I will not exaggerate to say that I was worried sick when I was thinking about this concert. My affection for them is still strong (over the last few days before the show I was literally breathing thoughts about it), but after the band’s last visit in Poland, I couldn’t help thinking that their performance somehow lacked its – once present – freshness and strength. That is why what happened on last Sunday is really meaningful – a new band gave a performance.
Gerry Jablonski Band / 05.02.2017 / Blue Note, Poznań
And the very first song (Heavy Water) fully showed it – it was all about the mood. With the ascetic introduction – based only on vocals, simple bass figures and stomping bass drum – they saturated the air with suspense. The music was moving forward, engaging and heralding intensities to come, which – thanks to vocal harmonies – became more malleable.
Such a beginning gave the next song a completely different resonance, which helped the band to build the sinusoidal concert dramaturgy. Though while this was happening, I had some doubts – in the middle of the show they played Anybody, Been Caught Cheating and Angel of Love, which had such a calming effect that the proceeding accelerations were more like a new beginning than the continuation of a story previously told.
When it comes to the performance, a vibrant, natural… monolith was dominating, full of interactions, gusto and waywardness. Although the massive and air-tight rhythm section, ecstatically vibrating guitar and ruthless, barbaric harp (along with each artist’s personality and charisma) drew attention in their own right, it was the band’s unity that was most striking. It translated into some kind of inner gravity of this music, which was most palpable when one’s eyes were closed – what was left on the surface was the matter which was very consistent, independent and striking, supported with bold and selective sound.
The vibe emanating from the band seemed to be exemplary: smiles, mutual acknowledgements expressed in quick glances full of fire, some uninhibited humour, Gerry mentioning their first visit in Blue Note, and saying that Dave might just be pleased to see how they were doing…
It was a special and unique evening, and as a handful of new songs turned out to be most memorable, I’m more than curious what will happen next.
Photo by: Maks Krybus