Randy Brecker, Wlodek Pawlik Trio, Kalisz Philharmonic

Released August 13, 2013

Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album 2014

YouTube: https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=PMSXxrirCc4&list=OLAK5uy_mzOCIadv7EdwZJ28C3P54exerEcdDM3w4

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0XUVbfZBZEeQWEgv2z66lC?si=h3vdPZCDQV2O6EANov9QrA


Night in Calisia is the third collaboration between Polish jazz pianist and composer Włodzimierz Pawlik and American trumpeter Randy Brecker – their first album, Turtles, was released in 1995, while Nostalgic Journey – Tykocin Jazz Suite was released through Summit Records in 2009.

To celebrate the 1850th anniversary of the Polish town of Kalisz, the director of the Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra Adam Klocek asked Pawlik to write a composition for the occasion. Randy Brecker, Wlodek Pawlik Trio (with Pawlik on piano, Paweł Pańta on double bass and Cezary Konrad on drums) and the Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Klocek played a concert in Kalisz on June 19, 2010. The album was recorded in the studios of Polskie Radio on March 3-4, 2011.

Night in Calisia is a six-part jazz suite. The title of the first track, “Night in Calisia”, was inspired by the jazz standard by Dizzy Gillespie, “A Night in Tunisia” (1942). The third part of the suite, “Orienthology”, is a reference to “Ornithology” (1946) by jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker. “The Tykocin music is directly connected with the history of the Brecker’s family battle with Michael’s disease, (…) whereas the compositions for Kalisz are lacking any clear programme. I was rather playing with form, picturing completely abstract and surreal associations for example within the titles, referring to the wanderings of merchants on the ancient Amber Road, on which, according to Roman books, the settlement known as Calisia lay,” said Włodzimierz Pawlik in an interview with Jazz Forum magazine.

Track Listing:

1. Night in Calisia (Włodek Pawlik) 10:54

2. Amber Road (Włodek Pawlik) 9:44

3. Orienthology (Włodek Pawlik) 10:17

4. Follow the Stars (Włodek Pawlik) 11:17

5. Quarrel of the Roman Merchants (Włodek Pawlik) 10:59

6. Forgotten Song (Włodek Pawlik) 10:26


Randy Brecker: trumpet
Wlodek Pawlik: piano
Pawel Panta: bass
Cezary Konrad: drums
Kalisz Philharmonic Orchestra
Adam Klocek: conductor

Recorded at the Studio S-2 and S-3 of the Polish Radio, Warsaw on March 3-4, 15-16 and May 6, 2011

Producer: Pawlik Relations Agency

Mastering and mixing: Jacek Gawlowski

Engineer: Leszek Kaminsk, Jaroslaw Regulski

Photography: Tomasz Skórzewski


The waters of history significantly bathe Kalisz, Poland’s oldest city. Specifically, they source back when Kalisz was an important stop on the Amber Road to Rome. Historical streams of another type also run broadly through this exuberantly satisfying recording offered by the triumvirate of trumpeter, Randy Brecker, pianist/composer Wlodek Pawlik, and the hometown Kalisz Philharmonic. This is a sprawling, beautiful and inspiring performance which, through Pawlik’s effusive musical pageantry, Brecker’s outstanding playing, and the orchestra’s hometown fervor, appropriately helped the ancient town celebrate its 1850th anniversary. And, they did it magnificently. Stylistically, Pawlik’s writing deploys vibrant, elegantly refined melodies and up-tempo modal underscores that are richly orchestrated. His well-established classical roots seethe through each of the selections. The beautiful slower pieces, Satie-like, are lush and, like the others here, generously free Brecker to paint his own superb sound-pictures. The musical balancing act of soloist with orchestra is ideal throughout. Randy Brecker, whose stellar resume spans decades, genres, and recordings with other fine European orchestras, is supremely on his game here—better than ever—playing with a gorgeous, warm sound, ebullient spirit, and animated creativity. An abundance of jazz joy is evident in his longer ribbon-like lines and his hard bop style is unfettered yet well in musical synch with Pawlik’s invigorating and spirited background platforms. Under conductor Adam Klocek, the Kalisz Philharmonic gratefully buys in to the celebration, performing with significant zest, never allowing things to bog down or to sabotage the festive nature of the event. The rhythm section, with Pawlik’s keyboard leading the way, drives this caravan quite well. Perhaps the only possible criticism here—and it’s a nitpick and not even a musical one: the liner notes were apparently run through a translation device. That notwithstanding, there’s nothing lost in translation or fossilized in amber about this bravura performance. It’s a gem.

Nicholas F. Mondello (AllAboutJazz)