KRZESIMIR DĘBSKI — Krzesimir Dębski & Tadeusz Sudnik : Borello (review)

KRZESIMIR DĘBSKI — Krzesimir Dębski & Tadeusz Sudnik : Borello album cover Live album · 2023 · Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
My interest to music comes from my early teens, and Polish music was a huge influence during my formative period. Two years of accordion private lessons didn't impress me a lot, later I tried to become a drummer in a school band, without a significant success. My hometown, Vilnius, in Russia's occupied Lithuania wasn't a very inspiring place, with a lot of people in gray military uniforms, dark blue militiamen and civilians, wearing same gray clothes, usually silent. There was quite a lot of music on state TV and radio stations (private stations didn't exist at all at that time), but it was predominantly kitsch versions of (mostly Russian) folklore and hyper-enthusiastic Soviet propaganda-pop. Plus some classics – classics sounded especially boring for my ears.

And there was Polish Radio – one of two foreign radio stations I could listen to regularly. The other was a BBC Russian services, banned in the Soviet Union. Its signal was usually weak, but time to time it was possible to listen to their excellent Friday night radio shows, dedicated to rock music.

Differently, Polish Radio had a strong and high quality radio signal. There was lot of short talks in a language I didn't really understand, and a lot of music between the talks too. I learned my basic Polish trying to understand what the voices on the radio were talking about, and my musical aesthetics were formed under the heavy influence of music I listened to regularly on Polish Radio.

That music was similar to what I already knew, but different at the same time. Doesn't matter, what genre it was – pop, rock or even r'n'b and reggae, it sounded richer, more full-bodied, brighter, much more colorful. As a teenager, I had no idea, where this difference came from. Only later I find out, that this difference in sound (and in general aesthetics too) was the result of different arrangements. It was quite often JAZZY ARRANGEMENTS, making almost any music sound fabulous.

Some years and decades later I found the genius of Tomasz Stanko trumpet, jazz, Polish fusion and many more. But even now, from almost half-a-century time distance, Poland for me is a land where all music sounds jazzy. Crossing the country by car, every time I impatiently wait for the moment when my car's radio is able to catch the first possible Polish radio station – almost always I get that very specific soulful, sometimes slightly melancholic jazzy sound of Poland, doesn't matter who plays.

It's a shame on me. I didn't know before who Krzesimir Dębski and Tadeusz Sudnik are. True, I knew Polish fusion stars from the 80s, The String Connection, and I knew Stanko's Freelectronic project, but I never knew the names of both band's members. As a foreigner, I knew even less about Krzesimir Dębski's films soundtracks and classical works. Then, two Polish jazz seasoned artists' new work comes for me as a discovery of sort.

Listening to a lot of jazz (hundreds of albums annually) for a few decades, it's not a regular situation when you start listening to a new album of seasoned artists without expectations, you are not familiar with their music and simply don't know what to expect. It's quite a good thing, history teaches us that expectations often lead to disappointments.

So, Krzesimir Dębski and Tadeusz Sudnik Borello, present a comeback album after long pause. Four longish (between 9+ and almost 15 minutes long) free form compositions, recorded by a duo of violinist/keyboardist and a live electronics wizard. The music which could be formally tagged as “jazz-electronica” has nothing in common with New Millennium jazz related electronica, like played by Squarepusher or Flying Lotus. With an absolute dominance of analog sound, this album's electronics are much closer to American composer and early Moog player Richard Teitelbaum's music.

Album's opener, “Borro”, dedicated to Tomasz Stanko, sounds very much as a variation of early Miles abstract fusion, with Dębski's violin soloing instead of trumpet. Warm and tuneful, this song sounds very much as if had been composed, not fully improvised. “Rebo”, the album's longest piece, is of a more amorphous nature, centered around vintage electronic rhythms. Quite relaxed though.

“Lerro” is a mid-tempo song with violin soloing over the (warm) synth loops and bubbles, in moments quite unpolished and almost nervous. “Rero”, the closer, same way as a previous piece, sounds more improvised, freer than the first two album's songs. Still, there are lot of tuneful snippets and emotively colored violin.

Not really a revolutionary album, still it's a very impressive standing alone work of two masters. Maturity, knowledge of the past world without even traces of sentimental melancholy, and that soulful jazzy feel so important for Polish jazz. Bravo!
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