Zbigniew Seifert: Live Recordings 1973 and 1976

We once went to see an Yves Klein exhibition. He started off painting things all one colour, a most pointless activity a philistine might suggest, but the experimentation ended up with him developing ideas for designing housing estates, a clear learning curve from abstract to practical.

We were reminded of that with this, the first part of the album being more experimental, the closing track exciting jazz using techniques learned by the experimentation. (We assume, and the tracks are not chronological, but you get the drift).
Seifert initially studied violin in his home town of Krakow, became converted to woodwind in his pursuit of jazz, and switched back to strings. The likes of Coltrane had blazed a trail for the saxophone, but violinists didn’t follow suit. Seifert became an unintentional pioneer by trying to replicate the success of the sax on violin.

The duo recordings that open this were made with Albert Mangelsdorff, a player who wanted to liberate the trombone from brass conventions. While it’s experimental it’s not a hard listen in the main; Stéphane Grappelli meets Captain Beefheart is too glib, but often the violin is playing complex melody while the trombone harrumphs underneath, though the trombone does also take a more melodic lead in places. The opening of Opus De Folk is like a cover of an upbeat psychedelic rock hit from the mid-70s. When it lacks a tune, it’s always interesting, and as the sleeve notes say, while it’s avant garde, it doesn’t smash structure.

Closing track Angel Wings is from 1973, and a full band banging out tasty jazz fusion.

This is out on Swr Jazzhaus, JAH-479.

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