Tomek Chołoniewski, Ray Dickaty and Michał Dymny @Święta Krowa, KRK

February 15th, 2012  |  Published in fun, inspiration, reviews, sound

Ray Dickaty, Tomek Chołoniewski and Michał Dynmy @Swieta Krowa KRK

Tomek Chołoniewski is one of the top players in the Kraków improv music scene. I have seen him play in a number of contexts and there’s a balancing act he is really good at. On one hand. he always blends in with what is going on musically on the stage; on the other hand he always maintains his own voice. He’s not quite a Jordan Glenn, but then who is besides Jordan Glenn?

This performance was by far the most interesting improv performance I have seen in Kraków. One of the reasons I haven’t really reviewed some of the performances is because I really don’t have anything new to say. This is because I haven’t seen anything new happening; much of the improvisation I have seen has been run of the mill, this-is-what-improv should sound like and I haven’t been inspired.

There was a great energy in the air at the Święta Krowa this February night. I felt incredibly activated and the audience couldn’t get enough of this trio. It was funny because it seemed like after the third or fourth number Tomek thought it was over, and got up and then they played three more pieces due to crowd enthusiasm.

One of Tomek’s other collaborators told me that he can’t keep a groove and that’s why I haven’t seen him do it. Well he was certainly doing it this night, and yes it fell apart a few times, but when it worked it lay a sold foundation for the saxophone and guitar. At times the collective beat was a bit chaotic but definitely in a good way like the odd beats of The Shags or something.

I asked them if they had rehearsed because they sounded like a band, abstract at times, but seemingly polished and in tonal unison at other times. I found out there are no rehearsals but they have performed together four times.

Ray Dickaty is a fantastic horn player. His creativity and repetition together formed the kind of shapes I like improv to take. No constant gratuitous note playing and random key clicking from this guy. He composed on the go and was on tonight. I was also impressed with the guitar player Michał Dymny. I’ve seen him perform in a totally different context with an ensemble at Audio Art and couldn’t really get a sense since the band was huge, but he really shone at the Swieta Krowa.

All three players brought something to the table and with welcome variety. Tomek started off the set with a groove, and the other two joined in as if it were a rehearsed song somewhere between rock and jazz. Between the times they were jamming, there were beautifully composed staccato parts. Dymny prepared his guitar with a cymbal that he struck with a metallic wand (i think) and used this for much of the set. I’ve seen many people do this including Fred Frith, and Dymny certainly had a knack. In between his staccato notes Ray composed repetitive short phrasings that connected the piece. Tomek at this point played what I call his “kitchen” – pots and pans and it turned into a non-western delight. The three really seemed to understand the art of creating a distinct sound and piece within the bigger picture of improv. They sounded like a third entity that wasn’t any one of them. Dymny was also very good at using his volume pedal.

There were a few “cloud” moments where they could have been any three improv players, but because it was sprinkled in between the seemingly composed staccato parts, and beat based jams, it led to a very complete set. I feel like these guys could really develop some material that would be solid as a recording (if they haven’t already).

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