Return of The New Thing Triumph in Krakow

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In may 2007, Krakow’s Alchemia hosted a night of spontaneous improvisations by the Paris-based free- jazz unit, Return of The New Thing. The unique atmosphere of the club, which is located in Krakow’s old Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, has been attracting the cream of the free jazz scene over the last few years. For enthusiasts of adventurous music it is a kind of Mecca, where they can rub shoulders with their idols in an intimate, informal setting.

This was the first visit by the Return of The New Thing unit to Poland, but many of the luminaries who appear at Alchemia end up returning again and again. Chicagoan Ken Vandermark almost views the club as a second home and will be returning in the autumn for a whole week of concerts. Only a couple of weeks before this concert, there was a challenging but passionate performance at the same venue by a trio led by New York trumpeter, Herb Robertson, which featured the mercurial Evan Parker playing only his second concert in Krakow and Spanish pianist, Agusti Fernandez.

Against such exalted company, Return of The New Thing had a great deal to live up to, but they certainly impressed during a set that was full of drama and humor. I first heard about the group last year when Marek Winiarski, record producer and owner of Krakow-based Not Two Records, described them to me as one of the most exciting groups on the European circuit. Winiarski books (and often records) the majority of the jazz groups that appear at Alchemia. Despite his obvious passion for free jazz, his pre-concert announcements often tend to be brief and to the point. On Saturday, however, he provided a lot of background information about the band.

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Source: allaboutjazz.com