Live Jazz and Acoustic Music in Bristol
Last few months saw some cracking gigs starting with Barry Green's Trio. I must say that Kit Downes new trio The Enemy took the music to a completely different level with an outstanding evening of music, truely a great night and a privilege to hear it. The month finished with Michael Janisch's powerful new sextet 'Paradigm Shift'.
One gig lined up for November with Pinski Zoo back in Bristol after over a decade and a half. This contemporary, hard edged Jazz/Rock, experimental combo took inspiration from Soft Machine and King Crimson and was probably the forerunner of bands such as Polar Bear, Partikel, Acoustic Ladyland, The F-IRE Collective and the Sons of Kemet. This will not be for the faint hearted and will be full-on!
The band appears in Bristol tonight following on from their appearance at The London Jazz Festival. This is a significant musical re-union by Pinski Zoo (PZ) and Wojtek Konikiewicz, for it was exactly 30 years ago that Jan Kopinski first led Nottingham cross genre jazz group Pinski Zoo on several extensive tours in a bleak but musically exciting, post-martial law Poland; playing at the early Jazz Nad Odra festival in Wroclaw and Warsaw’s Jazz Jamboree. Wojtek joined with the group on one of those tours in his homeland in 1985, this led to several collaborations, tours and journeys of research in Poland, including a rare Poljazz album - Live in Warsaw.
Following the Second World War, Poland became annexed by communist Russia and despite it becoming a Republic in 1959 and being perceived as the least oppressive State under Soviet control; persecution of non-communist organisations persisted and the Polish peoples personal freedoms were severely restricted and oppressed. It was in this climate that Jazz was driven underground, perceived as subversive. Polish jazz musicians kept the flame alive, through listening to ‘Voice of America’ radio broadcasts during and after WWII and thanks to a core of hardened musicians maintained the progression of Jazz in Poland. Later musicians such as Henryk ‘Papa’ Majewsk, Adam Makowicz with Tomasz Stanko, Jan Byrczek and Krzysztof Komeda helped develop the music through the 50’s & 60’s. Stanko has gone on to be a major world performer and an important educator and developer of younger talent today.
So, UK-born Jan Kopinski’s sojourns back to his family roots in Poland were important in the context of the ‘Solidarity’ years, leading to free democracy in 1990. Nowadays Poland has a thriving jazz scene with three major festivals. PZ’s leader’s sax sound originated in the inspiring late Coltrane, Ayler era, with a mixture of Jazz passion, abstract funk and melancholic Polish folk influenced cries. PZ co-founder, Steve Iliffe’s brilliantly dense and angular keyboards, adds to the dazzling rhythm section of electric bassists, Karl Bingham and Stefan Kopinski and stunning drummer, Pat Illingworth (Corrine Bailey Rae, Marcus Miller, Jerry Dammers, James Taylor Quartet, Hugh Masekela) can conjure jazz excitement in a mix of whiplash grooves and tender composition. This will not be for the faint hearted, big decibel levels; but maybe an extremely progressive and contemporary evening of high energy music..........read more
Kopinski's raw, spookily hollow and haunting saxophone sound, with plenty of off-the-wall grooving too...and the excellent Konikiewicz deploys phrases not unfamiliar from an electric Corea or Hancock album...this is music of character and bite. ~ The Guardian
Organic, no-surrender, spiritually uplifting music. ~ All About Jazz