Gdańsk bassist takes US by storm with ‘one of the best five jazz albums’ of 2018
A record by a jazz quintet led by a bassist from Gdańsk has been judged by the American magazine Downbeat as one of the best five jazz albums of 2018.
‘Polka Worldwide Deluxe Edition’ by the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet was released in August under the British label Whirlwind Recordings, and cut a dash in the jazz world both in Europe and the United States.
Led by the 42-year-old bassist Mazolewski the quintet consists of Joanna Duda, Marek Pospiech, Oskar Torok and Qba Janicki.
The album draws upon an eclectic mix of influences, distilling traditional with modern jazz and lacing it with the sounds of Polish jazz from the 1960s and 70s. But ‘Polka’ also comes with hints of contemporary music from a crowd as diverse as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin.
Most of the tracks on the album are named after cities from around the world, reflecting its cosmopolitan influences.
“A musical travelogue of sorts - all but one of the 12 originals on the new collection bear the name of a place,” wrote Downbeat in its assessment of the album. “Hearing these city-inspired compositions side by side, listeners can appreciate just how gifted Mazolewski is at capturing place through sound.”
Mazolewski says he chose to call the album ‘Polka’ because the word polka has different meanings around the world, from the Czech dance to a Polish woman—appropriate given that one of the quintet is a woman from Poland.
“I offer you an album full of enthusiasm and emotion,” Mazolewski told the Whirlwind Recording’s website.
“This nostalgic, crazy and introspective musical tale is the reflection of my experiences. Music is an abstract message, packed with energy and power, which you can interpret as you wish. Take from it whatever works for you – that’s why it exists.”