The Loud Jazz Band, founded and led by guitarist and composer Miroslaw "Carlos" Kaczmarczyk, today uses Oslo, Norway as their home base. This version of the ensemble was founded in 1999 when Kaczmarczyk moved to Norway following success in native Poland opening for musicians like Mike Stern. The ensemble, which draws heavily on musicians originally from Poland as well as those of Norway, plays with a progressive jazz-rock sound originally associated with music from the 1970s; think Weather Report but more on the melodic side.
Rarely does an ensemble, in today’s age, devoted to performing original progressive jazz-rock move a listener. So many ensembles just look back, filling their sets with mostly covers. It’s virtually impossible to move music forward with such backward thinking. The Loud Jazz Band, however, is far from a tired and staid ensemble. Kaczmarczyk composes music that is fresh, exciting, on the cutting edge and with a great deal of variety. This CD is full of nothing but his own wonderful original music.
With a large ensemble of nine members who rotate around during the seven tunes on this disc, the group tackles traditional jazz-rock on "Michael," updated and powerful smooth jazz on "Bonus Track," a ballad on "Back Home," and introspective jazz on "Passing." Absolutely every composition is a winner, and the group brings Kaczmarczyk’s music and concepts to life with a sense of purpose and drive lacking in so much of today’s jazz.
As a performer Kaczmarczyk plays both the acoustic and electric guitar with panache, enthusiasm and power. His lines dart, jump and pop out of his axe. His technique is exquisite and allows him to play melodic figures that are the utmost of hipness yet are grounded in solid harmonic principles.
The rest of his ensemble is equally talented. Saxophonist Wojciech Staroniewicz, who has been playing professionally since 1995, brings a sound that is haunting, full bodied and reminiscent of The Crusaders’ Wilton Felder. Staroniewicz digd deep into the horn and comes up with some of the most lovely and earthiest tenor playing the world has ever heard. He plays with fire on "Park Lane." It’s a shame he doesn’t get more solo time on the disc.Trombonist Erik Johannessen mixes extended and extra-musicial trombone techniques with straight-ahead swing during his lovely ride on "X.Y.Z." Drummer Ivan Makedonov is terminally hot, and in conjunction with Maciej Ostromecki’s percussion work, the bedrock of this group couldn’t be any stronger. For those who have been searching the United States in vain for modern practitioners of truly great progressive jazz-rock, the answer lies overseas; pick this disc up and you won’t be disappointed.