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The jazz violin tradition in Poland is dominated by two Giants: Michał Urbaniak, who pioneered highly non-trivial use of electric violin in fusion music of 1970s and Zbigniew Seifert, who combined free and modal jazz à la Coltrane with fusion. Amazingly, this tradition is present even today, listen to the winners of the first two Seifert Competitions: Bartosz Dworak or Mateusz Smoczyński.
An exception that support this rule is Adam Bałdych, who records for the ACT label and whose music has a Scandinavian/Slavonic melancholy, characteristic for ECM/ACT sound. The double album of Marcin Hałat On the Way comes in this situation as a great, unbelievable surprise. Marcin studied in Jazz Department in Katowice with Henryk Gembalski and at the Kraków Academy. In the last 15 years or so he mostly played classical violin with chamber ensembles and orchestras. On the Way might be regarded thus as a jazz debut – maybe that is why it sounds so fresh and unconventionally. Maciej Karłowski says, that Marcin’s music reminds him of that of Dominique Pifaréli. I have some trace associations with Mat Maneri and… Ornette Coleman playing violin. But, the truth is that nothing compares to Hałat’s art.
Marcin is accompanied here by one of the best, if not THE best rhythm section in Poland, Maciej Garbowski and Krzysztof Gradziuk from the piano trio RGG.
By Maciej Lewenstein