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The mayor of Warsaw pays tribute to Wojciech Karolak who has died at the age of 82

Rafał Trzaskowski, mayor of Warsaw, himself the son of a legendary Polish jazz musician pianist Andrzej Trzaskowski who during the Cold War years accompanied Stan Getz on some beautiful recordings, has paid tribute to Hammond organist Wojciech …

Published: 24 Jun 2021. Updated: 29 days.

Rafał Trzaskowski, mayor of Warsaw, himself the son of a legendary Polish jazz musician pianist Andrzej Trzaskowski who during the Cold War years accompanied Stan Getz on some beautiful recordings, has paid tribute to Hammond organist Wojciech Karolak, also tweeting the photo above, who has died at the age of 82. The mayor in his tweet describes Karolak famed in Poland for such recordings as Time Killers as (here translated): ''An outstanding jazzman, a gentleman with extraordinary smartness, always standing out against the background of communist greyness, with class and wit. Nobody played the Hammond organ that way'' adding regretfully that he and Karolak had made an appointment to talk about his father and his band the Wreckers but that didn't happen in the end.

Gazeta Wyborcza describe in their tribute Karolak as ''one of the greatest jazz musicians in Poland.'' Karolak collaborated, among others Gazeta notes with a host of luminaries including Jan "Ptaszyn" Wróblewski and Krzysztof Komeda and arranged and composed for Studio M-2 and the Polish Radio Big Band.

A couple of times when I lived in Warsaw in the early-1990s I met Karolak. He made me laugh talking about having to ''saw down'' the very wide Hammond to manage to get it into his apartment! He was a magnetic presence even a brief meet-up easily confirmed. Later in London I compiled an organ-themed compilation for a covermounted promotional disc issued by the magazine Jazz on CD that included a track of Wojciech's. I'm listening to that track 'State Train' today in memory of Karolak.

In the 1980s, together with tenor saxophonist Tomasz Szukalski (1947-2012) and drummer Czesław ''Mały'' (''Little'') Bartkowski Time Killers from which the haunting 'State Train' is drawn was his finest hour and remains an acclaimed classic. SG

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Michael Marcus, Joe McPhee, Jay Rosen, Warren Smith, Blue Reality Quartet! Mahakala Music ****

Mahakala Music are next month on 23 July releasing Blue Reality Quartet, the work and achievement of saxist Joe McPhee and reedist/flautist Michael Marcus, just thinking about hearing Marcus with the late Sonny Simmons in the Cosmosamatics, …

Published: 23 Jun 2021. Updated: 30 days.

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Mahakala Music are next month on 23 July releasing Blue Reality Quartet, the work and achievement of saxist Joe McPhee and reedist/flautist Michael Marcus, just thinking about hearing Marcus with the late Sonny Simmons in the Cosmosamatics, percussionists Jay Rosen & Warren Smith (Mingus, M'Boom, Astral Weeks), McPhee is excellent recently on Winter Garden. If anything this is even better. Serene and quiet, contemplative, quite moving in places, you can really hear the extra elements of the instruments and the expression in the crafting and the way the afternotes mean something. Abstract music that has its own sense of tonality flirting with melody but with pulse and vibrational revelation even more important, 'Joe's Train' is quite Mingusian and there's a real sense of momentousness to the cumulative gathering of musical endeavour. 'Love Exists Everywhere' is streaming. Totally worth your time, you'll put this record on and be reluctant to take it off. A key vibes section (I guess it's Smith) within 'Bluer than Blue' is pretty mind-blowing in the group interplay. It all made me go off and read some Langston Hughes for no direct reason but one that proves apposite. Certainly another significant plus for that. Something ignites stirringly inside, making sense of Reality. SG

Link to get Blue Reality Quartet!