The half-Polish, half-Norwegian quartet led by fiery alto saxophonist Maciej Obara is gaining ground as one of the most exciting groups on the contemporary jazz scene.
Both the band and its ECM debut Unloved were awarded the Fryderyk Prize in Poland in 2018, and early in 2019 the Obara Quartet also took first place at the BMW Jazz Awards in Munich. Now comes the quartet’s second ECM album Three Crowns (named for the Trzy Korony mountains in Southern Poland). Its programme comprises six new pieces by Maciej and two free arrangements of
compositions by Henryk Gorecki (1933-2010), Three Pieces In Old Style (Part One) and Little Requiem for a Polish Girl.
This is the first occasion on which the Gorecki family – whom Maciej came to know while living in Katowice, the composer’s hometown – has encouraged interpretations of the music by improvisers. To these pieces Maciej Obara and bandmates Dominik Wania, Ole Morten Vågan and Gard Nilssen bring the intensity and focus that distinguishes their work in the vanguard of
contemporary jazz. Theirs is a special quartet with a layered and detailed sound, an alliance of highly individual players dedicated to the group work and able to find space for self-expression inside it.
Personnel: Maciej Obara (alto saxophone), Dominik Wania (piano), Ole Morten Vågan (double bass), Gard Nilssen (drums)
Three Pieces in Old Style (Pt. 1) / Blue Skies For Andy / Smoggy People / Little requiem for a Polish Girl “Tranquillo” / Vang Church / Three Crowns / Glow / Mr.S