Folk Five

released February 27, 2015

Irek Wojtczak – sopran & tenor saxophones, bass clarinet
Michael Stevens – piano
Herb Robertson – trumpet
Joe Fonda – double bass
Harvey Sorgen – drums, percussion


This album by Irek Wojtczak and The Fonda/Stevens Group from the United States seems to be a special case in the Polish music industry. Particular recordings vary in their musical character and expression – ranging from the lyrical impressions weaving through “Tipsy polka dance”, the melancholy of the “For The Wedding” kujon dance or the temperate ballad “It Was Four Miles out of Warsaw” to the animated, lively melodies of the kowal dance, Oberek Dance from Łęczyca and the polka “When I Go to the Field”. What sets this album apart from others is the careful and conscious choice of themes to develop, due to which traditional Polish music blends into its new arrangements truly well. The main source of traditional repertoire Irek Wojtczak uses for his jazz adaptations is the music of Tadeusz Kubiak, an outstanding violinist from the Łęczyca region in central Poland, whose repertoire has inspired not only the musicians who adopt the folk tradition directly and faithfully, but also jazz musicians, some from across the Atlantic, whose arrangements generate new value, integrating the hitherto unknown dimensions of musical worlds. Significantly, the bandleader Irek Wojtczak was born in Ozorków on the River Bzura in the Łęczyca region; the album marks his return to the source. The CD we are presenting to you contains “music for listening” and provokes reflection on the characteristics that are common to both genres. Due to a number of parallels between jazz and ethnic music the practice of fusing both genres seems natural and sensible. Jazz and folk music share common roots in the sense that they were originally created by musicians who were not able to read musical notes and played by ear.

(Ewa Sławińska-Dahlig)

All tunes are folk songs arranged by Irek Wojtczak

Recorded July 22-23, 2014 at the Quality Studio in Warsaw (Poland)

Recording, mix & master: Michał Kupicz
Design: For Tune®
Cover photo: Michał Jabłoński, collage by Mateusz Łosiński
Other photos: Ewa Sławińska-Dahlig, Krzysztof Machowina
Translations: Małgorzata Pawlikowska