MAREK KONARSKI: KONARSKI & FOLKS
The 29 year-old saxophonist Marek Konarski’s profile in European jazz has steadily been rising over the past decade, only to come to a juddering standstill – like most other careers – with the global pandemic. Even so, he has hardly stood still, and Konarski & Folks, recorded in September last yearemerges as an impressive statement from the jazz scene in Poland that has no shortage of quality young players. On it he turns to the social, cultural and musical environment from which he has emerged by turning to local folk musics, the melodicism of Chopin and personal experience to provide the thematic underpin to the album.
Once the the origami-like complexity of the compact disc sleeve is negotiated to extract the CD, what emerges is a musician with a clear musical vision with the technique and imagination to achieve his purpose, aided and abetted by a group of young musicians (important to reiterate, Polish jazz has no shortage of impressive young players) who are wholly supportive and tuned into his wavelength. Each boasts a curriculum vitae of impressive distinction, but in the real world that does not always equate in impressive performances – but here it does. In an album where the bar has been set impressively high, ‘Marika’. ‘New Folk’, ‘Chopin’ and ‘Cracovia’ are tracks that stand out in what is a great example of what Polish jazz has to offer.
Author: Stuart Nicholson