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MODERN PENTATHLON

Laboratorium

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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4 stars Laboratorium is a polish jazz band formed in 1970 in Krakow. Modern Pentathlon is their official debut LP, released in 1976 by Polskie Nagrania in the Polish Jazz series as Vol. 49.

This album is quite an original experience because the band uses an instrument rarely used by jazz-rock bands. This instrument is... voice. I said instrument because Marek Strzyczkowski doesn't sing in a traditional way, but he rather improvises with his voice (which may be compared to Urszula Dudziak's vocalisations). I must say that sometimes it sounds comical.

Apart from vocal experiments, album belongs to the jazz rock genre (with some funky influences). The album's opening track is a long, 20-minutes Pięciobój Nowoczesny which consists of five distinctive parts. This track is the most free on the album, it contains many improvisations and solo parts. The other four, shorter tracks are more regular and melodic. There are some similarities to bands like Weather Report, Return To Forever, or Mahavishnu Orchestra but as I said, this album is quite an original experience. Experiments and originality are sort of written in the band's name.

Overall, Modern Pentathlon is an interesting, original jazz-rock album. 4 stars.

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Send comments to Pablo_P (BETA) | Report this review (#197504)
Posted Tuesday, January 06, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of Polish jazz fusion cornerstone, this album was released in 1976 only. Laboratorium was formed in Krakow, intellectual capital of Poland, in 1970, and even had some recordings, made in 1972 (they were released as fan-club release, and re-released later on CD). If neibourhood Czechoslovakia dominated on Eastern European jazz-rock market in early 70-s, Poland with its excellent jazz traditions seriously came on this market a bit later.

Modern Pentathlon is really modern fusion (in sense of mid 70-s) album, keyboards -led and heavily influenced by Chick Corea/RTF. Very relaxed, even funky in moments, but with European traditions (and even Eastern European melodic influences) this album's music is excellent example of high quality Polish fusion of that time. If such musicians, as Michal Urbaniak, who lived and played for years in W.Europe and USA, bring Western fusion traditions on Polish land, Laboratorium grew up on domestic land, and their sound is more "Polish".

Most interesting on this album is its opener - twenty-minutes long composition "Pięciobój nowoczesny". Being of complex structure and some rhythm changes, it is excellent example of progressive jazz fusion. Others songs are good as well, but doesn't add much to album's music.

Good jazz fusion album, one of the most representative from Polish fusion of that time.

My rating is 3,5, rounded to 4.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#292089)
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
apps79
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Neo Prog Team
3 stars Janusz Grzywacz was the mastermind behind Polish Jazz-Rockers Laboratorium, a band from Krakow formed in 1970 with an original line-up of Mieczyslaw Gorka on drums, Marek Stryszowski on vocals/sax/clarinet, Waclaw Lozinski on flutes and Edmund Maciwoda on bass.Their name appeared for the first time on the 1973 jazz album ''"Klub Plytowy" with two tracks.The following years the band received awards and achieved several important collaborations despite the line-up changes.In 1976 Grzywacz, Gorka and Srryzowski were joined by brothers Krzysztof and Pawel Scieranski on bass and guitars respectively and recorded their debut ''Modern pentathlon'' for Polskie Nagrania Muza, of course at the studios of Polskie Nagrania in Warsaw.

The album is dominated by the 20-min. title track, a really innovative composition somewhat split between improvisation and tightly structured musicianship with the band presenting a unique and attractive sound, where Psychedelic Rock meets Fusion meets Space Jazz and containing all the right elements of a good jazz-oriented composition: Obscure trippy vocals, fast piano paces, hypnotic saxes, spacey atmospheres, district guitars and fiery interplays.This is actually the main reason to buy the album.The second side of the LP is definitely weaker, containg well-performed material but being close to commercial Jazz/Fusion music.Lots of funky vibes on the keyboard, electric piano and bass parts, even some Soul-influenced saxes are present, the guitar work is more prominant but always in a safely-presented style.Some nice and proffesional interplays though are more than decent and holds the listener's interest till the very end.

The 20-min. sidelong opus alone belongs among the finest Jazz/Fusion compositions you can listen to, however the rather accesible approach of the flipside prevents ''Modern pentathlon'' of being a trully essential release.Still it comes recommended for fans of experimental and intricate Jazz-Rock.

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#668216)
Posted Monday, March 19, 2012 | Review Permalink

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