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«Spontaneous Live Series D06» (SPONTANEOUS LIVE SERIES
«What is that?» SCATTERARCHIVE

Polish, Kraków-based alto sax player Paulina Owczarek (the founder and conductor of Kraków Improvisers Orchestra) and French, Lille-based drummer Peter Orins first met while playing in Satoko Fujii Berlin Orchestra (Orins also plays with Fujii in the quartet KAZE), later recorded a duo album (You Never Know, Circum-Disc, 2021) and kept playing together. Fellow French pianist met Orins within the Franco-American ensemble Sangliers, with Dave Rempis, Keefe Jackson, and Didier Lasserre (Minuscules, The Bridge Sessions, 2020). These gifted improvisers first played as the trio woo ((Wodrascka Owczarek Orins) in Toulouse in 2022, and immediately established a deep connection. The trio’s debut album was recorded live during a short tour in December 2023 at Le Confort Moderne / Jazz à Poitiers, in Poitiers and Ronchin, with a short piece recorded in a studio in Rins’ hometown,  Lille. Orins mixed, edited and mastered the recordings, took the cover photo and did the graphic design.

The music was freely improvised, leaning on powerful and restless free jazz dynamics and subtle but no less expressive sonic experiments that employ distinct breathing and percussive techniques with a clear affinity for risk-taking. The first, 35-minute piece «Why Not?» best captures this trio’s adventurous essence, constant shifting dialogs that cleverly build and release tension, move between dramatic action and interactions, and enjoy colorful rhythmic drive. Masterful free improvisation without barriers or limits. The short and sparse «Spacer w angielskim ogrodzie» (A walk in an English garden) focuses on nuanced gestures made by extended techniques, while the last and short title piece highlights the hyperactive, mischievous spirit of this fine trio.

Owczarek’s trio with fellow Polish vocal artist-poet Gosia (Małgorzata) Zagajewska and Mexican, Berlin-based vibes player Emilio Gordoa (of Splitter Orchester) was recorded live at Dragon Social Club in Poznań during the Are You Spontaneous? 5th Spontaneous Music Festival in October 2021. The title of the 35-minute «First Meeting» tells about the atmosphere of this piece as well as the opinionated improvisers. It was a meeting where the free improvisers explored the sonic possibilities of such a format, with a sense of urgent energy and bold timbral searches. Often the wordless, operatic vocals of Zagajewska resonate organically with the dreamy sounds of the extended breathing techniques of Owczarek (on the alto sax) and the bowed vibes of Gordoa but mid-piece, patiently and gently the trio solidifies and intensifies the dramatic commotion.

Owczarek switches to baritone sax on her free improvising trio with fellow Polish vocalist (and pianist and educator) Marta Grzywacz and guitarist Sebastian Mac, recorded at Quality Studio in Warsaw in August 2023. The eight pieces suggest hyperactive and playful, surreal and poetic dialogs that stress the highly personal and imaginative vocabularies of these gifted improvisers. Grzywacz invents her own language made of expressive band seductive cut-up syllables and her pixie-like operatic gestures set the spirit of this album; Mac injects spacious lines into the Grzywacz’s intuitive stream of consciousness while Owczarek wraps the immediate interplay with brief melodic ideas and percussive touches. There are no definite answers to What is that? but maybe all answers need to address the liberating and stimulating freedom of this inspired and captivating meeting, with its never-ending sonic surprises.

Eyal Hareuveni   

Christine Wodrascka (piano), Paulina Owczarek (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone),  Peter Orins (drums), Gosia Zagajewska (vocals), Emilio Gordoa (vibes, objects), Marta Grzywacz (vocals), Sebastian Mac (guitar)