Recommended: AfroFree – “Carpathia”


AfroFree - "Carpathia"This one is all about the rhythm, and specifically how it behaves as both an incubation unit for harmonic development and a delivery vehicle for some strikingly gorgeous melodies.  The large ensemble AfroFree tethers its new album Carpathia to the folk music traditions of Central Europe, and by incorporating Afro-Jazz rhythms and modern jazz improvisations, it results in music that is strangely hypnotic at times, immensely tuneful at most others.  The heavy presence of wind instruments leads to all kinds of fascinating interplay, like vines weaving intricate patterns around a tree trunk and getting all tangled up in the process.  It’s especially rewarding when expressions more rooted in jazz tradition suddenly emerge from the foundation of folk music… and at the very moment the two influences attain a perfect balance and so many of the commonalities and complementary pieces come into focus.  The Kapela “Muzyka Karpat” rodziny Boguckich quartet amplifies the folk music tradition on a couple tracks in a guest role, and they really bring out more of the personality of the music.

The upbeat “Wariacje część” is built to transfix, and its melodic incisiveness recalls the compositions of John Zorn’s mystical works.  And, really, opening track “Kuba” has some of the lively but dreamy melodicism of Zorn’s Dreamers project.  The melody of “Z małego” possesses a magnetism that’ll make you want it to go on forever… not unlike “Wariacje część IV,” which begins with a beautiful melody and then keeps layering it over and over and magnifying that beauty a hundredfold.

Just a seriously charismatic album.  The more I listen to this, the deeper I fall in love with it.

Your album personnel:  Piotr Pociask (guitars, percussion, vocal, sopilka), Joanna Ważna-Pociask (soprano & alto flutes), Tomasz Ożóg (trombone, kalimba, tuba, saxhorn, percussion), Sylwester Malinowski (percussion), Michał Król (soprano & tenor saxes, vocal), Mariusz Stępień (clarinet), Adam Tadel (double bass), Jakub Dworak (double bass) and guests:  Wojciech Bogucki (violin, accordion, pastoral pipes, vocal), Kazimiera Bogucka (violin, vocal), Elżbieta Bogucka-Sroka (bass, vocal) and Alicja Bogucka (violin, vocal).

Released on the For-Tune label.

Listen to more album tracks on the label’s Bandcamp page.

Music from the Tarnów, Poland scene.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon