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Presse

2008-11-24

Interfolk

It is one album which we are still not bored with and each time we listen to it we find new details, amazing sequences, class and virtuosity.

Max Klezmer Band implements basic Klezmer and Balkan music instruments (the accordion, clarinet, violin, bass and percussion instruments) as well as keyboards in order to give us music rooted in tradition and extending to jazz. They are standard pieces which serve the band as basis for developing superb variations which in turn are characterised by individuality, cohesion and expressiveness. These pieces are not only an authentic continuation of their form but foremost constitute the depth of music which the band performs.

We find yet again a remake of a traditional Balkan song „Ajde Jano” on the album. The song is one of those pieces which was created in the melting pot of tradition, which due to its beauty has lingered in musicians’ repertoire for decades. Nevertheless, please pay particular attention to the beautiful piece “Belgrad”, a composition of harmony, which is seemingly simple yet engaging, and Balkan to the core. Another example of new European independent folk music which you should look for on the band’s website or on the music market.

Czasopismo „Interfolk”, Nr 38/2008

We are mentioned in German press

Seven guys from Max Klezmer Band, Krakow, have one motto first and foremost: play and then play some more. Already their entrance makes an impression. Oriental sounds of the entering “caravan” pulls listeners into a world of music. While Michael Jones plays typically Jewish pieces on his violin, Piotr Skupniewicz (clarinet) and Jacek Holubowski (accordion) accompany him with jazz improvisation. Max Kowalski (double bass), the band’s leader, and Tadeusz Lesniak (keyboards), Bartlomiej Szczepanski (percussion) and Marek “Smok” Rajss (percussion instruments) enhance the songs with musically-rhythmic “carpet” of sounds. The young musicians, who are all graduates of the Cracow Music Conservatory, experiment with Latin-American, Balkan, Indian and jazz music in their arrangements which allows them to create compositions that are full of tension, dynamic changes, accents as well as frequent breaks and stop-times. If a listener expects to recognize a well-known Jewish theme, he shall instead hear an explosive mix of musical styles entwined with virtuosic improvisations at the highest level which are far removed from traditional Jewish wedding music. Particularly appealing concert moments include: the accordion solo in which the audience is enraptured as well as the ever-present percussion instruments: a brilliant solo on a chair and playing a percussion set with bare hands. Although the way of playing Klezmer music by the Poles has nothing to do with folk music, the audience has accepted this form, and in particular the enthusiastic manner with which the pieces are performed.

This year, MAX KLEZMER BAND from Krakow was the representative for the current trend to merge traditional Klezmer music with the classics, and especially jazz. It is a 6-man band assembled by its leader Max Kowalski who plays the electric double bass. The band expands musical themes in all possible and seemingly impossible directions. As one of the band members after the second piece said, MKB fuses Klezmer music with jazz and Latin-American music, oriental melodies and wild Balkan dancing. The Polish musicians performed their pieces at a very high technical level, which could have been expected from the graduates of the Cracow Music Conservatory. At times, as many as 3 percussionists set a solid rhythmic foundation for a composition so that Piotr Skupniewicz playing the clarinet, Jacek Holubowski playing a button accordion and Michael Jones on the violin could stand out in their solos. The musicians shifted us far away from melancholic oriental melodies to the jazz-rock of early 1970s (music of Miles Davis, Weather Report). While the bass player creates lively jazz riffs, the clarinet player musically “journeys” from East European motifs to the bebop of New York and back. What is great is that the musicians have undone the stiff corset of Klezmer models, with freshness and without inhibition or fear to perform a little cabaret such as wearing Rastafarian wigs for a reggae piece.

Interfolk

"C'est l'un des disques, qui dont je ne suis pas encore fatigué d'écouter et à chaque fois que je l'écoute, je trouve de nouveaux détails et des séquences surprenantes de classe et virtuosité. "

Jazz radio

"Les musiciens, tout en conservant leur style unique, immergé dans une mer de sons, qui, comme le tsunami du titre entre dans le subconscient des auditeurs, profondément émouvant et magnifique. C'est la musique qui éveille la réflexion, explore de nouveaux horizons et, en même temps augmente le niveau d'adrénaline dans le public."

La presse allemande

"Si un auditeur chercher à reconnaître un thème klezmer bien connue, il découvrira un mélange explosif de styles musicaux et d'improvisations virtuoses au plus haut niveau, qui sont loin du mariage klezmer traditionnelle."