Waclaw Zimpel Quartet – “Stone Fog”


Waclaw Zimpel - "Stone Fog"There’s a compelling new release out from clarinetist Waclaw ZimpelStone Fog alternates between delicate expressions of a peaceful state and volatile bursts of unbounded motion.  And it’s the way in which those two polar extremes feed off one another that makes this a winning album.  Tranquil interludes are made that much more evocative by way in which they’re followed by displays of strength… and still evident despite their initial show of restraint.  And those sections in which the kinetic energy is almost too much for Zimpel’s quartet to contain, present themselves with a greater intensity just by way of how they spring from moments of pure serenity.

Your album personnel:  Waclaw Zimpel (clarinet, alto & Bb clarinets, tarogato, overtone flute), Krzysztof Dys (piano, Rhodes), Klaus Kugel (drums, percussion), and Christian Ramond (double bass).

For instance, the slowly unfolding beauty of “Cold Blue Sky” is followed by “Old Feet Feel Out the Path,” an anxious tune that begins with a nod to traditional jazz, but then quickly expands into a frenetic stream-of-conscious conversation with criss-crossing lines of dialog and rapid responses to hurried statements, gaining intensity and volume the longer the conversation goes on.

But the sudden shifts of wind that make this album so riveting aren’t reflected solely through volume and activity, but also in structure. For following the increasing randomness of “Old Feet Feel Out the Path” comes “A Sudden Shift Missed,” a song that has the behavioral traits of an Ornette Coleman Naked Lunch piece… bursts of warped sound that spring out, then immediately coil back into place with a resounding, satisfying thump, implying a sense of definitive form despite the music’s unpredictable nature.

The murmurs and cries of “As the Moon Dips in Nettles” are emitted with a refreshing patience, an attribute that powers the resonance of the barely contained saxophone furor of “One Side of my Face is Colder Than the Other,” a song that continues this album’s pattern.  No different than “Hundred of Wings Steel the Sun,” which begins with an agitation that builds up into a whirlwind of activity before returning to its initial state of mind for the song’s finale.  The shifting dynamics of tempo continue on “River Willows Stray”… a song quiet as a church mouse, and twitters about just as furtively.

The album ends as it began.  The title-track “Stone Fog” patiently shapes itself into a construct of curious beauty… ragged melodic edges, percussion like pock marks across the song’s surface, and yet a spellbinding imagery that can’t be denied.

A compelling album that I keep returning to.

Released on For Tune Records.

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

In additional to Zimple site linked to above, the Zimpel Quartet has a dedicated site, too, linked HERE.

Jazz from Poland.

Available at:  eMusic MP3 | Bandcamp | Amazon CD