Opening a window into weird, idealistic world, a classic literator’s lines are perceived from a jazz angle.
Absurd played a vital part in Witold Gombrowicz’s oeuvre, so it would be naïve to expect any straightforwardness from a jazz album based on the Polish author’s prose – and, improvised on the spot by guitarist Marcin Olak and singer Anna Gadt, this record borders on avant-garde. Artists possessed of lesser experience would turn a dozen of the writer’s passages into a strum-based spoken word, yet here’s a dozen pieces with long names which bring out poetry in the lines that don’t pretend to rhyme because they’re inherently rhythmical. As a result, what’s supposed to be cerebral will become quite emotional.
While “Myślenie” (let’s stick to shorter titles for convenience) places Anna’s “ah’s” and “oh’s” into Marcin’s sparse, albeit intense, blues, before her weaving of sentences is opened into a sensual vista and his six strings get percussive, “Człowiek poprzez człowieka” offers a fragile, transparent treatment of Gombrowicz’s philosophy, as Gadt’s cooing is immersed in Olak’s instrumental caress, whereas “Ja” comes full of menace, as serene voice is drenched in oscillatory notes peeled off the fretboard and scattered across aural space. But then, “Sąd głupca” sees the singer invade instrumental domain with nigh-on-woodwind sounds that hint at the breadth of her range, and electronic effects drive the epic “Trzeci sens” towards slow cinematic delirium.
Still, if numbers like “Co ci się może zdarzyć” are rather abstract, text notwithstanding, and “Albowiem runął ich kościół” depends more on articulation than context, “Zawsze gotowe” contains snippers of a carefully crafted tune, yet “Zapotrzebowanie stadowe” oozes humor through its ever-shifting vocalese and fingers runs. And though only “Niedorzeczywistość” pretends top embrace pure jazz, “Człowieczeństwo” arrives as the softest, most lyrical essence of Gombrowicz’s idealism. After this track, a different sort of connection should be established with listener – one calling for another spin of the album: uneasy but arresting.