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Glob Unity: Poland, New York City Jazz Records

Tomasz Dabrowski’s TOM TRIO, with bassist Nils Bo Davidsen and drummer Anders Mogensen, features the young Polish trumpeter in a subdued but expansive set of originals, recalling the folksy futurism of Ornette Coleman, with hummable melodies that morph unexpectedly. A subtle sonic colorist à la Nate Wooley or Cuong Vu, Dabrowski shades his rich, warm tone with squelches, halfvalvings and wah-wahs to achieve a bright but burred effect.

The trio synchs seamlessly, plodding lyrical melodies bolstered by Mogensen’s active but unobtrusive percussion to expand and unfold midtrack. Highlights include the chameleonic “Cold Hands” and “CPH Talk”, the intimate dialogue of “Triangle” and the ever-changing but ever-swinging tempos of “This Way Up”.

 

Tom Greenland, November 2012
nycjazzrecord.com/

TRUMPET TONES…Tomasz Dabrowski

"Here’s a  trumpet player that might just get your attention. European born and educated Tomasz Dabrowski has a tone and style that hints at the lyrical fragility of a Kenny Dorham or Blue Mitchell, yet he uses it in a format that is a bit on the freer side. The mix of melody with a lack of boundaries combines melodicism with experimentation in a quite appealing way on these two releases of his that are in divergent formats.

The trio session from Denmark with Nils Bo Davidsen/b and Anders Mogensen mixes telepathic interplay with subtle and understated impressionism. There is a spaciousness in material such as “Buzz Wow” and “I’ll Repeat Only Once” that reveals a deep conversational tone. Dabrowski’s half tones on “Cold Hands” weaves in and out of Davidsen’s thoughtful bass, while a bluesy groove on “European 46” and the walking “After Jam” demonstrate an ability to lean into a beat, but without being intrusive. Delicate yet poignant, as sounds are used like colors.

Dabrowski then goes on a US duet session with drummer Tyshawn Sorey  through ten songs that could have easily gone out of control, but rely more on restraint and refinement than demonstrating muscularity. Dabrowski’s soft tone is free but cogent on themes such as “Song 4” and the crystalline “Song 5”, while Sorey knows when to use the brushes (“”Song 9 (invited to Linger”) or let his drums rumble in the underground (“Song 1 (Grayish)”). The partners are able to play with dynamics as they sometimes start gently and build up to a climax as on “Song 5” or go for a softer landing as they parachute successfully on “Song3”. Don’t let the numbering of the song titles fool you: a lot of thought goes into these themes. Well crafted."

 

George W. Harris, February 2014
JazzWeekly.com

Introducing Polish Trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski

"Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, now based in Denmark, is a rising and promising force in the European scene. He has a strong, instantly recognizable sound and expressive tone. His versatile musical language references the American fiery free jazz, Eastern European and Balkan folk music, the Scandinavian contemplative jazz and contemporary, avant-garde music. Dąbrowski already released eleven albums as a co-leader and a sideman. The next three albums were released during 2013, all debuts of different outfits.

 

Tomasz Dabrowski / Nils Bo Davidsen / Anders Mogensen
Tom Trio

Tom Trio is Dąbrowski's debut album as a leader and composer of all its songs. The trio feature two experienced Danish players—double bassist Nils Bo Davidsen and drummer Anders Mogensen, both known for their personal sounds. The music of this trio expresses an attempt to blend the Slavic and Scandinavian temperaments through melodic structures.

Dąbrowski's songs are short and utilize a strong and simple melodic core. Dąbrowski alternates between the trumpet and a vintage instrument he calls Balkan horn, and his playing is intense and full of urgency even on the most serene songs as "Cold Hands."

The lack of a harmonic instrument challenges Dąbrowski and forces him to expand his sound. His trumpet sounds all over the driving "Wave," stressing the beat and colors the serpentine, melodic line, and follows with a similar approach on the spare and slow "Buzz Wow" and the meditative "Triangle." Davidsen and Mogensen's highly creative multi-layered rhythmic base not only supports Dąbrowski but enables him the freedom to explore more sounds and colors without losing the melodic or rhythmic core of the song, as all three demonstrate on "After Jam" and the hard-swinging "This Way Up."

 

Hunger Pangs
Meet Meat

This trio comprised of Polish guitarist, founder and composer of most of its compositions Marek Kądziela, Dąbrowski and Danish drummer Kasper Tom Christiansen. All met as students at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark, and collaborated before on other projects. The trio's name is borrowed from Polish writer Marek Hłasko's novel Converted in Jaffa and describes a state of mind of creative craving, typical for the state of minds of musicians.

The instrumentation of this trio is like Dave Douglas's Dave Tiny Bell Trio Douglas and the musical approach is inspired by the German bands Der Rote Bereich and Hyperactive Kid. These outfits feature a powerful guitarist whose vocabulary goes beyond jazz and covers punk, alternative rock and avant-garde music and has an intense, raw and uncompromising sound.

This trio debut was recorded after it perfected its material over countless European tours. The rough, twisted and tight interplay of this trio with its fractured rhythmic conception often reminds of the interplay of Tim Berne's Bloodcount with guitarist Marc Ducret and drummer Jim Black. But though Kądziela, Dąbrowski and Christiansen are aware of past influences their strong personalities turn this trio into a powerful unit with a fresh sound of its own.

The trio explores varied forms of its intense, tight and rhythmic interplay even on the spare and quiet pieces as "Low Hip" and "Tage." But this interplay never surrenders to conventional manners of interaction or specific genres, and is full of imagination, urgency and emotional sensitivity. Longer compositions such as "Isbjorn" and "Bunker Hungs" allow the trio to improvise over dissonant chords, alternating pulse and colors, to investigate its sonic envelope and to exchange ideas in an almost telepathic manner.

 

Dąbrowski Sorey Duo
Steps

On January 2012 Dąbrowski travelled to New york and recorded three albums with pianist Kris Davis, drummer Andrew Drury. His duo with drummer Tyshawn Sorey is the first release from these recordings.

The duo explores an emphatic and balanced interplay over ten short "songs," all composed by Dąbrowski and based on a simple melodic idea. The flow of ideas is surprisingly organic for this first musical meeting, performed with confident ease and subtle virtuosity, and as can be expected from such creative and charismatic musicians, always with captivating imagination, poetic touch and masterful elegance.

Neither musician tries to follow any former trumpet-drums formats such as influential ones of trumpeters Don Cherry and Wadada Leo Smith with drummer Ed Blackwell (El Corazón, ECM, 1982 and The Blue Mountain's sun Drummer, Kabell, 2010), though both are aware of these recordings. Dąbrowski and Sorey's vocabulary is richer than just the jazz legacy. Both are well-versed with contemporary and avant-garde music and throughout their respective careers have refused to follow genre conventions."

 

Eyal Hareuveni, October 2013
AllAboutJazz.com

reviews

Tom Trio, Stephan Moore

I first came across Tomasz Dabrowski's work as a member of Tomasz Licack's brilliant albums, Quintet and Trouble Hunting. Now Dabrowski has released his first trio album, Tom Trio that delivers with intensity and very creative agility.

While this is his first album as leader, his work as sideman has definitely helped in building his voice and ideas. It all comes together beautifully on Tom Trio. "7 Days To Go" has a slow melodic build that reminds me of some of Nate Wooley work. It's a narrative that scales gently, added by the precise brush treatment from Mogensen.

"Wave" has a fantastic multi-layered rhythm as laid out Mogensen. Both Davidsen and Mogensen are giving the reins to run ramped, so-to-speak. The result is a nice convergence of blistering trumpet work from Dabrowski with succinct slicing and calculation from bandmates. This culminates with some terrific improvised sections towards the closing moments of the piece.

"European 46" shows Davidsen alongside Dabrowski in a groovier setting. The piece is probably the most infectious number of the session but still holds creative strategy of the overall artist vision. "This Way Up" is a whole lot of fun. Led by the driving thumbing of Davidsen, the piece soon turns into a nice bit of hard bop. The exchanges between Dabrowski and Davidsen are superb and infectious.

Tomasz Dabrowski has crafted a brilliant debut with Tom Trio. It's rich in diversity and powerful in its execution. This is one of those albums that you must seek out - now!

 

July 2013
JazzWrap

 

Dąbrowski Sorey Duo - Steps (ForTune Records, 2013), Jack Chuter

"Steps is Dąbrowski’s first ever duo, and it’s through his enthusiastic exploration of the two-person dynamic that I remember what a difference it makes to have just one other in musical company. I feel as though I can hear his deep inhalations as he falls quiet; the sudden evacuation of trumpet tones leaves just the siren resonance of cymbals and snare hits, which suddenly sound melodious in the absence more explicit tonal direction, while opening up melodic quiet as a device exclusively under Dąbrowski’s control. No longer must he dogfight with instruments competing for the same frequency range, or embark a constant undulation of creative dominance that thickens and recedes – the pair sound as though they engage in an unflinching eye contact throughout, undistracted in their gradual familiarisation of every micro-expression, every wrinkle, while exploring the dramatic tilts in balance that can occur when just one of them falls silence or tumbles into a different mood.

The fluidity of Sorey and Dąbrowski doubles in effect when the pair play simultaneously. Dąbrowski’s switches between notes with a grace that assumes no alternative, as though the time channel within which he travels has been carved out for him – his notes are sombre, tipsy and moist with whiskey, and yet the way he turns seemingly angular tonal switches into smooth curves is a rich and muscular technical achievement. Meanwhile, Sorey’s beats often materialise with a woodcutter-esque assertion – each hit an individual pocket of intent, a muscle exertion all of its own – and yet every punctuative moment appears to roll when it lands, turning even dramatic emphasis into the prelude for something else. Even when he starts to splutter and stumble during “Song 5”, his disjointed steps still come off like a haphazard ballet; little eruptions of a hard-rock 4/4 become gateways into a free jazz rainfall patter, and like two kites sharing the burden of bearing and leadership equally, Step reels out without even a nanosecond of misunderstanding."

 

January 2014
ATTNMagazine.co.uk

Dąbrowski Sorey Duo - Steps (ForTune Records, 2013), Bernard Lefèvre

"The American drummer Tyshawn Sorey is making a name for himself in the avant-garde  (Anthony Braxton, Steve Lehman, Myra Melford), and met the Polish trumpet player Dabrowski during his sessions in New York, when he was recording with pianist Kris Davis. Sorey and Dabrowski play very organically and energetically, whilst yet leaving space to one another. It is indeed quite a statement of the trumpet, what Dabrowski displays here. And Sorey easily matches that level. The intensity and virtuosity should surely guarantee a lot of extra fun, live."

 

December 2013
JAZZMOZAÏEK

 

Tomasz Dabrowski - Tom Trio (ILK, 2012) ****½, Stef Gijssels

"One of my favorites in the review here is the fascinating trio with your trumpet Tomasz Dąbrowski on his debut album with Danish bassist Nils Bo Davidsen and drummer Anders Mogensen. The trio brings free jazz but strongly rooted in thematic and rhythmic foundations.

Dabrowski's tone is warm and full and the music welcoming. bringing the kind of jazz that makes you happy while keeping the attention going. Not surprisingly the album received very positive reactions in Poland and Dabrowski even received nomination to the musical debut of the year award in Poland, and musician of the year award on  Fyn, Denmark.

A musician to follow."

 

February 2013
The Free Jazz Collective

 

OFF QUAR TET, Maciej Nowotny

I am out of my words! Recently I've been wondering what are candidates for Best Artist in Polish Jazz this year 2011. And I come to conclusion that it may be not a single person but collective "debutante". I simply cannot recall year so abundant in excellent debut albums as this year is. Many of them were already described on this blog, I just pick a few from recent times: Biotone "Unspoken Words", Tomasz Licak & Artur Tuźnik Quintet feat. Anders Mogensen "Quintet" or Wierba & Schmidt Quartet feat. Dante Luciani "Black Monolith". There are many more than those but these are closest in affinity: all mainstream, all acoustic, all being a very good starting point to big carreer.

Of all these discs this one appeals to me most from one point of view: it is the bravest! I admire a lot high skills as displayed by young musicians but I believe that this is too little to be successful artist. You must be ready to explore, to change, to take risks. All these elements are present in music of this band. I want to underline especially the role of trumpeter Tomek Dąbrowski. He is able to play in one moment as Dave Douglas while in another as Peter Evans. His line is effortless, winged, ingenious. I will closely watch his next steps as he clearly has big talent. No less gifted is Marek Kądziela whose guitar gracefully  counterpoints the meandering trumpet of Dąbrowski. Scandinavian rhythm section (Morten Haxholm - doublebass, Rasmus Schimdt - drums) provides rock solid pulse necessary for all this dancing by Dabrowski & Kądziela. Not bad at all!

 

December 2011
Polish-Jazz

 

Dąbrowski Sorey duo - Steps (ForTune, 2013) ****, Stef Gijssels

"All tracks are called "Songs", which testifies of the compact lyricism of the compositions and the playing. A single idea, a tune, a mood, a rhythm to play with, to expand on, to interact on, and then on to the next tune. Simplicity and musical joy are at the core of this album. The moods can be solemn, playful or even jubilant, and the total is a coherent treat of raw sophistication, intimate and sensitive."

 

November 2013
The Free Jazz Collective

TOM TRIO, Sean Smith

Tom Trio is the first session that Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dąbrowski has worked on as a leader. Veteran of many of numerous recordings as a sideman, the 28 year-old, who has been working in Denmark for the last four years has teamed up with Nils Bo Davidsen and Anders Hogensen  for an album of tunes from in a not-so-common trumpet trio set up.

The piano-less jazz ensemble tends to create a lot of space and freedom, whether it's a sax trio or a trumpet trio, and the music on Tom Trio is no exception. The emphasis is very much on improvisation and free jazz, but at the same time, Dąbrowski has an ear for a melody, making for a powerful set of tunes.

The eleven tracks featured on the album are all composed by Dąbrowski including the infectious Wave, which starts out with some cacophonous drums and heavy bass, before the main trumpet melody kicks in. A hard-hitting number it rolls over everything in its wake, leaving a lasting impression on the listener.

After Jam starts out with the main riff played in a low ponderous fashion, gradually building up momentum before melting into a middle passage of solos and general improv, with the main melody returning for the final minute or so in aggressive climax.

Cph Talk is a loosely-structured number, with the bass underpinning the whole things allowing trumpet and drums to explore unexpected territory. It's far from being the most accesible track on the album, but its originality is, however, highly seductive.

By contrast the track that follows, the short but sweet European 46, is perhaps the most conventional tune on offer, though equally as good as everything else here. From there it's into This Way Up, which starts out with an extended bass solo, and when the tune really kicks in, it's somewhat reminiscent of some of the freer work from Japanese trumpeter Shinpei Ruike.

Refreshhingly original from start to finish, reflecting the very best of northern European improvisational jazz, Tom Trio is a stunning debut and highly recommended.

 

April 2013
Tokyo Jazz Notes

 

Hunger Pangs - Meet Meat (ForTune Records, 2013), Dirk Blasejezak

Actually, I did not want to discuss the name, because I do not think (i.e. hope) that the musicians of this trio from Poland and Denmark have to fight with significant consequences of hunger.

Nevertheless, the first association of course is that of the hunger for personal development, for art and creativity. It can indeed lead to mental and physical problems when someone is hindered in his self-unfolding - maybe that can be called pain too. But even here the band members should not be affected as they are touring for several years in many different formations in Poland, Denmark and Germany and have already been mentioned many times on this blog. The liner notes then indeed clarify that the name of the trio stems from a book.

You can feel though that on this album three came together who are bound and determined. Uncompromisingly they lay before the listener their own compositions, most of which were written by Marek Kądziela. From the first song onward it is clear that the three are not here to produce a "nice" album - these songs had to get out.

Marek Kądziela and Kasper Tom Christiansen were mentioned together on this blog before with their band "K.R.A.N." - at that time still caught in the mainstream (see: http://polish-jazz.blogspot.de/2011/11/kran-kran-gateway-music-2009.html), a conception which I could verify for myself at a concert some years ago. However, specifically Kasper Tom Christiansen has remained in my memory, and also the very unexcited, but very variable play of Marek Kądziela. I am glad that these two are back together here and could get Tomasz Dabrowski (Tom Trio), one of the most exciting trumpeters of Poland, into the boat (Tomasz and Marek already know each other from other projects, e.g. Off Quartet). And the result is a real gem!

It is not free jazz, but it is free from conventions. Many changes, mostly in fast tempos and a stunning interplay. Either the three have practiced together for a very, very long time or they understand each other instinctively. They definitely play on the same wavelength and so it doesn’t matter that there is no bass player to be found on any of the recordings - either Marek Kądziela fulfills that part or Tomasz Dabrowski creates the missing depth with the microKORG.

I particularly like the first part of the record as towards the end the songs are too tightly composed. Although the compositions themselves are far from being boring, the flow gets a little lost and the musicians receive significantly fewer space for their own solo play. But that does not at all becloud the overall impression, as the entire album is just too strong! Especially if you consider this a debut album. An unconditional recommendation and certainly one of the albums, that at the end of the year will be in the top lists of many jazz fans.

 

June 2013
Polish-Jazz

Hunger Pangs - Meet Meat (ForTune, 2013) ****, Stef Gijssels

"Let's stay in Poland, with this great trio of Marek Kądziela on guitar, Tomasz Dąbrowski (Tom Trio) on trumpet, microKORG and balkan horn, and Kasper Tom Christiansen on drums.

The first line-up that I really got excited about with trumpet, guitar and drums was the Tiny Bell Trio, with Dave Douglas, Brad Shepik and Jim Black. And in fact, this music is very much in the same vein, raw and precise, incredibly rhythmic, full of changes within the compositions, and stylistically hesitating and shifting between modern jazz and its rougher variations in free jazz or jazz rock. Other influences or references might be "Der Rote Bereich" and "Hyperactive Kid".

Even in the slower parts, there is no polish (no pun intended), make-up or other cosmetics to be observed. Their reality is at the basis harsh, dark and straightforward, without the warmth of a bass or the soothing harmonic accompaniement of a piano, it is hard as rocks, hard as rocks tumbling down a rocky slope, hard as a stone floor to sleep on, yet out of this cold and restricted material universe this trio constructs something solid, structured, intelligent, and incredibly expressive, and sensitive too, and fun to listen to. Yes, maybe raw sensitivity and expressive intimacy describe this music well."

 

August 2013
The Free Jazz Collective

 

TOM TRIO, Adam Baruch

This is the debut album as a leader by the young (28) and upcoming Polish Jazz trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, resident in Denmark since several years. In spite of his young age Dabrowski managed to gain quite a lot of experience and exposure, playing with many Polish and later Danish Jazz musicians and recording an impressive number of albums as co-leader and sideman. This album was recorded in the difficult trumpet trio format, with Danish bassist Nils Bo Davidsen and drummer Anders Mogensen. The music comprises of eleven original compositions, all by the leader.
 

The overall atmosphere of this recording is close to European Free Jazz, although the melodic motifs in most of the compositions are clearer than in most Free from recordings. The resulting music is an interesting amalgam of typical Polish melancholy and lyricism combined with the wonderful Scandinavian virtuosity of stress-free improvisation. The music is interesting, intelligent and provides an ideal vehicle for the trio to express themselves and demonstrate their individual and collective skills. The balance between the melodic content and the freedom, both harmonic and rhythmic, proves that these are both bright and experienced players.

The album is very much an ensemble effort, as all three musicians contribute equally to the result as a whole. Dabrowski plays some very tasty trumpet phrases, which are clearly influenced by the Godfather of Polish Jazz trumpet Tomasz Stanko, but manage to eschew any attempt of copying the Master, forming an individual voice, which will surely further develop in the future. The bassist is spectacular and provides not only the necessary balance and camaraderie to the other trio members, but actually drives the music forward. The level of his technical proficiency and more importantly incredible Jazz feeling is simply astounding. The drummer completes the trio, playing rather less than more, which is a commendable quality, adding some imaginative icing to the cake, staying away from boring rhythmic patterns and skillfully adding his delicate touches.
 

The album is definitely a first class achievement and an excellent debut effort, which does justice to the leader´s abilities and hopefully will serve as an introduction to a long and successful recording career. It is unquestionably one of the best debut albums I heard this year. Now that Dabrowski got me hooked, I will eagerly await his next effort. In the meantime I can only hope that this album gets to as many listeners worldwide, as it truly deserves. Brilliant stuff!

 

October 2012
www.AdamBaruch.com

 

interviews

"Interview with Tomasz Dabrowski. Chapter 03", Bartek Adamczak

Here's the last piece of the interview with Tomasz Dabrowski. Big thanks to Tomasz for the talk and to Malgorzata Michalska who did come up with the idea for the meeting.

 

(you play a very specific instrument, you call it „balkan horn”, can you tell more about it?)

This is an instrument I got at a bargain price from a gentleman in a village near Łódź city. I found it on allegro [a popular auction website], no one wanted to buy it. I saw it and got very intrested – it looks very old, and most of all it looks very strange, with a huge bell for example. I turned it has a very different sound as well. There are those technical matters I'm not really an expert in. If you play trumpet and flugelhorn, you have to use two different mouthpieces. Same thing if you play in a small combo or you play in big band. If you play lead part you have to use a shallower mouthpiece so the sound would be more upfront, you're leading the section, the whole big band as a metter of fact. I'm really terrible at it, and that is for the biggest advantage of my balkan horn, I can easily play with the same mouthpiece I use on the trumpet but the sound is very different, ambitus is larger, the articulation is different. The way this is instrument is built nobody can tell me what it is. I know it's from the 60s, I even wrote to the manufacturer but they were of no help as well. It's very fragile, you could crush it in your hands, if you hit it gives away more of a „plastic” sound rather than „brassy”. It allows you to play also with the tuning. It's a sort of a laboratory, you can always experiment with new sounds.

(I think I recall Ambrose Akinmusire talking about how the temperature or blood pressure could change the way he sounds, what are your ways to practice the instrument or habits you acquired during those years)

Somebody once asked Dexter Gordon how come he can play so well while being drunk and he said it's because he practices while being drunk as well. I think one need to be vary carefully about so called juju's, musical rituals. Trumet requires a great deal of discipline, you need to stay in shape. As I'm home for Christmas, everyone's sitting at the table, and I need to rehears this or that. Firstly, to have an excuse to stop eating, secondly, because I know If I don't do it now, I will have to catch up later.

It's a brass instrument, which means it's different as well every day. You can't learn it once and be done with it. You're a doctor really, you need to check every day what's working, what needs some more practice so it would function properly. You thinks sometims it's a problem with the blast, or articulation and it turns out often it's because of the breathing. Peter Evans taught me that, he asked me if I practice breathing, and I replied I had it covered ad the very beggining. He said he used to thought that as well. You need to keep going back to the very elementary things. You need to keep them straight. Breathing, articulation, air blast. On a daily bases as you start playing those are all seperate issues, the thing is how to put them together. It requires practice, you need to find ways that work for you and let you keep the frame straight. I had trouble with that, for many yearts. I'd practice while watching television, it doesn't work. This instrument demands focus and discipline.

I became very interested in the teaching of Arnold Jacobs, he was the lead tuba player of the Philharmony in Chicago. One of his postualtes was this: it doesn't matter what it looks like, what's crooked, what's slipped out. The note, its sound, what you play it is a direct result of what you have in mind. This is how I see it now and how I'm trying to teach my students.

I think you're really learning to play music, you're trying to find a way to express yourselve, the trumpet is just a tool you chose and you use to do it. You need to shorten as much as possible the distance between what's on your mind and what comes out of the instument.

This works the same way with the more technical issues. For example, if you want to play a high note, some people think, you know, one needs to lick here, move that. Maybe it will work, I don't know. I base my approach upon Jacobs' teachings – it's easier if you find a way to relate your playing to your thoughts – sound in your head. Trumpet is just an instrument, it's a tool, it doesn't determine the music – you decide how it will be. It's the same with the sound. If you give a guy who has his own sound four different trumpets to play, there might be slight differencies but the sound is determined by the humand, not by the object. Articulation, phrasings, it's all in the sound and it all stays with you.

 

May2013
Jazz Alchemist

 

"Interview with Tomasz Dabrowski. Chapter 02", Bartek Adamczak

Here's the second chapter of the interview with young polish trumpet player Tomasz Dabrowski.

 

(What is differences between musical scene in Denmark and Poland you can observe?)

Denmark has good balance. There's a strong mainstream circle as well as free. In Poland only now we're it starts to level. I don't know about classical music, but as far as jazz is concerned, mainstream jazz was dominating. What is called avant-guarde by many people was for present for a long time but always stood aside. But now it's coming to the light, I'm under impression that we're witnessing a big change, started around the last two years. So much more is happening, new musicians, projects, more concerts, festivals. Also on the international level, we're not scheduled anymore, there are no borders, you can play with whoever you want.

(You're about the to play concert with Pheeroan AkLaff...)

I know! I can't wait (laughter) I'm myself very curious about it because I don't know what we're going to play, but I'm very happy about who I'm going to play wiht. The story behing this is concert is very simple, Pardon To Tu's manager told me some time ago there's something special about to happen, but would give no details yet. He's the one who invited me to participate, I'll only get to mett Pheeroan tomorrow. We'll se what will happen.

(Is there someone you'd particularly want to play with?)

I'm thinking more and more about a steady unit. It's not that I've played and recorded with everyone I'd want to. It's not about that. I've recorded recently a couple of cds that should be released soon. Those sessions were carefully planned, I wrote the material, it was all fixed.

But it's very different when you can play with your buddies. And I miss that. Having a working band, being able to really work together. So it would not be just about one cd, one tour. But about steady project, where you really want to play with the others, and it's a real work, you're trying to achive something mover, when the band takes it's own shape, its unique sound.

TOM trio for me is such a band right now and I want to continue it. We played recently in Kopenahgen during the winter jazz festiva and I'm still living off the energy that concert gave me.

There's also this band, it's ours, not mine, there's no leader, it's called HUNGER PANGS. It's Marek Kadziela on guitar, Kasper Tom Christiansen on drums and I'm playing horns and micoKorg. Our cd „Meet Meat” will be released soon. Working in a band when every musician lives in a different place is not the easiest thing to do. But we manage our expectations and play just a couple of concerts a year. Marek lives in Poland for 1,5 year now, he's very active. Kasper leads his own projects in Denmark and Germany, I'm pretty busy as well with the new projects and cd releases coming soon. Still, Hunger Pangs is one of the best bands I'm playing with, there's no other gorup like it in the country, maybe just a couple in the whole Europe.

(You referred to the recording sessions you organised in New York, what have this experience taught you?)

I learned responsibility in playing. No matter the situation, you sit in, you play, you take complete and absolute responsibility for it. Each rehearsal you're there 100%.
I had luck to meet people well versed not only in jaz tradition but the classical, european tradition as well. Full professional in till the most minimal details. I was the leader, the musicians knew what I wanted to achieve, they know how to deliver it, mantainig their own individuality.
It was a very positive kick, a sign I should go further the path I've chosen. I've heard many compliments, from Kris (Davies), from Tyshaun (Sorey), about my playing, about the compositions. It was all very uplifting.

It's not that, here, in Poland, I'm criticized. But our idea of education, from the very beginning, is such that people are more eager to reprimand you rather than tell you're good at something.

(the debut „Tom Trio” cd is generally well received though..)

It's true. All the reviews I know are very positive. Good things are said about the individual expression, group interplay as well as the compositions itself. The biggest interest in the album is present here, in Poland, which pleases me very much, I was afraid that becasue it was release by a foreign label it would go by unnoticed by the polish audience. ILK Records is definitely not a mojr label with the distribution that brings the music to any grocery supermarket. Now it's available via Multikulti, in Emik network, main web stores Merlin and Serpent but as well via my own site, with authograph [:)].

ILK is a special label that works in a very cool way, it's a collective of circa 20 musicians, not just anybody can release a cd there. But if they all accept it, the music must be really ok.

 

April 2013
Jazz Alchemist

 

"Interview with Tomasz Dąbrowski. Chapter 01", Bartek Adamczak

Trumpet player Tomasz Dabrowski is one of the most prominent new faces of polish jazz. I had already the pleasure to write about his TOM Trio cd, more cds are soon to be released (including New York sessions with Tyshaun Sorey, Kris Davies, Andrew Drury).

I had a brief chat with Tomek in Krakow few weeks ago as he was about to get on the train to Warsaw to play with the Pheeroan AkLaff. The interview will be posted in three chapters in the next two weeks on the blog.

Here's the first part, a biographical insight into the beginning of Tomasz's musical journey:

 

"I'm sure everyone has a different story to tell. In my case, my parents have still the VHS-camera recording, it's christmas time and I'm singing some songs by the christmas tree. My folks decided I have a knack for it. Even today, my aunt, and she's around 70 now, always tells me how she remembers me singing to the broom's stick some children songs. As my parents saw it they decided to buy me a keyboard. I'm the first musician in the family, that was their image of how it should begin – keyoard, you know, it has some potential for the future, maybe you'll play in the wedding band, you can show off at holidays to the family, this kind of utility music. And that's how I begun to learn, mostly classical music.

There was this moment, it's really a bad story, there was this disc, or cassette tape rather „Sax & Sex” by Robert Chojnacki with Piasek [sort of smooth jazz / pop music star very popular in the 90s]. I listened to it and I then I knew I want to play saxophone, no way around it. I wasn't the perfect age, 13 years old, it was really a last call to join music school, much smaller children would be already playing well. Ilawa, where I attended the music school, it a small city, around 30 thousand citizens, it is known for a trad jazz festival Złota Tarka („Golden Grater”). They've just initiated a special program which allowed to me enlist. So i did so, I went to thse school and it turned out there's no vacancies left to lear sax, they told me so and asked „how about the trumpet?”. And I wasn't even sure what it was exactly, some people don't know the difference between trumpet and trombone – bone „elephant” sound and that's it.

But I went to the rehearsal led by the teacher Bogdan Olkowski, he played the insteument and I thought to myself it's not that bad, I could be ok with it. I wasn't really serious about it. A guy this age would rather play some football outside. It turned out it's a damn tough instrument to learn, you need to practice everyday, be carefull about what you do, control so many aspects at once. Only today I realise all that, especially since I started to teach as well. I have young students, 8-10 years old but I had a 70 years old senior as well. Everyone starts at the first base.
First reaction one has when he takes the trumpet and tries to play it, you know, cheeks like Dizzy Gillespie, no sound at all and the though appears „God, it's so hard”. It has to be explained that it's not that hard, there are these myths about how physical the instrument is, it is not easy, but you don't loose your conscience after 30 seconds. Although a sweaty shirt after the concert is a normal thing.

I started to play with youth orchestra from Iława, quite a known big band, one of the most acclaimed in Poland. We travelled a lot and Olkowski, for which I'm eternally gratefull, would always say to me „you should do something more about it, you have knack for it”. Unfortuantely I didn't have much musical knowledge, there was nobody who could teach me more. Event though there are many musicians, jazz or otherwise, who are from Ilawa – double bass player Michal Jaros, Marcin Ulanowski who plays the groove ,rock kind of thins. But I couldn't find anyone who could show me „do this”, you can do it that way”, „practice that thing”.

The one person who would play me music would be Hipolit Szalkiewicz – the teacher responsible for the basic music teachings – literature, dictations, practices, classical etudes and so on, all that staff that everyone needs to pass through in the music school. But once the class was over, mr Hipolit would call me „Hey Tomek, wait here a second, listen to this” and he would play me maybe some dixieland jazz that I really liked. I didn't know how to apprach it, but I frequented the jazz festival in the city and that's also when I went to my first jam session.

After that Henryk Majewski visited Ilawa and he rehearsed me but that was a complete bust, I didn't know a first thing about playing jazz, jazz chords? Progressions? I had not theoretical preparation whatsoever. Two years after I applied to the jazz school on Bednarska street in Warsaw and I got in, I still don't really know how, I wasn't a good player, had a lot of technical issues and in fact the first three years I spend trying to correct these, which was very frustrating. I was a very active environment, people making their own bands, inviting you to play with them, that's how you learn even more, but I had to decline becuase there was no point to it.
Yet after a while I was able to join them, even made own bands, got some individual and team prizes on a couple of contests.

And then the current chapter of my life begins, I moved to Denmark, all that's happening now started then."

 

April 2013
Jazz Alchemist

 

quotes

Tomasz Stańko

"Tomasz Dąbrowski is one of the most interesting musicians of the young generation in Poland. Trumpeter, composer, educator,  has the rair ability to feel comfortable in any given musical situation. I worked with him and I can confirm and ensure you about his artistry, proffesionalism and commitment."
- Tomasz Stańko

Fredrik Lundin

"Trumpet player Tomasz Dabrowski is one of the most both talented and versatile musicians l've worked with.
His excellent command of the instrument and it's sound, his musicality and a knowledge of many musical styles enables him to fit into a wide variety of musical situations. Most importantly however, he's an uncompromising and fearless improviser and soloist with a very strong voice that's just his own."

- Fredrik Lundin

Ralph Alessi

"Tomasz Dabrowski is an inspiring improvising trumpeter that needs to be heard!"
- Ralph Alessi

Leszek Możdżer

"Tomasz Dabrowski has a unique stage charisma and excellent technique. His playing is strong, precise and at the same time full of surprising turns, changing colors, it spakles with richness of expression and articulation. This is one of the best trumpeters I  heard recently."
- Leszek Możdżer

Axel

"Unlike other instruments the trumpet does not contain a generator of sound within itself. The human body of the trumpet player generates the sound, and this is merely amplified by the trumpet. In this way the trumpet becomes something like an extension of the body—which leads to many difficulties in mastering the instrument, but also to many possibilities for producing sounds with the most direct kind of musical expression. This can be heard in the playing of Tomasz Dabrowski"
- Axel Dörner

Grażyna Auguścik

"Please note that, as a vocalist and musician with an established international career, and years of experience in the music field - I find  Tomasz Dabrowski a fully professional, advanced, and a trumpet player of the highest caliber of the younger generation. His creativity in composing his own music, and innovative approach to arranging the music of others, has won the admiration of many experienced musicians, such as myself, and the acclaim of many critics.

I highly recommend Tomasz Dabrowski to the most demanding audience, and am looking forward to hearing him recording and performing around the world."
- Grazyna Auguscik

Nate Wooley

"As musicians change their attitudes from those of searchers for arcana to sifters of unlimited data, a few have found a way to maintain forward motion; gracefully picking the information that speaks to them and using it in essence to create a new and personal voice that is an extension, not a recreation of a tradition. Tomasz Dabrowski is one of these few."
- Nate Wooley

Peter Bruun

"Tomasz Dabrowski is an excellent and mature soloist trumpet player. Besides being a very evolved
and skilled musician he also has a very strong musical compass that leads him towards a rare and
original sound."

- Peter Bruun

Kresten Osgood

"Tomasz Dabrowski is a very committed composer, a deeply serious improvisor and a brilliant trumpet player. a bright star of the future."
- Kresten Osgood

Thomas Agergaard

"First off all Tomasz Dabrowski is a dedicated musician. Dabrowski can go from total meditations playing, where the music and sound growth out off nothing, and you see air towers and dreams came tru. Heis also a musican with ekstremly respect from other kind of music, and traditions, dabrowski can go into every kind of music, and lift it up!

The future is for this kind of musican like Dabrowski."
- Thomas Agergaard

Jacob Anderskov

"I have had the privilege to work with the highly talented Mr. Tomasz Dąbrowski on several occasions.
Tomasz is a trumpet player with a very high level of instrumental control, coupled with an astonishing level of sonic imagination. His trumpet solo work is abstract, poetic, wonderfully open in the structure,
inviting to the listener, and has the very important quality of speaking into the
times we live in. Whether Tomasz is playing solo, leading his own bands, working as a sideman
in other people’s music, he is always bringing a high level of quality and artistic integrity into the situation."

- Jacob Anderskov

Eyal Hareuveni - AllAboutJazz.com

"Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, now based in Denmark, is a rising and promising force in the European scene. He has a strong, instantly recognizable sound and expressive tone. His versatile musical language references the American fiery free jazz, Eastern European and Balkan folk music, the Scandinavian contemplative jazz and contemporary, avant-garde music."

Eyal Hareuveni, AllAboutJazz.com

 

Tom Greenland - New York City Jazz Record

"A subtle sonic colorist a la Nate Wooley or Cuong Vu, Dabrowski shades his rich, warm tone with squelches, halfvalvings and wah-wahs to achieve a bright but burred effect."

Tom Greenland, November 2012, New York City Jazz Record

 

Niels Overgård - Jazznyt.dk

“The Polish - currently settled in Denmark - trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, with the Israeli - now New York City resident guitarist - Gilad Hekselman, are two significant and great advantages of the album”

Review of the album"STRINGS ATTACHED" by Kenneth Knudsen Group

Niels Overgård, October 2012, Jazznyt

 

Jan Granlie

"I didn't know much about Tomasz Dabrowski before, it's about time though, because we are dealing with superb trumpeter, who is following the great Polish tradition of trumpeters."

Jan Granlie, October 2015

Adam Baruch

"Dabrowski, whose meteoric rise to fame is fully justified, seems to be an ideal partner aiding Oles to achieve his goals. His virtuosic attack, combined with the intrinsic lyricism, turn his trumpet into a seemingly unlimited tool able to express an enormously diverse set of emotions, from whisper to shout, anger to joy, despair to mellow melancholy."

Adam Baruch, April 2015

Adam Baruch - Meet Meat

"Personally the focus of my attention converges on the absolutely stunning performances by the trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, who is firmly emerging as one of the most promising trumpet players of the young Polish Jazz scene, which can be easily verified by listening to a series of recordings he made recently, including his excellent debut album released a year earlier."

Adam Baruch, September 2013, www.AdamBaruch.com

 

Marek Dusza - Rzeczpospolita

"The most oryginal"

after the concert in duo with Tyshawn Sorey on Katowice Jazzart Festival

Marek Dusza, May 2012, Rzeczpospolita

 

David Payne - Vanguard Jazz Society

“Tomasz Dabrowski from Warsaw, Poland! ...abled and very poised music expression, excellent arrangement of compositions, articulate avant-garde jazz trumpeter!”

David Payne, Vanguard Jazz Society

 

Marek Romański - JAZZ FORUM

"Tomasz Dąbrowski grows into one of the most interesting trumpet players in Europe"

Marek Romański, Jazz Forum

 

Paweł Brodowski - Jazz Forum

“From the first note, you can hear and feel how mature musician Tomasz Dabrowski is, with his beautiful, rich sound and great phrases [...]”

Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum

 

Thomas Bøjrnsten - Århus Stifstidende

"The 28-year-old Polish trumpeter Tomasz Dabrowski, on his debut album - TOM TRIO, teamed up with two experienced gentlemen from the Danish avantgarde-jazz scene.
And as the result, we have hugely engaging and challenging album, where the constellation with the trumpet in the foreground works perfectly."

Thomas Bøjrnsten, November 2012, Århus Stifstidende