WOJTEK MAZOLEWSKI — Smells Like Tape Spirit (review)

WOJTEK MAZOLEWSKI — Smells Like Tape Spirit album cover Album · 2011 · Nu Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
js
Wojtek Mazolewski is the bass player for popular nu jazz pranksters Pink Frued, who combine a sort of Devoesque deconstructionist humor with very catchy pop jazz tunes to make some very successful modern groove jazz CDs. This new group, which carries his name as the group name, seems to be his attempt at something a little more serious, but I’m not sure if they are entirely successful here. On ‘Smells like Tape Spirit’, Wojtek combines acoustic nu jazz ambience with post bop melodies and avant-garde excursions that could be a recipe for some great music, but the whole project suffers from lack of focus and incoherent structures. There is a sort of attention deficit disorder to the arrangements here as the band seems to wander from section to section without any organic coherence which reveals a possible lack of experience in the fundamentals of the more demanding genres of jazz outside of the ‘groove and play’ world of modern jazz.

The tune ‘Kaczence’ best exemplifies some of the frustrations to be found here. The tune opens with a great post bop melody reminiscent of McCoy Tyner in the 60s and you are ready for the jam to kick in when the band stumbles immediately into an avant-garde section which wouldn’t be so bad but then they cast that aside for some silly polka deconstructions and then wander here and there and everywhere else and after a while my interest starts wandering as much as their wobbly arrangements.

There is an assumption sometimes amongst younger musicians that you can somehow by pass the necessary steps and just jump right into avant-garde jazz like a pro, but to the veteran discerning listener, these artists will always be obvious. The best avant-garde jazz is always played by those musicians who learned their craft well before they started to take it apart. Take the great Sun Ra for example, who earned his stripes under the seminal band leader Fletcher Henderson. What Ra learned from this great arranger was always there to be called on when needed. Before you can take something apart, you need to know how to put it back together.

For the casual listener this CD might provide some nice modern jazz ambience. There could be a bright future for this group, the players are talented and have a lot of potential. I think they just dove into the deep end a little too soon and need more time perfecting their craft before they wander too far again.
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js wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Ouch, now I feel bad for them, but if you were looking for more like Pink Frued though, yeah, save your money.
bartosso wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I was about to buy it, but I guess it's not worth it. Thanks for the review.

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