Tomasz Kudyk - trumpet, flugelhorn
Bartłomiej Prucnal - alto saxophone
Dominik Wania - piano
Maciej Adamczak - double bass
Dawid Fortuna - drums
Teatr Witkacego od-Jazz-dowo
PRIVATE EDITION 060
By Adam Baruch
This is the fifth album by Polish Jazz quintet New Bone, led by trumpeter Tomasz Kudyk and including saxophonist Bartlomiej Prucnal, pianist Dominik Wania, bassist Maciej Adamczak and drummer Dawid Fortuna. It presents seven compositions by Jerzy Chruscinski, the resident composer of the Witkacy Theater in Zakopane, which were scored for seven different spectacles produced and performed by the Witkacy Theater over time and are now dressed up as Jazz pieces arranged by the members of New Bone.
Although Wania, who joined the quintet just before they recorded their previous album, upgraded the overall level of their playing considerably, the quintet struggles from day one with their tendency to copy American Jazz from the 1960 and stay safely within the mainstream idiom, which was a waste of their potential. This album comes as a surprise in some respect, since New Bone make for the first time a serious effort to step up their antiquated approach and move into modern Jazz, still within the mainstream guidelines but at least using wider and less constrained tools to make the music more interesting, thanks more often than not to Wania's superb playing.
The arrangements work very well transforming the compositions, which were initially not meant as Jazz compositions, into the Jazz milieu, and are all good examples of the incredible importance and strength of a good arrangements. The performances are also quite excellent, vigorous and well rounded, as appropriate for musicians of such statue. Wania plays a myriad of small accents, chords and little ditties, which add a whole new dimension to this music and which would have sounded much less excitement without them. Prucnal gets at last an opportunity to show his chops and plays some exciting solos, although does not follow Wania in the "thinking beyond the box" approach. The rhythm section does a good job supporting the soloists and keeping the rhythmic dynamics working, but again avoids any attempt to try innovative rhythmic techniques.
Overall this is definitely the best album recorded by New Bone, which finally shows hope that they might make it after all into an exciting and interesting musical unit, which they deserve to become. Let's hope for the best.