Applying the influences of different musical cultures has been practiced by jazz players for decades. In fact, absorbing is the essence of jazz, and a strong reason for its constant fluctuation. This certain aspect makes it somehow a very democratic genre. The transcultural factor of jazz can be truly amusing both for the musicians and their listeners, often bringing surprises and sometimes helping to show things from a whole new viewpoint. The music presented in this recording makes a perfect example in that matter.
There are not many musical traditions as seemingly diverse as Polish and Arabic ones. It was only the curiosity of Gdansk-based vibraphonist/composer Dominik Bukowski that helped to find a connection between the traditional Polish melodies taken from Oskar Kolberg’s catalogue and a Middle Eastern musical idiom. Asking Amir ElSaffar for cooperation seemed like the best thing to do. The remarkable Iraqi-American trumpeter agreed to become a member of the band, providing his knowledge and sense of the traditional Arabic maqam melodic system. Thanks to the exquisite musicality, supreme level of skills together with a deep comprehension of cultural roots, filtering Polish folk tunes with both maqam scales and a jazz approach resulted in material that is a bit more than just a simple fusion of styles. The three elements have melted into a seamless alloy, bringing a new quality to what is known as the folklore/jazz scene. It takes a genuine talent to deny a cultural distance in the way Dominik Bukowski and Amir ElSaffar – along with the other members of the quartet, Adam Żuchowski (double bass) and Patryk Dobosz (drums) – did while performing on the stage at Club Żak during the Jazz Jantar Festival in 2016. Now is the time to bring this music to the wider audience.
Recorded live in concert March 18, 2016 at Jazz Jantar Festival in Club Żak, Gdańsk, Poland; except Sufia recorded in July 29 at the same place.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Paul Rutschka
Design by Małgorzata Lipińska
Produced by Dominik Bukowski