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Skalpel’s Top 10 Polish Jazz Albums


Skalpel is the name under which Wroclaw, Poland’s Marcin Cichy and Igor Pudlo make their sample-heavy jazztronica. The duo’s second CD, Konfusion (Ninja Tune), mines dusty grooves culled primarily from Polish jazz LPs made in the 1960s and ’70s to create a dark, moody downtempo soundtrack–using a 21st-century approach to reflect the time when Communism was king, oppression ruled and challenging creative music was being churned out in the Eastern European underground. Flippin’ the bird to totalitarianism has never sounded so groovy.

It’s tricky to ask DJs what their favorite albums are since it’s possible that the beats and riffs from those LPs have been sampled, cut up and reconfigured into a new tune–not necessarily with the original artist’s approval. So let’s just say for the record: No, Skalpel has never sampled any of these records it recommends and comments on below. Cichy and Pudlo have merely rooted through their enormous record collections to provide a guide for readers who are interested in exploring Poland’s rich jazz history. Ahem. Yes, well….

Komeda Quintet

Astigmatic (Muza, 1965)

Krzysztof Komeda is considered the greatest Polish jazz composer, and he was also a very original pianist–he’s called the “poet of piano.” He is the creator of the original Polish jazz sound. He’s also known as the score composer for Rosemary’s Baby by Roman Polanski. Possibly the most fantastic recording ever from the greatest talent of Polish jazz!

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