Vitold Rek - an incredible bassist with a magic bow

With his solo programme Vitold Rek carries us off into the world of age-old but newly-interpreted Polish hymns and folk songs. He elicits the origins of the works & his personal concept of jazz in synthesis with his musical tradition of slavic elegy and fervour. He also plays his own compositions and is his own accompanist with lyrical vocals in Polish. The bassfiddle appears as an autonomous, lyrical instrument with a sonority which easily bears comparison with the strength of expression of the Gamba or Viola. One can feel that he has a deep respect and love for his instrument. Simultaneously, he is a protagonist of a direction in jazz, which combined with personal provenance, experiments with the connections to cultural identity and then extends them. This fundamental idea is gaining in importance. The days of brittle improvisation, which was never his style, for improvisation's sake seem to be gone. Today's avant-garde is endeavouring to re-create individual musical worlds of experience.
(Photo above right by Petra Bruder)

From CD reviews:

"In Boychik he conjures up Jewish components of Polish traditions with impressive effect."
"Rek admirably captures the drone and off-beat accents of his national musical heritage in
Soldier I (based on the 16th century soldier's song Idzie Zolnierz), whereas the tranquil Soldier II, with its intricate harmonics and left-hand tremolo effects, conjures up a quasi-oriental atmosphere."
"By contrast, jazz influences are impressively to the fore in
Hey You, Play It Slow, Avenue 9 and Gabissimo, while Beam, Tercjan and Berbasso I are effective original works."
(Robin Stowell, Double Bassist, classical reviews, Winter 1999 issue, Great Britain)

"A CD of original music and original arrangements for solo bass and voice. The works include Polish folk music, short jazz essays, and character pieces. They are charming, witty, moody, and have an organic, home grown quality. Rek pays homage to the Jewish history of Middle Europe, as well as Polish history."
"The church setting, and its many seconds of decay, in which this project was recorded truly brings out the atmosphere of the hymns."
"A very eclectic feast of music ..."
(Tom Knific, Bass World, ISB, Fall 1999 issue, USA)

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