Vitold Rek - an incredible bassist with a magic bow

feat. Jarosław Bester & Ramesh Shotham

Vitold Rek & EastWestWind:
Vitold Rek – double bass, mandolin, mandola, vocal
Jarosław Bester – accordion
Ramesh Shotham – percussion: tavil, mridangam, kanjira, morsing, zarbang, konakol, cymbals, ghatam, vocal

Released CD "Home" on Taso Music (TMP 515), April 2007

Taken from the liner notes for "Home" by Elliott Simon, All About Jazz - New York:

"Together, these three musicians both rediscover previous relationships and reveal unexplored synergies among a wide scope of ethnically diverse music.

It has been almost a decade since bassist Vitold Rek's EastWestWind first combined jazz, classical and world folk music into a tangible new sound. On "Home", Vitold Rek also reveals his mastery of the mandolin, featuring it side by side with his incredible bass playing. In the process, he is able to call up Polish, Greek, Scottish and Jewish coloration to facilitate a broad group sound.

Among the many world music idioms that have been interwoven into Rek's music is klezmer, the Jewish folk music of Eastern Europe, whose delicate modes and forms have seen a recent resurgence in their combination with modern jazz. For EastWestWind's second member, Rek has called upon someone who himself is no stranger to groundbreaking projects, Polish accordionist Jaroslaw Bester. As founder of the internationally acclaimed Cracow Klezmer Band, Bester has been at the forefront of the current renaissance in Eastern European world music. A player whose adventurous energetic spirit is combined with a peerless mastery of chordal and melodic shadings, Bester is the perfect soulmate to impart Rek's musical ideas.

Exponentially extending the reach of this remarkable trio is percussionist Ramesh Shotham who brings his large array of traditional Indian instruments. Equally comfortable in the three worlds of jazz, rock and classical South Indian music, he can both follow Rek's lead and propel these tunes in interesting new rhythmical and melodic directions. Shotham uses the pitch bending capabilities of the double headed thavil, the mridangam's bass and treble membranes, the tamborine like kanjira and mouth percussion or konakol to produce blindingly complex rhythms."

From the press about "Home"

Stereoplay 5/07, Germany:
"Phenomenal! Above all, the melange of jazz and Klezmer, of Polish folk music and Celtic influences just sounds outrageously good."
(Michael Sohn)

All About Jazz, New York, 10/07
"Vitold Rek and EastWestWind have created music that is riveting in its use of texture, dynamics and sonority for some great listening.
... On "Home" Vitold Rek continues to use jazz harmonies in his music but he gives them greater depth with klezmer and folk music ... He explores folk music on eight of the tracks basing his compositions on idioms from Greece, Scotland and Poland. There are two klezmer tunes one of which, "Di Saposkelekh" is traditional, a composition by Shotham titled "Buzz Off" and one by Bester called, quite simply, "Emotions". That's an eclectic mix and if interest is piqued, the CD certainly satisfies it in spades ...
... Rek combines two Scottish folk tunes to come up with "Scottish Scott". The resonance is deep as Rek bows his bass in tandem with Bester's accordion. Rek adds another beckoning when he plays the mandolin and lights up the reel, but it is his arco and the sway and swerve of his lines that give the tune its soul. The universal language of music is exemplified as Shotham plays the ghatam, his Indian rhythmic cycle fitting compactly into the groove of the arrangement.
"Zbigi" is a tribute to the great violin player Zbigniew Seifert. The composition has a deep, vibrant melody that rises form Rek's bow, heartfelt and churning ... Bester takes the accordion across the spectrum, his upper register evoking a sense of loss. It's a poignant tune, made all the more powerful by the trio.
"Mr. La" is a happy lark. Rek bows with abandon letting the melody stand up and sing, a skein that Bester takes up with delight. Add Shotham's heady percussive beat and this one says 'get up and dance!' "

(Jerry D'Souza)

Audio 5/07, Germany:
"Sound tip: furious folk-mix, perfect sound.
This Polish–Indian trio feeds the brain and imbues the emotions. The way in which Vitold Rek, double bassist par excellence and mandolin ace, accordion magic- man Jaroslaw Bester and percussionist Ramesh Shotham cross the traditional and modern is amazing. Folk music from Scotland to Greece, Klezmer and Tango profit from great virtuosity, spirited rhythm and a tightly contoured, dynamic recording with an enormously clean sound at the deeper range of tones. The second audiophile CD of the month!"

(Claus Böhm)

Double Bassist no. 41 Summer 2007, England:
"This is an intelligent jazz-meets-folk album from Polish bassist Vitold Rek. Rek's original tunes are imaginatively arranged and played so as to draw-out the melancholy from the ancient, folkish modes that fascinate him. Having first emerged as bassist for trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, Rek has since recorded with saxophonists Charlie Mariano and John Tchicai, and Home is his eighth recording for the Taso label. His trio includes accordionist Jaroslaw Bester, founder of the formidable Cracow Klezmer Band, and the colourful south Indian percussion of Ramesh Shotham. Via judicious overdubbing, Rek himself adds mandolin, resulting in a fresh and vivid group sound ... The bass leads the group throughout but this is a well-balanced trio, that makes the most of each member's abilities."
(Clive Bell)

Stereo 5/07, Germany:
"... a music, which subtly and profoundly, masterfully and unobtrusively disperses its equanimous charm and which has found a completely natural way of exchange between different cultures."
(Stephan Richter)

Audio Video 4/07, Poland:
"The German label Taso Music has, in this category of music, one of the most original world jazz catalogues which connects jazz with the deep and rich inspiration from global ethnic music. The Polish double bassist Vitold Rek deserves great credit for pioneering this innovative approach to the 'jazz of the future' ...
The greater part of the material on the CD was written by the leader and is a synthesis between jazz, classical and folk music (Polish, Jewish, Scottish and Indian). The gigantic sound of the double bass is filled to the brim with Bester's songful playing and with Shotham's oriental rhythm."

(Oskar Kowalczyk)

Journal Frankfurt 5/07, Germany:
"After having musically honoured his Polish homeland, the man with the magic bow now continues his journey eastwards with the Cracow Klezmer accordionist Jaroslaw Bester and the Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotham, with wonderfully lyrical, multicultural music which encompasses all the emotions and which with virtuosity both sensitively and expressively expresses the most disparate of moods."
(Detlef Kinsler)

Jazzthing 5/07, Germany:
"Thanks to Shotham's ingredients, the trio's music goes far beyond the limits of progressive Klezmer bands."
(Uli Lemke)

Jazzthetik 5/07, Germany:
"Two Scottish melodies, which are dipped in Italian colours by Rek's mandolin, encounter an Eastern European accordion sound, Indian percussion and an extremely nimbly bowed bass so compellingly that when listening, the origins of the individual musical components become in the shortest time irrelevant and unfold into something new.
After the vigorous 'Mr. La' and after the elegic 'Tell Me My Boy' we do indeed, in the form of the frolicking, upbeat final track 'Let's Go Home' have the explanation as to where the 'Home' of the CD title lies. 'Hey lads, that's enough music. Let's go home', are the nonchalant closing words. 'Home' does not need to be inflated to 'Heimat'. It can also simply lie in the Taunus, where Vitold Rek lives today."

(Guido Diesing)

Jazz Forum, 4-5/07, Poland:
" 'Home' is not jazz inspired by folk music, rather a sublime, consummate, highly refined instrumental folk concert. With regard to instrumental artistry, richness and quality of sound, the high level of the improvisation, the melodic and harmonic beauty, and the ability of the musicians to listen to and connect with one another, 'Home' is indeed impressive. This album will be the pearl in everyone's collection."
(Robert Buczek)

* (Elliott Simon, All About Jazz, New York)