WACLAW ZIMPEL QUARTET
Wacław Zimpel - clarinet, alto clarinet
Krzysztof Dys - piano
Christian Ramond - double bass
Klaus Kugel - drums
label: For Tune
... this is excellent music from start to finish, performed with
passion and masterly ability, by all four musicians involved. The rhythm
section provides exceptional backing, moving swiftly
between almost swing to free form, Dys on piano spreads layers of
twisted harmonic structures and Zimpel, as usual, plays the role of the
of Hamelin's Pied Piper, snake charmer and a Hassidic Klezmer, all in
- Adam Baruch, Poland, May 2013
freejazzblog.org * * * * 1/2
I can still remember the day I discovered this blog. I wanted to get
better information on free jazz because I was dissatisfied with the
regular magazines and so I tried it on the web. I put in “free jazz” in
the search machine and after the usual Wikipedia entries there was this
site. I entered it and found Stef’s frenetic review on Wacław Zimpel’s Hera, a band I have never heard of before. That was in December 2010 and as to music many things have changed in my life since then.
In the meantime I have bought many CDs by Zimpel and of course I was
excited when I heard that he was going to release new material with his
new quartet. So expectations were high, but I was not disappointed.
Their new album Stone Fog is bookended by two marvelous
compositions based on a massive D minor chord (“Cold Blue Sky” and
“Stone Fog”), both almost classic Zimpel compositions which remind of
his majestic Undivided albums The Passion and Moves Between Clouds.
Both pieces have a marvelous spiritual quality, you can literally feel
the deep melancholia and the roots of this music (Coltrane’s way to play
the blues, Jewish klezmer music). Around very delicate bass lines and
sparse percussion the clarinet notes and piano modulations drip like
honey into thick red wine. For his fans this could go on for hours.
But Zimpel and his Undivided drummer Klaus Kugel are joined by new
combatants on this album (Krzysztof Dys on piano and Christian Ramond on
bass) and their impact on the music is tremendous. Five of the eight
tracks are group compositions and there is a lot more classical music
influence on this album, which is mainly due to Krzysztof Dys’
outstanding achievement. Zimpel said that “he is an excellent classical
piano player who brought a lot of stuff like Russian 20th century
composers as Prokofiev and Scriabin to our music and you can also hear
notions of 12-tone music in our playing combined with tonal and modal
It is the clash of these classical influences and modern jazz (e.g.
Jimmy Giuffre’s classic trio) which make this music so exciting. Part of
the idea of this lineup was to achieve a very wide spectrum of
stylistics, Zimpel also said, which can be heard in the central pieces
“Hundreds of Wings Steel the Sun” and “One Side Of My Face Is Colder
Than The Other” - the first one built around massive piano drones while
bass and drums fall apart and the clarinet squirms with pain, the second
one a spooky soundtrack-like track full of fragmented chords, lost
strummed bass notes and jingling little bells which the band then
transforms into a beautiful lament.
This is another wonderful album by outstanding musicians, and although
Zimpel has been constantly supported by this blog, he is still
underrated. The world is cruel and unfair.
By Martin Schray