Saturday, December 8, 2012

Janusz Szprot - Na tureckim dywanie [On The Turkish Carpet]

Janusz Szprot - keyboards, Hohner melodica ( #1,4), Fender Rhodes piano (#5);
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor sax (on # 1-3, 6-9);
Tuna Ötenel - keyboards: Fender Rhodes piano ( # 1,4) alto sax ( # 6);
Sibel Köse - vocal (# 7-9);
Kamil Erdem - bass guitar (# 4,5);
Adam Kowalewski - bass guitar (# 1-3, 6-9);
Krzysztof Dziedzic - drums;


01.Na tureckim dywanie (Polonezkoy) [On The Turkish Carpet] [07:20]
02.Sanktuarium w Adampolu [The Adampol Sanctuary] [06:43]
03.Solilokwia [Soliloquies] [04:11]
04.Jarek w ogrodzie [Jareczek's Garden] [08:53]
05.Slodkie polskie sny [Sweet Polish Dreams] [08:30]
06.Bilkent Blues [06:12]
07.Velvet Mist [05:54]
08.Bossa at Sundown [04:18]
09.Lonely Avenue [05:11]

Recorded at Ankara Sound Centre on November 2000.
Selles SNFP 0013 (2001)

Janusz Szprot – pianist, composer, arranger, musicologist, and educator – is an experienced musician who shared a rich background as a professional jazz pianist, soloist, sideman and the leader with various ensembles. He grew up and was educated in Warsaw, Poland, where he received a Masters Degree in Musicology. While completing his studying in 1972, Janusz began to play jazz and earned his living as a musical practitioner but also as a jazz critic and educator as well. He is well known to European audiences as a pianist and arranger for an ensemble called SAMI SWOI. During his stints with this little big band he performed with numerous jazz giants such as Wild Bill Davison, Budd Johnson, Beryl Bryden, Maxine Howard, Big Bill Ramsey, Simeon Szterev, Birger Sulsbruck, Ethiopian Mulatu Astatke, and some American blues singers. He has made successful appearances at the PORI (1982), NORTH SEA (1983) and many other international jazz festivals; toured Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and his native Poland. In addition, Janusz Szprot led a sextet called AMALGAMAT, which recorded for the Polish Radio and POLJAZZ recording company. In January 1986 he founded the BLUES DUO “SZ – SZ” (together with the top Polish reedman, Tomasz Szukalski), which became sensation on the Polish jazz scene and performed worldwide. Since 1990, when he began working at Bilkent University, Ankara, he is maintaining a busy schedule, performing concerts either in accompanying role with numerous jazz vocalists (including Sibel Kose, Liliana Rodriguez and American jazz star Joe Lee Wilson) or as a leader of his various jazz and blues ensembles. In June 1983 he founded the POLISH-TURKISH JAZZ FORMATION, a super group composed of the best Polish and Turkish musicians, which performed to enthusiastic audience response both in Ankara and at the 21st International Istanbul Festival. He has been for in partnership with Turkish musicians for many years. His longtime musical friends are Sibel Kose, Kamil Erdem, Tuna Otenel, to name but a few. The number of his students is also impressive and is still growing. As a pianist Janusz Szprot is conversant with many styles of jazz piano. His flexibility and versatility are clearly in evidence in his discography which consist of over 15 records. His last CD “POLONEZKOY”/ “NA TURECKIM DYWANIE” has been released in 2001 by ADA MUZIK (Istanbul) and SELLES RECORDS (Poland). Janusz is still very active as a composer, arranger, Hohner melodica virtuoso, musicologist, adjudicator, and educator. At present he serves as Director of Jazz Studies at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. (


#8. Bossa at Sundown -live: Sibel Köse & Dante Luciani & Janusz Szprot Group

Tomasz Szukalski is one of the most important but probably most under appreciated Jazz musician in the history of Polish Jazz. He is multi-talented artist who has contributed to the numbers of most important milestones of Polish and European Jazz, including albums by leaders like Zbigniew Namysłowski, Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski and Tomasz Stańko. His charisma on those recordings is always very distinct and always present, in many cases he almost “steals” the record from the leader (just listen to Szukalski on Edward Vesala’s “Satu”)

Tomasz was playing with Arild Andersen, Albert Mangelsdorff, Palle Danielsson, Rashied Ali, Terje Rypdal, Palle Mikkelborg, Tomasz Stańko, Edward Vesala, Dave Holland, Michał Urbaniak, John Surman, to name but a few, and was recording for the famous ECM label as well. In the late 70’s together with Sławomir Kulpowicz, Janusz Stefański and Paweł Jarzębski he founded The Quartet - one of the best european jazz bands.

Szukalski is a graduate of Warsaw Music College PWSM, where clarinet was his main instrument. Performing musician since his high school days, he self-taught himself to play tenor and soprano saxophones. After early collaborations with pop group Partita, Big Band Stodoła and bands of the leaders like Janusz Muniak, and Tomasz Ochalski; in 1972 he joined Zbigniew Namyslowski group with whom he extensively toured and recorded legendary albums “Winobranie” and “Kujaviak Goes Funky”. He quickly established himself on Jazz scene in Poland and collaborated with Włodzimierz Nahorny, Tomasz Stańko (“Balladyna”, “TWET”, “Almost Green”, “Live at Remont”), and Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski (“Sprzedawcy Glonów”).

In 1977, Szukalski joined probably the most important band in Polish Jazz of 1980s - The Quartet. In 1984 along with Czesław Bartkowski (drums) and Wojciech Karolak (keyboards), Szukalski co-leaded another “band without a leader” - Time Killers. The group recorded only one self-titled album but it marked the history of Polish Jazz. Jazz Forum’s critics survey in 1990s found “Time Killers” to be the Best Polish Jazz Record of 1980’s, and in many critics opinion probably the best example of exciting adaptation of Weather Report’s language into Polish Jazz idiom.

During the rest of the 80s, 90s and to the present time Szukalski has remained active and productive on Polish Jazz scene. He is continuing many fruitful collaborations with old musical friends (Stańko, Namysłowski) as well as with many new ones: Janusz Szprot, , Józef Skrzek, Piotr Wojtasik, Apostolis Anthimos, Jarek Śmietana (

Tomasz Szukalski Quartet - Body & Soul:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Theodosii Spassov - Bratimene

01. Horo with Kaval [05:53]
02. Rhodope Song [04:30]
03. Old Wives' Tales [06:57]
04. Paleontologomania [02:59]
05. Satin Doll [05:57]
06. Pendata [02:32]
07. Song about the Couscous [06:22]
08. Samba Rachenitsa [04:46]
09. Gyurkata [05:06]
10. A Little Something out of Nothing [02:06]
11. Rada [04:15]
12. For Nicky [04:42]
13. Christmas Eve with Bells [02:52]


# No 1:Theodosii Spassov - kaval( Bulgarian wooden flute), Vesselin Koichev - guitar, Docho Panov - bass guitar;
Recorded in February 1983.
# No 2:Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Simeon Shterev - flute, Roumen Toskov - piano; Vesselin Vesselinov-Eco - double-bass, Stoyan Yankulov - drums;
Recorded in July 1995.
# No 3:Theodosii Spassov - kaval, vocals; Stoyan Yankulov - percussions;
Recorded in January 1998.
# No 4: Theodosii Spassov - kaval, vocals; Milcho Leviev - piano.
Recorded in June 1993
# No 5: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Peter Petrov - tenor sax; Ruschuk Trio: Boris Petrov - keyboards, Nikolai Georgiev - bass guitar; Marian Antonov -drums;
Recorded in March 1996.
# No 6: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Peter Petrov - tenor saxophone;
Recorded in March 1996.
# No 7: Vesselin Nikolov Sextet: Vesselin Nikolov - soprano sax; Yildiz Ibrahimova - vocals; Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Vesselin Koichev - guitar; Docho Panov - bass guitar; Radoul Nachkov - drums; Boris Dinev - percussions.
Recorded in November 1985.
# No 8: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Yildiz Ibrahimova - vocals; Ognyan Videv - guitar;
Recorded in January 1988.
# No 9: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Stoyan Yankulov - percussions;
Recorded in January 1998.
# No 10: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Acoustic Version: Antony Donchev - piano; Hristo Yotsov - drums;
Recorded in March 1992
# No 11: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Anatoly Vapirov - soprano sax;
Recorded in October 1993.
# No 12: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Roumen Toskov - piano; Georgi Donchev - double-bass; Stoyan Yankulov - drums;
Recorded in February 1997.
# No 13: Theodosii Spassov - kaval; Stefka Onikian - vocals; Nikolai Dragnev - guitar; Dimiter Shanov - bass guitar.
Recorded in February 1997
"St. Alexander Nevsky" Cathedral bells recorded during the Christmas Liturgy in 1992.

Gega New (1998)

Various video:

This is a compilation of Theodosy's best work from 1983 to 1998. Best described as Bulgarian ethnic jazz, this features Theodosy accompanied by some of the finest jazz musicians in Bulgaria: Yildaz Ibrahimova - vocals; Stoyan Yankulov - percussion; Milcho Leviev - piano; Vesselin Nikolov - sax; Simeon Shterev - flute, Peter Petrov, Stefka Onikian.
Theodosii Spassov invented a new musical genre. The American magazine is absolutely right. The Bulgarian genius developed a completely new style of playing the KAVAL, which is a shepherd’s flute consisting of wood and one of the oldest instruments in Europe.
Theodosii gets everything out of his KAVAL when playing his unique compositions. They include elements of traditional folklore music as well as jazz, classical music and even pop. His very own way of playing has not only impressed audiences during his concerts and festival appearances, but also fellow musicians, who cooperated with THEODOSII SPASSOV in the past years. Among them are Dave Liebman, Andy Sheppard, Yldiz Ibrahimova, Ennio Morricone, Jamey Haddad, Albert Mangelsdorff, Mark Johnson, Kazumi Watanabe and many others.


Theodosii Spassov was born on March 4th, 1961. He began his early training on the kaval at the Kotel Music School and The Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv/Bulgaria. The kaval, an eight-hole wooden “shepherd” flute, is one of the oldest Instruments in Europe, rich in tone and technical possibilities. Theodosii Spassov has developed his own unique style of playing the instrument by synthesizing traditional folklore with jazz, fusion and classical music.

For over 20 years, Theodosii has toured all over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and United States. In 1994, he performed with Sofia Women’s Radio Choir which was awarded with a Grammy award for “Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares”. In April of 1995, “Newsweek” magazine recognized Theodosii Spassov as one of the most talented Eastern-European musicians in its “best of the East” article, noting that “Spassov… is not merely surviving the post-communist cultural wasteland. He has actually invented a new musical genre.”

Theodosii Spassov has contributed to 20 CDs, four of his own, which have been noted worldwide. He has composed and performed numerous film scores including a French-Bulgarian feature film “Granitza”, (”The Border”) 1993. Also he recorded themes for films by Italian composers Carlos Siliotto and Ennio Morricone, entitled “An Italian Story” and “The Breakout of the Innocent”. At the fourth European Jazz Night, Theodosii Spassov was a featured performer along with other jazz musicians, including Winton Marsalis.

At home in Bulgaria, Theodosii Spassov is national figure and musical hero, and was recently honored with the”Music Artist of the Year” award. He is the Artistic Director of the world-renown “PHILIP KOUTEV Ensemble Of Music, Drama And Dance”.

Theodosii is currently member of the company of the Irish music and dance “Riverdance”-(1998-2001). Now hi is a soloist of Bulgarian National Radio.

The Special Prize of Detroit Flute Festival, 1994
The International Academy of Arts in Paris Award, 1996
“Music Artist of the Year” at the National Music Awards, 1997 and 2002
Apollo Toxophoros for sparkling contribution to Bulgarian music, 2001
National Film Centre Annual Awards-”Best film music composer”, 2006
“Artist Of Salon Des Arts” , 2007
“Dobri Chintulov” for culture activity, 2009
“Golden Age” for contribution to Bulgarian culture, 2011

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mihály Dresch & Archie Shepp - Hungarian Bebop

Archie Shepp: soprano, tenor sax., piano.
Mihaly Dresch: soprano, tenor sax., flute.
Ferenc Kovacs: violin.
Matyas Szandai: double bass.
Istvan Baló: drums (Duban drums -model Baló).
Kalman Balogh: cimbalom (#5)


01. Lily Of The Valley [07:59]
02. Búzai Song (based on traditional folk tune) [11:43]
03. I Was Beaten Because [10:02]
04. Steam [06:32]
05. Sorrow, Sorrow [08:48]
06. Hungarian Bebop [09:59]

Recorded at the Roxound Studio, Budapest 2002


Saxophonist and composer Mihaly Dresch is one of the most influential nurturers of a fertile fusion between Hungarian folk music and jazz, and this attractive set features him in the company of that grizzled veteran of the 1960s American free-jazz avant-garde, Archie Shepp. There are strong contrasts between Dresch's clearer, more precise, yet Coltrane-pungent tenor lines and Shepp's raw and bleary smears and lurches, and they dance some ruggedly elegant improvised counterpoint together on soprano saxes too, as well as providing haunting textural blends with violinist Ferenc Kovacs' deliciously fluttering tone and sudden surges of intensity. Shepp's famous Steam (taken surprisingly slowly, and suggesting a dance in monochrome between a solitary couple in a vast, empty ballroom) is the only non-Dresch track, and most of the melodies mingle boppish lines with gracefully weaving Hungarian folk themes. Shepp sounds unusually engaged in the whole enterprise, and though there's a melancholy flavour to it, it's a very distinctive mix. John Fordham The Guardian

This summit meeting between the Hungarian saxophonist and composer Milhaly Dresch and avant-jazz elder statesman Archie Shepp is an interesting and frequently beautiful experiment that demonstrates both how gracefully Shepp is aging and how fully developed the jazz scene is in that former Soviet satellite country. The mostly pianoless arrangements (which feature violin and, in one case, a cimbalom) recall the harmolodic excursions of Shepp's old boss, Ornette Coleman, but without Coleman's willful harmonic chaos. On the contrary, these are well-crafted compositions, all but one written by Dresch, and they give the players plenty of structural support on which to base their sometimes wide-ranging improvisations. Highlights include "Buzai Song" (which is based on a Hungarian folk tune and features some stunning duo improvisation between the two saxophonists) and the playful "Hungarian Bebop," which is only vaguely bop-flavored but shares bebop's flavor of complex but high-spirited fun. Recommended.
Review by Rick Anderson

Editor's Info:
Dresch's music touches on both areas using Afro and Euro-American idioms, also incorporating their own folk traditions. Within the area of instrumental music it's rather like what the Beatles were able to do using Negro-blues to create a new form. What we did was combine Hungarian folk and European academic music with afro-jazz elements in a way that really swings. The overall feeling of the recording is nice and fresh.