Keyboardist Józef Skrzek is a well-known musician from Poland. He made many albums with SBB, one of the oldest or maybe the oldest progressive/jazz/blues rock band from Poland. In general, these albums are highly appreciated by people who are fond of progressive rock music. However, for those people Józef Skrzek’s solo efforts often are a bridge too far. Most people label his music as too complex, too experimental and sometimes with too much jazz and blues influences. That may be true, but sometimes Skrzek creates a substantial album for prog rockers.
Without doubt, Jozéf Skrzek is a master on the MiniMoog and he’s able to express a lot of emotion on this instrument. Koncert Zywiolów, a live album that he recently made with East Wind, is a good example. Unfortunately, his MiniMoog appears to be not very reliable. You can hear several times, that the instrument is getting out of tune while he’s playing it. This happens on the first track Thousands Of Planets (Air) during a marvelous MiniMoog solo. Despite all that, this piece with a wonderful climax is the highlight on this album as far as I’m concerned. The atmosphere on the entire track was probably the reason to release it on a live album. While listening to the album I gradually got the feeling that I experienced a jam session and a kind of demonstration for the MiniMoog. Of course, with two keyboardists in the band the music gets rather keyboard-oriented. However, the two drummers also get the chance of doing something together without the rest of the band. At the beginning of The Fire, we can even enjoy a drum solo. Because Jozéf Skrzek collaborated with male and female singers, this album doesn’t sound too experimental all together.
I can imagine why this kind of music might not be enjoyable for prog heads. Maybe the music is suitable for people who like their prog rock with many jazz and blues influences, but it also helps if you are a big fan of the MiniMoog to appreciate this album. I’m one of them since Keith Emerson (ELP) played a MiniMoog solo on their hit single Lucky Man.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013