reviews

Outlandish Lande TRILOGY

16 EXPRESS April 30.1999 - USA / SanFrancisco Oakland
TRILOGY WITH ART LANDE At Yoshi's, Tuesday, April 20.

Art Lande sat at the grand piano, an impish look on his face. He had a surprise or two in mind as he began a swinging, jazzy solo with a walking bass line in the intriguingly titled "Jumperski," but he was in for a sur-prise himself when the sound system added low noise feedback. "Too much bass," he called to the sound techni-cian as he played, but a moment later the feedback popped up again, and Lande gave the audience another puck-ish look and quipped, "Too much bass and too slow," so he picked up the tempo, then called out, "Not enough left hand" as he dropped his right hand to his side, while that left played on, marking out a catchy bass line. It was good for some laughs. Except that the old Berkeley Square didn't have a sound system, this mo-ment last week at Yoshi's could as eas-ily have been a scene from more than twenty years ago, when Lande and his Rubisa Patrol bandmates (Mark Isham, Kurt Wortman, and Bill Doug-lass) experimented Monday nights at what was then a quiet University Ave-nue lounge with booths and a circular fireplace in the middle of the room. Lande hasn't changed that much: he still approaches music with that open-minded sense of "let's see what new things we can discover tonight." And while the players with him have changed, they, too, share his musical sense of adventure. Although he hasn't lived here in more than twenty years, Lande's brief visit this time was in the company of two European colleagues-Austrian flautist Günter Wehinger and Polish vocalist Marek Balata -as a band with a name far less interesting than the music it made: Trilogy. Not quite the ring of old, when Lande played with anagrams to come up with his solo pianist alter ego Earl Dant, and start-ed the Rubisa Patrol, his '70s band that regularly packed the Great Amer-ican Music Hall (when not playing incognito at the Square), helped put ECM Records on the map, and pointed the way to some fresh developments in music that never quite fit under the "jazz" tag. And while there couldn't help but be a bit of a nostalgic air to a show where half the audience knew Lande way back when, the musicians were only looking forward, and it felt good. "I've been going to Europe to play every year since 1974," Lande ex-plained. "This is a rare chance to reci-procate and have European musicians come over and play here." Lande even added his Marin buddy Paul McCandless (of jazz-world-acoustic fusionband Oregon) on reeds from bass clar-inet to soprano sax. The opening music was something else, even for those who know to ex-pect the unexpected from Lande-a mix of different musical elements and ideas that bounced from one to an-other, not exactly connecting, giving a fuzzy focus to the piece. With We-hinger on flute, McCandless on dron-ing bass clarinet, Balata adding vocal bits that at times resembled a cross between Flora Purim's whoops and Bobby McFerrin's bop-scatting, and Lande joining in on piano, the pace shifted again and again. It felt like some kind of trip. which made more sense when Lande explained that it was "Waiting for the Fadilla Monga," his name for "the train that will replace Amtrak in the 21st century, only it won't be better, it won't come, well be waiting ten hours-it'll be fun because of more time to discover things to do. And, surprisingly, the name isn't even an anagram." Veering even further from the jazz some listeners might have expected (after all. this show was sponsored by Oakland's volunteer Jazz in Flight or ganization, underwritten in part by the Austrian Cultural Institute of New York), they included Denny Zeitlin's exquisite ballad, "Quiet Now" (in spite of it being an instrumental, Balata sang along, in English), "Taki Pejzaz," with Balata rapping about oppressive times in Poland's cities, the energized "Blues for Billy Hart," a nod to the American jazz drummer, and "Jonathan's Hobby," Lande's tune about a suburban rich kid with no friends who pursues some strange hobbies. Lande has long lived in Boulder. Colorado, teaching at the Naropa In-stitute. In the late '80s he issued a couple of solo piano LPs on the short-lived Great American Music Hall la-bel, but most of his work and record-ings have been done in Europe. This concert at least let old friends and new catch up with Lande. If only he would visit a bit more often, and issue some recordings again Stateside.
Larry Kelp

MAREK BAŁATA INTERNATIONAL QUARTET
Głos Pomorza 15.05.2000 (fragment) "Balata the Master"
...Once again "A Concert for the End of the Century" became both a musical event and an emotional experience. Balata's voice filled the room and won the listeners' minds, changing from a hoarse tone to a clean spring sound. Andrzej Cudzich, a leading Polish bass player, charmed the audience with the warmth and playfulness of the sounds, flowing from his instrument. Jeanfrancois Prins, a Belgian guitarist, eagerly and effortlessly presented the beauty of a strummed tune. The joy of playing was whirling and falling, to the delight of the audience. Fantastic. "These musicians not only play: they spread their infectious smiles and optimism. They bring professionalism to their compositions and performance" - the listeners summed up the concert... (Olga)

Dziennik Baltycki, 15.V.2000 ,/ fragment / "Chopin in jazz"
...The concerts for the end of the 20th century in the club "Na parterze" at the Młodzieżowe Centrum Kultury in Słupsk are consistently at a high level. This Sunday evening a performance was given by Marek Balata, a leading jazz vocalist, and his band. An outstanding Belgian guitarist, Jeanfrancois Prins, received deserved applause for his solos. Andrzej Cudzich, a bass player, and Lukasz Zyta, on drums, also delighted the listeners with their performance. The audience could listen to superbly performed jazz standards, pieces composed by Balata with lyrics by Andrzej Waligórski and songs from Ewa Demarczyk's repertoire. A jazz arrangement of a piece by Fryderyk Chopin was a surprise for most fans gathered in the club. Especially interesting was Balata's piece composed in Colorado, "A Red Kitty - an Indian Girl in Red Moccasins"... (JJ)

Gazeta Wyborcza 15.V.2000 /fragment/ "To smack out the music. Słupsk. A jazz feast"
...To play Charles Parker's compositions without a saxophone? Saturday evening the best Polish jazz vocalist, Marek Balata, successfully replaced a wind section with his amazing voice... The musicians accompanying him, a Belgian guitarist Jeanfrancois Prins, a drummer Lukasz Zyta, and a bass player, Andrzej Cudzich improvised an exquisite melody. Not surprisingly, the musicians were warmly applauded. Singing and playing in unison, they brought the level of performance to the absolute maximum, adding their energy and interpretation. An enchanted audience reluctantly left the club "Parter" at Młodzieżowe Centrum Kultury... (RP)

CANTABILE IN JAZZ
Nowiny Rzeszowskie "Balata, Hendricks and others... Jazz in the ballroom" Lancut.
It was the first time that a castle, famous for concerts of classical music, hosted jazz musicians. On Monday Marek Balata, the most outstanding Polish jazz vocalist, together with equally eminent American artists Michele Hendricks and Judy Niemack, performed in the full ballroom. The vocal trio was accompanied by the bass player, Adam Skrzypek. An hour and a half concert was filled with original compositions, as well as compositions by Miles Davis, George Gershwin and others. The artists presented a real theatre of sound. Consisting of single syllable vocalizations, frequently taking the form of whispers, joy, weeping and a city hum, were masterly changed into lyrics, ballads and prayer-like pieces alternating with vigorous music... There was certainly a place for blues, the most "anti-palace" music. The artists showed their skills also in the solo pieces. The place made such an impression on the jazz musicians that they could not hide their feelings. Marek Balata finished his performance with a wish that the music of "happy freedom", as he called jazz, will be hosted in Łańcut more often. "I have never given a concert in such a beautiful and inspiring place." - said Judy Niemack. The concert was a part of an undertaking, entitled "Meeting with music", organized by a music lover from Lancut, Jan Grabowski, supported by the Foundation to develop the Castle-Museum in Lancut.


CD REVIEWS

TRILOGY Live / Marek Balata + Art Lande + Günter Wehinger / Gowi Rec

JAZZI MAGAZINE, (PL) 29/1999

…The music of Trilogy is colourful - it is due to the musicality and great abilities of these three musicians, and to the well-chosen repertoire. Trilogy starts off with a long vocal and flute improvisation, then turns into a theme when the piano joins in. This peaceful melody, played unison is very original and not simple. It is a little bit like a folk song, especially with Marek Bałata using some folk motif in his solo. The flute breaks into the vocal solo and starts to build up his own. Wehinger is a great musician, he uses different blowing techniques and growl. The solo of the piano is nostalgic and reminds a lullaby. …There is one specific theme called "Osmogulosis Pleontis" by Art Lande. It has this sort of this eastern character - it`s complicated and difficult. The voice and the flute perform it impressively. There is another one noteworthy - the "Blues For Billy Hart" written by Marek Bałata. It has a multi-sectioned theme, like a few choruses of improvisation put together. Lande plays an excellent, sort of ragtime style solo. But the most important part of the whole CD is what happens between the written-down music... Only the best musicians are able to breathe in a soul into written down compositions.
Magdalena Szuster

CADENCE (USA), Nov./1998
... Trilogy (GOWI 49) is both the name of a trio and the title of their first recording. Comprised of Marek Bałata (vcl, bells), Art Lande (ac p), and Gunter Wehinger (flt), the music they create combines vocal sounds, folk music, blues, classical music, and Jazz over the course of 7 tracks... Bałata`s voice throughout the program is quite agile, leaping octaves, making little sounds then moving to full-throated wordless singing. Lande`s piano work on "A Folk Painting" combines Copland and Brahms while Wehinger`s facile flute lines follow the sudden-shifting vocal lines. "Blues For Billy Hart" starts off with a nice left hand figure from Lande before moving into a Jazzy vocal shadowed by the flute. Wehinger displays a bluesy style on his solo; his high notes are full while the low tones are round and warm. He sounds a bit like Roland Kirk, especially when he overblows. Bałata displays a bit of Bobby McFerrin in his falsetto and is quite convincing...
Richard B. Kamins

JAZZ LIVE (A), 120/98 Wien
... Mit dem amerikanischen Pianisten Art Lande und dem Ósterreichischen Flutisten Gunter Wehinger hat Marek Bałata zwei kongeniale Partner gefunden, mit denen er das Ensemble Trilogy grundete. Der Gesangsstil von Bałata ist durchaus eigenststandig. Am ehesten lassen sich Vergleiche mit Bobby McFerrin, Urszula Dudziak oder Meredith Monk finden. Mit seiner Stimme, die er auch haufig unisono mit der Flute oder dem Piano einsetzt, kreiert der Sanger instrumentelle Sounds von einer grosen Spannbreite. Das in Warschau aufgenommene Livealbum ist ein ausgezeichnetes Album mit vorwiegend meditativer, akustischer Vokalmusik von hochster Qualitat...
(EW)

Musician
...The album has been recorded by three instrumentalists who communicate with the use of the human voice, flute and piano. The harmony, melody, rhythm and articulation, used in this record, look back to certain modernistic ideas of the 20th century composers (Bella Bartok, Anton Webern). Also they refer to the exploration of sonoric and rhythmic artists connected with non-orthodox trends in jazz (Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin). A very important formative factor is expressive improvisation. The pianist Art Lande, the flutist Gunter Wehinger and the originator of the undertaking, the vocalist Marek Balata, develop the main dramatic threads of the pieces, avoiding typically overused patterns. All the compositions depict different, allegorically outlined, musical conventions, e.g. folk, blues, funk. Their interpretation, full of erudite associations, arouses the admiration. The above mentioned musicians, members of this international trio (American, Austrian and Polish), have used all their skills to show their strength of interpretation. It is important to mention that the virtuosity, characteristic of their playing, comes out indirectly, after listening to the whole album. During the participation in the virtual concert the quality of the music and its sophisticated transmission are admired... (P.Kaluzny)

Jazz Forum
I appreciate live records very much, because they contain the greatest artistic touch, which is possible only due to the contact with the audience. Such a "touch" took place in the studio of Program 3 at the Polish Radio during a concert of three individuals, entitled "Trilogy". The musicians are from different countries. Although they did not experience a long period of making music together, they are able to play beautiful, touching music. There are three basic reasons for that: first - all of them possess very good musical technique, second - they are artistically sensitive in a similar way, third - they can listen to and complement one another (especially in the free sequences)... (P.Rodowicz)

Marek Bałata - Voice Paintings

Jazzi Magazine
..."Voice Paintings" is the first record by Marek, in which he presents himself as a leader. He is a composer of all the thirteen pieces. He did not rely on standards or a hit altered in a jazz style. Balata's music is very subjective. There is a full range of music from pure jazz, through funk, folk music, classical music to a modern style. Nevertheless, all the pieces have something in common. In my opinion this music is very Polish, very Slavic. All the compositions are very good and have a clear, distinct form. The stylistic quotations are made with taste. Vocals by Marek Balata are unexpected. His great technique and amazing imagination allow him to do anything with his voice. Special notice should be paid to the following pieces: "Games with Kasia", "A Prelude in d-iminor for Andrzej ", "A liberated ballad "... (M.Bogdanowicz)

Marek Balata - Christmas Carols

Gazeta Wyborcza
...Christmas Eve hits have been arranged for huge synthesizers, operated by Tadeusz Le¶niak, Grzegorz Górkiewicz and Darek Janus. Bass guitar, as befits every Christmas carol band, "bassed" by Krzysztof ¦cierański... Against this electro-bit background, Balata's voice sounds superhuman... Balata's album is a result of the leader's artistry and the possibilities which are given by the contemporary technique. Most importantly, the synthetic sounds are not disturbing and the whole sounds attractive, modern, and lacks unnecessary flashiness... (P.Iwicki)

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