Archive for the Zbigniew SEIFERT Category

Zbigniew SEIFERT – Man of the Light 1976

Posted in JAZZ, Zbigniew SEIFERT on November 25, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Zbigniew SEIFERT – Man of the Light 1976
2007 Issue.


If ever a title was in need of the wider exposure it eluded when first released, it’s Polish violinist Zbigniew Seifert’s unparalleled Man of the Light—finally seeing the light of day thanks to Promising Music’s ongoing series of remastered re-releases from the German MPS label of the 1960s and ’70s. Seifert’s death from complications from cancer in 1979, at the age of 32, cut tragically short a career that had only begun its upward trajectory in North America with his outstanding collaboration on Oregon’s Violin (Vanguard, 1977) and his own Passion (Capitol, 1979), featuring guitarist John Scofield, pianist Richie Beirach, bassist Eddie Gomez, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and percussionist Nana Vasconcelos.
But Seifert—who cut his teeth playing alto saxophone with Tomasz Stanko in the Polish trumpeter’s quintet, immediately following legendary Polish composer/pianist Krzysztof Komeda’s departure for Hollywood—had already begun generating attention for his fiery violin work on dates like saxophonist Charlie Mariano’s 1976 fusion outing, Helen 12 Trees (MPS/Promising Music, 2008). Few were prepared, however, for the sheer power and unrelenting beauty of 1977’s Man of the Light. At a time when the violin was experiencing something of a jazz renaissance, Seifert trumped all around him, suggesting how saxophone icon John Coltrane might have sounded, had he picked up a bow rather than a reed.
Seifert wastes no time combining Coltrane’s “sheets of sound” with a folkloric melodism rooted in Polish traditionalism on the fiery “City of Spring.” German pianist Joachim Kühn plays with the intensity and modal vernacular of Coltrane’s pianist, McCoy Tyner, but evokes a more personal sound through his unmistakable European classicism and near-reckless abandon. Bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart play with equal exuberance on this breathtakingly up-tempo opener that sets the bar high for the rest of the set, while Seifert delivers a solo of cathartic virtuosity. The title track, based around a visceral, mid-tempo 5/4 ostinato, is just as thrilling, with Kühn and Seifert contributing solos as captivating and relevant today as when they were first recorded in 1976.
Seifert also proves capable of compositional depth and passionately beautiful calm. “Stillness”—a duet with McBee, but featuring Seifert’s overdubbed violins as a mini-string orchestra—is, indeed, based on relative stasis and a spare set of changes, with McBee’s robust-toned solo of equal lyrical mettle to his ever-ardent leader. Overdubbing himself again on the similarly expansive “Love in the Garden,” Seifert engages in a transcendent duet with Dutch keyboardist Jasper van’t Hof, capturing a spirituality akin to Mahavishnu Orchestra Mark II’s more tranquil moments on Apocalypse (Columbia, 1974).
“Turbulent Plover” swings with attitude—another modal workout for the quartet that features Kühn’s most expansive solo of the set—while “Coral” ends the album conclusively, perfectly balancing the album’s multifarious touchstones. It may only last a scant 42 minutes, but Man of the Light is a true desert island disc; one of the most exhilarating, important, and underexposed jazz albums ever recorded, and all the more tragic for its largely unfulfilled promise of even greater things to come.
Polish violin legend Zbigniew Seifert gets to play with some incredible musicians of similar caliber for his definitive statement and minor classic of electric classical music in the ensemble format–okay, we’ll keep calling it “Fusion”!  It comes out sounding very similar to the Jean-Luc Ponty albums of the same era, and almost as great in general, with brilliant interplay among all instruments and stirring melodies and harmonies. Some really killer piano on this album. Just awesome!!!  I was going to go with 4 stars but I’m listening to “Turbulent Plover” again and I have to go up to 4.5 for that guy. Oh yeah!!! Re-listening to some other tracks… This album has THE SOUND, the magic sound that I so adore. It has some genuine ensemble synergy and spiritual gravity.
Starting his brilliant career in late 1960’s, Stanko Quartet’s alumni Zbigniew Seifert, quickly became leading European Jazz voice and the first violist capable to transcend the spirit of Coltrane music. Born June 6th, 1946, he began studying the violin at the age of six and ten years later also took up the saxophone. He studied violin at the University of Krakow, while also playing alto in his jazz group. The music of John Coltrane proved to be a strong influence throughout Seifert’s career. As Scott Yanow observed: “Zbigniew Seifert was the violin what John Coltrane was to the saxophone”. From an early age and later on as a member of Stanko’s Quintet (1969-1973), he had made a name for himself in Europe. As a leader Seifert (who was affectionately known as Zbiggy) performed music that ranged from free Jazz to fusion. During his short life he thankfully was able to collaborate with some of the brightest stars of both American and European Jazz, including Hans Koller, Joachim Kuhn, Billy Hart, Michael Brecker, John Scofield, Eddie Gomez, Charlie Mariano, Jack DeJohnette, and band Oregon with whom he recorded masterpiece album “Violin”. In the mid to late seventies, Seifert recorded a series of albums as a leader, that established him as one of the most unique voices in jazz, and one of the most sophisticated improvisers on the violin. Tragically, his promising American and world career abruptly ended with his death to leukemia in 1979.
A masterful improviser who could have ranked at the top with Adam Makowicz and Michal Urbaniak, Zbigniew Seifert’s early death robbed Poland of one of its top jazz artists. Seifert started on the violin when he was six and ten years later started doubling on alto sax. He studied violin at the University of Krakow, but when he started leading his own band in 1964, Seifert mostly played alto, showing off the influence of John Coltrane. When he was a member of Tomasz Stanko’s very advanced quintet (1969-73), Seifert switched back to violin and largely gave up playing sax. He moved to Germany in 1973, was with Hans Koller’s Free Sound from 1974-75 and freelanced (including with Joachim Kuhn). Seifert played at the Monterey Jazz Festival with John Lewis in 1976 and the following year recorded with Oregon. As a leader Seifert (who was affectionately known as Zbiggy) performed music that ranged from free jazz to fusion. Seifert recorded for Muza in 1969, Mood from 1974-76, MPS in 1976 and Capitol from 1977-78. He died of cancer at the age of 32.
bY Scott Yanow, AMG.
Zbigniew Sefiert- Violin;
Joachim Kühn- Acoustic Piano (1, 2, 4, 6);
Cecil McBee- Bass (1-4, 6);
Jasper Van’t Hof- Electric Piano and Organ (5);
Bill Hart- Drums (1, 2, 4, 6).
01. City of Spring   6:37
02. Man of the Light (Dedicated to McCoy Tyner)   9:45
03. Stillness   5:00
04. Turbulent Plover   7:27
05. Love in the Garden   6:12
06. Coral (Dedicated to My Violin Teacher, Prof. Stanislaw Tawroszewicz)

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