|VLATKO KUCAN QUARTET + TOMASZ STANKO:
LIVE AT PALO-PALO
A meeting of two generations of improvisors: a world-class band from Europe, well-grounded in the jazz tradition, but open to musical adventure - and a homage to bass virtuoso Jay Oliver, who died in 1993. Compositions by Oliver, Kucan, Thelonious Monk and others, recorded live in 1991, performed by Vlatko Kucan (saxophones, bass clarinet), Michael Danner (trombone, tuba), Jay Oliver (bass), Bill Elgart (drums), and featuring Poland's exceptional trumpetist Tomasz Stanko.
"Kucan manages to solve the Marsalis dilemma: This music is living jazz tradition. " (Markus Müller, JAZZ THING)
A few years have passed since these recordings were made. It is for two reasons that they are only being issued now, one quite mundane, the other truly tragic.
The first reason was that, at that time, an established label had promised to release the music, with the result, that, after being put off for more than a year, I fin-ally learned that the A&R manager was no longer with the company and that no-one remembered about the tapes.
The second reason was the sudden death of Jay Oliver, a loss which affected me deeply, since Jay was not only "my bass man", but also a close friend and an important musical partner. After Jay's death, it was impossible for me to continue with this band, and these recordings became something like a keepsake. I am glad that this music has now finally found its destination.A few remarks about the music:
With this band, I wanted to continue the tradition of contemporary jazz, a tradition which was (and is) about to be lost. I am not referring to a particular style, but to a specific attitude with respect to the diverse traditions of african-american and european jazz and adjoining traditions such as those of improvised music or new music. The Seventies were, in my view, a very productive period for the reordering, development and expansion of musical material within and in between the various genres of improvised music. Many of the developments of this period have been obscured by the reactionary spirit of the Eighties and Nineties. The conservatism of the neo-bop of the Eighties and the sell-out of the jazz tradition associated with it, but also the postmodern, conceptual approach of the Nineties, frequently not more than a pose, have not exactly improved the situation of creative music and have, furthermore, reinforced the tendencies of particularisation and fragmentation within the jazz scene.
I believe that for a further development of the genres of improvised music - and this term, in my view, definitely includes the tradition of jazz -, it is imperative to search the rich legacy of previous decades once again and to re-assess the material found therein. As far as these recordings are concerned, it is the energy and the spirit of jazz which are especially apparent to my ears. These qualities should be preserved - and in this respect you may gladly call me a conservative.
The line-up of this band was particularly fortunate. My previous encounters with Billy Elgart and Jay Oliver had been "love at the first sound". With these two "old masters", my longtime duo-partner Michael Danner and myself, the quartet was also a meeting of two generations, which made for a special chemistry. I was very happy to be able to invite Tomasz Stan´ko as a guest for these recordings. Stan´ko is one of the most important musicians of european jazz and one of the very few style-setting trumpet players in contemporary jazz. He also happens to be one of my favourite musicians - a soulful voice.
I would like to dedicate this CD to Jay Oliver
Vlatko Kucan (Hamburg, October 1998)
Recorded by Georg Albrecht live at Palo-Palo, Hannover, Germany on March 19, 1991 Mix and CD-Master by Vlatko Kucan, August 1998 .