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CD Review: Bogdan Precz

Bogdan Precz, accordion "Pigini Sirius"
Bronislaw Duzy, trombone


1. A pod Gruduskiem
2. Mily Gospodarzu
3. Z tamtej strony dwora
4. Czerwono zasiolam
5. Juz sie od was pani
6. Oj siano, siano
7. Taniec do rozgi
8. Lulajze mi, lulaj, mily moj
9. Spiewam ja se, spiewam

total time: 43:30
released: 1996
review date: March 1999

label:Polonia Records Co.
UL, Jana Pawla 18/13
00-116 Warszawa, Poland
Fax - 48 (22) 24 32 13

Order from: Rte. Maria Gurbindo
c/Azalea, 69
28100 El Soto (Alcobendas)

Review by Steve Mobia

At first thought, an album of trombone and accordion duets might appear merely a novelty that would soon wear on the ears. Happily in Bogdan Precz's Grudusko the combination feels complete and natural. These pleasant jazzy arrangements of Polish folk tunes are played without ostentation and with a keen sense of timing and phrasing. A common strategy here is for one of the instruments to provide a ostinato pattern for the other to improvise over and then trade off. It's as much a trombone album as an accordion one. And the trombonist is the award winning Bronislaw Duzy who has recorded with Precz before (see review of For Daniel).

As Bogdan Precz unfortunately died in 1996, this is his final recording. An accordionist who played a wide range of classical, jazz and rock, Precz also found time to compose for chamber groups and symphony orchestras. His presence as an instigator of hybrid musical forms will be missed.

A fast staccato rhythm (on trombone!) launches us into A pod Gruduskiem a piece with a distinct Eastern European flavor. This is followed by another up-tempo number in a Mixolydian scale: Milly Gospodarzu.

A slow moody piece in C minor follows: Z tamtej strony dwora. The accordion supplies the main motive which is followed several times by warm melodic trombone improvisations.

Brisk staccato chords and bellow shakes provide the propulsive rhythm for Czerwono zasiolam. The next track, Juz sie od was pani is a curious collection of contrasting sections. A slow descending motive is followed by a fanfare-like announcement. Then we're into a bass pattern resembling the theme of the TV show Mission Impossible over which are some spurting accordion runs. Another sudden switch has the accordion providing a quick syncopated staccato pattern while the trombone holds long extended tones. A return of the initial descending motive brings some closure to this one.

A solo piccolo reed passage introduces Oj siano siano, a wistful piece which has a building melody on trombone over a steady beat of chromatically altered accordion chords.

Water sounds are added to the texture of Taniec do rozgi. The trombone echoes motives resembling whale songs while the accordion hesitantly states the melody over a low held drone. Finally the trombone kicks in with a pulsating pattern and the accordion finishes with triumphant chords.

The next one Luljze me lulaj, mily moj begins with accordion alone. A slow bass and chord pattern (like Erik Satie's Gymnopedies) in 3/4 time supports some gorgeous jazz lines above. Eventually the trombone enters with a variation on the melody. Haunting.

The somewhat ominous Spiewam ja se, spiewam has the accordion breathing and bending deep bass notes accompanied by sleigh bells. The trombone echoes in the distance before introducing a slow Spanish sounding melody. As the accordion gets louder, the trombone leads the piece to a climax. Then silence ensues before the accordion adds a final lyrical unaccompanied conclusion.

Throughout this album the duo of trombone and accordion have an unexpected fullness. I wasn't wishing that more instruments should have been added. Occasionally overdubbing occurs (as in Taniec do rozgi) but for the most part, it's the ingenuity of Precz and Duzy that manage to fill out this unique recording.

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