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Joe McPhee, Mikolaj Trzaska, Waclaw Zimpel, Paweł Szamburski, Michael Górczyński: Lark Uprising

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For any bandleader, it is a challenge to pull together a group whose members work well with each other, especially as an improvising unit. Polish multi-reedman Mikolaj Trzaska achieved success with the musicians he assembled for his clarinet quintet: Waclaw Zimpel, Paweł Szamburski and Michael Górczyński. Trzaska put the icing on the cake by inviting reedman Joe McPhee to fill out the quintet playing alto clarinet for recording Lark Uprising.

The four Polish musicians play a variety of clarinets, including the bass, alto and tarogato. A striking contrast in colors develops out of this tonal mixture; but just as importantly is how the colors are juxtaposed to elicit their unique character and resultant organic sonority. The ensemble is harmonically unified. Yet, McPhee’s clarinet sound is strikingly different; in fact, when the purity of his tone rises from the whole, its origins lurk mysteriously.

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