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GRAAL ~ CZARNE 13
FOR TUNE 0059 (Barcode: 5902768701630) ~ POLAND ~ Jazz-Rock Fusion

Recorded: 2011 Released: 2015

This is the sixth album by the cult Polish ensemble GraalFind albums by this artist, founded and led by the legendary trumpeter / composer / bandleader Antoni GralakFind albums by this artist, who is also known for his involvement in such pivotal Polish ensembles as Free CooperationFind albums by this artist, Young PowerFind albums by this artist, Tie BreakFind albums by this artist, Woo Boo DooFind albums by this artist, YesheFind albums by this artist and others. This album, recorded four years before it finally gets to be released, presents ten songs, all composed by Gralak and the ensemble with lyrics by the ensemble´s vocalist Jacek SzymkiewiczFind albums by this artist. Two radio edits of two of the songs on this album are added as bonus tracks. In addition to Gralak, who also plays tuba and Szymkiewicz, who also plays acoustic guitar, the other members of Graal are: trombonist Bronek DuzyFind albums by this artist, trumpeter Klaudiusz KlosekFind albums by this artist, saxophonists Aleksander KoreckiFind albums by this artist and Marek PospieszalskiFind albums by this artist, bass guitarist Locko RichterFind albums by this artist, drummers Ola RzepkaFind albums by this artist and Arek SkolikFind albums by this artist and finally tuba and trombone player Darek SprawkaFind albums by this artist; altogether ten musicians.

The music of Graal is a strange amalgam of Rock and Jazz-Rock Fusion, with elements of cabaret and theatrics. The "songs" are often full of dramatic exclamations and theatrical displays of emotion, and the "free" lyrics add to the overall atmosphere of "controlled anarchy". The huge brass section sounds at times like a street marching band, or Balkan brass ensemble, or typical Brass-Rock section, constantly changing its ambiance. The sound is rather muffled and often creates an impression of a live recording. The rhythm section sets a groovy paste, with funky bass guitar in charge of the bottom parts and the drums keeping the mayhem in check. The lead vocals are always up front and the brass is always in the background, which makes the solo parts somewhat less prominent in the overall sound, but those are all well worth being discovered by careful listening.

The solitary instrumental piece on this album is perhaps the most powerful glimpse to the essence of this ensemble, with the multilayered brass parts creating a mini-suite which is both beautifully organized and free at the same time; a wonderful example of contemporary music.

Gralak has a gift of creating stuff, which is always unique and exists outside of the Polish Jazz / Fusion scenes, being a typical Lone Ranger. This music simply creates a universe of its own, which is incomparable to anything else happing on the local scene or anywhere else for that matter. Since this is a typical ensemble project, there are few displays of Gralak´s virtuosic ability as a trumpeter, but it is his leadership that holds this project together.

Whether one loves or hates this music, one thing is sure: it´s impossible to say indifferent to it, which is already a huge achievement in comparison to most of the music created today. Gralak is one of those people who make the Polish music scene worth following and admiring!
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