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POLSKIE RADIO 1634 (Barcode: 5907812246341) ~ POLAND ~ Jazz-Classical Fusion

Recorded: 2013 Released: 2013

It takes a true musical "nut" (of the nicest sort), like The Polish pianist / composer / arranger / conductor Krzysztof HerdzinFind albums by this artist to come up with a project like this, which is designed to establish a new musical "genre" (or sub-genre) of chamber string music he defines as "string big band", a marriage between the European tradition of the string orchestra and the American Jazz Big Band. In order to prove his point, Herdzin took ten "classic" Jazz standards, some of which are closely associated with Big Band performances, others that aren´t, and arranged them for a musical collective, which brings together the sensational Atom String QuartetFind albums by this artist (violinists Mateusz SmoczynskiFind albums by this artist and Dawid LubowiczFind albums by this artist, violist Michal ZaborskiFind albums by this artist and cellist Krzysztof LenczowskiFind albums by this artist) with Sinfonia VivaFind albums by this artist orchestra to create a large string ensemble equivalent to the size of a Big Band. Bassist Robert KubiszynFind albums by this artist and vocalist Agnieszka WilczynskaFind albums by this artist (she sings on a couple of tracks only) also take part and the entire ensemble, conducted by Herdzin, which is appropriately named String Big BandFind albums by this artist.

I must admit that before I listened to the music, just by looking at the CD and reading the texts, I was absolutely sure I´m going to hate this thing with vengeance. Boy was I wrong! It turned out to be one of the most uplifting pieces of musical delight I have heard in a long time. Herdzin somehow managed the impossible: he turned a potentially kitschy and schmaltzy musical idiom into absolute magic. I felt transformed back in time, about ninety years or so back in time, watching a Broadway stage performance at the peak of the Great Gatsby´s "Jazz Age", with tall women in tight lush dresses, glasses of champagne and all that Jazz! Pure Magic!

Of course a big part of the success goes also to the wonderful performers; Atom String Quartet emerges as one of the most intriguing discoveries on the Polish scene in the last decade and the Sinfonia Viva orchestra, which Herdzin utilizes repeatedly as part of his projects, is definitely a group of most talented and worthy of admiration musicians. But Maestro Herdzin is definitely the main honcho, the inspirer and the chief (or perhaps chef) of this whole crazy happening. It takes a lot of courage and self confidence to undertake such a perilous venture and to emerge triumphant and victorious is simply phenomenal.

This music can be enjoyed by almost anybody who has a working pair of ears on him, and it so multilayered and elegant that the more experienced and sophisticated the listener, the more pleasurable the experience becomes. Kudos Krzysztof, you really hit the jackpot this time!

The live recording at the Polish Radio studio #3 in Warsaw has an unusually excellent, clear and vibrant sound quality, which enhances the whole album tremendously. The stars were definitely smiling at that project!
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