny Garret, Chick Corea and Gary Burton.  Karambola also opened the Jazz Jamboree 99 festival.

The Karambola project was created with the participation of eminent musicians with whom Wojtek has been co-operation for years, namely Cezary Paciorek on piano, Olgierd Walicki on double bass and Cezary Konrad on drums.  Also, especially for this project, Robert Majewski on trumpet and Grzegorz Nagórski on trombone were invited.  And that’s not all.  On percussion instruments we have Nippy Noya, an Indonesian musician who has played with Stan Getz, John McLaughlin and Astrud Gilberto.

Music played by Staroniewicz represents the healthy contemporary jazz, firmly anchored partly in Coltrane and partly in the finest traditions of The Messengers, without a doubt belonging to the Tricity school, which school for years now has been arousing admiration and awe among the members of our society.  It is the same school which is associated most of all with Leszek Możdżer’s sextet, a school which has grown substantially to place into its orbit many musicians originating from other parts of the world.  This school should not however be viewed as just another schism, but as one being founded on universal jazz values. The only thing it rejects a priori is any kind of routine…” – Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski

     This album by veteran Polish Jazz saxophonist / composer Wojciech Staroniewicz was recorded with a septet, which also included trumpeter Robert Majewski, trombonist Grzegorz Nagorski, pianist Cezary Paciorek, bassist Olgierd Walicki, drummer Cezary Konrad and Indonesian (living in Netherlands) percussionist Nippy Noya. It includes seven compositions, five of which are originals by the leader and two are standards.
     It was also the first release on his own record label, called Allegro Records, one of the first musician’s owned independent record labels in Poland, which just a decade prior to the release date of this album finally managed to shake off the Socialist regime. During that regime’s rule, which lasted for forty five years, all recordings in Poland were released only by the state owned record label, which single-handedly dictated which music saw the light of day and which didn’t. Of course as a result many great musicians, especially those with avant garde inclinations or anti-Government attitude, never received the opportunity to make an album. After the regime’s fall by the end of 1980s, the economic realities replaced the political censorship as a decisive factor as to which music will be released, and an independent, self owned record label is definitely the best solution. In retrospect Allegro Records managed to become one of the leading such labels in Poland, releasing consistently excellent material by the owner, his many friends and other Polish Jazz musicians.
The music on this album presents a change of direction for Staroniewicz, as for the first time his great love for World Music is revealed in full. Strongly influenced by Cuban music and other South American musical accents, the music emerges as a superb amalgam of classic mainstream with these folkloristic elements. Beautifully arranged and perfectly executed, it is a non-stop delight from start to finish, with plenty of great soloing and excellent support by the rhythm section. The presence of Noya adds greatly to the overall sound and enhances the World Music feel. Although to a great extent sophisticated, the music sounds really “easy” and most of all danceable, which is a rare achievement. There is an incredible version of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” here, which will make your behind vibrate.
This is definitely an album every true Jazz connoisseur would love to have in his collection. I can’t help it but to recommend it wholeheartedly. Superb stuff.
Adam Baruch