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JÓZEF SKRZEK

Eclectic Prog • Poland


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Józef Skrzek biography
JÓZEF SKRZEK is an immense personality in the Polish scene and history of modern music and rock, plus can be regarded as a fine musician and an elite artist within the European Rock scene itself. If fans of the tremendous jazz-rock-prog band SBB are numerous and (wildly) from all around the world, the solo reply of this band's lead artist can also attract interest, whilst being regarded as good, rather different and not the same at all times. Up from the basic roots of playing, performing and personalizing music, with an artistic twist all the way, SKRZEK specialized in piano music, with studies that started in high-school and ended, abruptly, at the Music Academy. It was after he finally returned to the professional scene that the major orientation landed on the heights of rock, jazz, electronic sound and art music (these four also being, more or less, the imperative styles that circled, cycled and cessed through his career).

Playing bass and a specialty of piano, keyboards and moogs, SKRZEK formed a debut band called BREAKOUT, considered big in the heat of the Polish Rock's 1970 moment. Fundamentally followed, nevertheless, SBB, a band closer to defining than just starting the progressive rock refined movement in Poland, with a close-up of many excellent records and much art, by the spirit and the choice of jazz, rock or pure prog (or anything in between). Though his fellow colleagues are themselves personalities and impregnable players, SKRZEK relentlessly gets the credit for SBB, whether his impulse was beyond the meaning of the music or whether his sensibility shined thoroughly. SKRZEK manages, collaborates and concerts to this day with SBB, despite that, after the busy 70s, he intermingled between doing a lot of different and individualistic projects (with music yet also different and mark-breaking) and playing in the colossal band, up different performances or recordings.

Józef SKRZEK's solo debut took place in 1979, after which, during already two decades and a half, he played, composed and released with a steady rhythm and fidelity, while all sort of various projects flew nearby - his music, nevertheless, evolved differently and (why not) eclectically. The debut album itself was a bit shaky for the tastes of prog rock and SBB-descending art, but immediately after followed "Ojciec chrznestny Domnika", one of the best albums he ever made (if not probably the best), also one of the progressive gems, since it combines symphonic traits w...
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JÓZEF SKRZEK discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JÓZEF SKRZEK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 5 ratings
Pamiętnik Karoliny
1979
4.11 | 19 ratings
Ojciec chrzestny Domnika
1980
3.57 | 7 ratings
Józefina
1981
2.56 | 7 ratings
Wojna Światów - następne stulecie
1982
3.50 | 2 ratings
Ambitus Extended (with Tomasz Szukalski)
1983
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wracam
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Koledy
1997
4.00 | 2 ratings
Pokoj Saren Piano (with Lech Majewski)
1998
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dzwonią dzwoneczki, muzyka gra a kolęda nadal trwa...
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Słone perły (with Alina Skrzek)
2001
3.00 | 4 ratings
U stóp krzyża...
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Czas Dojrzewania
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Metropolis
2010

JÓZEF SKRZEK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Podróż w krainę wyobraźni
1985
4.00 | 2 ratings
Live
1989
3.33 | 3 ratings
Koncert Świętokrzyski / The Holy Cross Concert
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
akustycznie / akusticky
2003
4.08 | 3 ratings
Wojna Światów - Live
2004
3.83 | 3 ratings
La Tempete
2007
4.00 | 3 ratings
East Wind - Tryptyk Petersburski
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Via Vitae
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ricochet Gathering - Trilogy (with Paul Lawler and Steve Schroyder)
2008
3.75 | 3 ratings
Dwa Braty (with Jan Skrzek)
2008
4.00 | 2 ratings
East Wind - Koncert Żywiołów
2009
4.00 | 2 ratings
Schody Do Nieba 2008 (with Daniel Bloom, Paul Lawler, Misha Ogorodov and Steve Schroyder)
2009

JÓZEF SKRZEK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Czas II (with Michał Banasik)
2009

JÓZEF SKRZEK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Viator 1973-2007
2007

JÓZEF SKRZEK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JÓZEF SKRZEK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wojna Światów - następne stulecie by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.56 | 7 ratings

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Wojna Światów - następne stulecie
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by BORA

2 stars Deeply disappointing!

Skrzek's works with his band SBB had a massive influence on the Prog scene in Eastern Europe and beyond. A prolific composer and performer, some of his rather indulgent pieces didn't really fit the band's repertoire for a largely improvising trio. This led to numerous side projects by Skrzek where he had complete artistic freedom to his ultimate liking. Some of those albums are more memorable than others.

I can only guess that at this stage his artistic talents may have been at crossroads, suffering from creative crisis as the album lacks any sense of clear direction and cohesion. The result is a confusing mix of mismatching material, some of which are outright horrible.

The album begins with the sound of marching drums that just keep going on for far too long. By the time a groovy riff emerges, this short tune is already over without getting anywhere in the first place. This groove is reminiscent of the start of SBB's "Nowy Horizont" and is repeated again as a separate tune. I fail to see the point in doing a weaker rendition of this SBB tune - especially twice. I wouldn't call them "bad", more like harmless and unnecessary and there is much worse yet to come.

A nod, or two towards Jazz-Fusion are also featured where Skrzek provides a soft background on keyboards to support some meandering soprano sax. These compositions I would regard as boring, filler material on any Jazz album and fail to lift the works to any extent.

To add to the confusion, some fast paced and very forgettable Rock pieces with horrible vocals are also thrown into this mix, representing another extreme approach from a different angle. I can't really make out if the words are in English or in a different language, but it's largely irrelevant as I am not at all tempted to hear them again.

Finally at track 7 (that's also the title track of the album) we get to some substance expected of Skrzek, alas it's barely 2 mins long.

"Wonderful Sky-ride" stands out as a really pleasing Prog tune - of which I would have loved to hear more. The only piece considered as excellent. Sadly, one, or maybe two tracks with a combined duration of just over 8 mins are not sufficient to lift this album of 11 pieces. Quite a let-down as a whole.

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 Dwa Braty (with Jan Skrzek) by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Live, 2008
3.75 | 3 ratings

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Dwa Braty (with Jan Skrzek)
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by Pablo_P

4 stars Dwa Braty (Two Brothers) is an album recorded live in "Andaluzja" Cultural Centre in Piekary Śląskie on Valentine's Day in 2008. It features Józef Skrzek and his brother Jan "Kyks" Skrzek, a bluesman well known in Poland. This album consists of songs from both brothers' repertoires as well as few improvised tracks.

The opening, improvised track says much about this album's eclectic quality - it starts with piano, followed by improvised vocals by Józef and evolves into a cosmic moog solo.

The second, blues track, "Swing Jasia" features vocals and piano by Jan and blues harp by Józef. Jan's harmonica adds a bluesy feeling to SBB's classic track "W kołysce Dłoni Twych (Ojcu)", a song Józef wrote to his father. There's Jan's blues "O mój Śląsku" where Józef accompanies on harmonica but then switches to moog playing an impressive solo. That's the electronic blues moment. Intriguing.

Jan's blues "To był Chłop" seemlessly turns into Józef's "Born To Die" and are followed by an instrumental improvisation "Kamień" with church organ-like sounding keyboards, piano and Józef's beautiful moog solo. Go-go is a blues instrumental improvisation mostly for two pianos (for a while, one piano is replaced by harmonica). "Sztajger" is Jan's blues, there with harmonica, piano and again, that church organ sounding keyboards. SBB's "Freedom with Us" is accompanied by piano and Jan's harmonica but then again Józef's moog appears.

There's a nice atmosphere on this album but you have to know Polish language to fully appreciate it. This album may be recommended to a fan of Józef Skrzek, Jan "Kyks" Skrzek or any Polish blues fan. My rating: 3.75 stars, rounded to 4 stars. Very good performance and intriguing blend of blues and electronic music.

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 Schody Do Nieba 2008 (with Daniel Bloom, Paul Lawler, Misha Ogorodov and Steve Schroyder) by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Live, 2009
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Schody Do Nieba 2008 (with Daniel Bloom, Paul Lawler, Misha Ogorodov and Steve Schroyder)
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by Pablo_P

4 stars Schody Do Nieba (Stairway To Heaven) was a festival organised by Józef Skrzek in Planetarium Śląskie in Chorzów. The festival's name was inspired by the stairway of the Planetarium. Schody Do Nieba had two editions: the first one in 2008 and second one in 2009. Each edition lasted for two days and consisted of live performances of Skrzek and invited musicians, his friends. There were both solo appearances and collective jam sessions. Extracts from such jam session from the 2008 edition were released on this album. Unfortunatelly, the booklet lacks any information on the instruments each musician play.

On the first edition of the festival, Skrzek promoted his then recently released electronic music album "Ricochet Gathering - Trilogy" he recorded with Paul Lawler and Steve Schroyder. These three musicians also appear on the "Schody Do Nieba 2008" live album. Skrzek also invited polish electronic musician Daniel Bloom and Russian musician Misha Ogorodov.

Although it's intro is an ethnically sounding flute (or other uncredited instrument), the music they played may be desribed as electronic, cosmic landscapes having its roots in the Berlin School of the seventies. The music is mostly instrumental, with some vocoder efects. Such is the longest, opening track, "Edge of Time" with some background sequencers and vocoder-filtered voice. There's an interesting, classically sounding although a little monotonous sequencer work in the second track, "Astral", reminding of old Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze. But the next track, "Dance under Pineapple Tree" has a more contemporary sounding, pulsating beat.

There's a different story with the fourth track, "The Ghost of Dracula". It's quite surprising for it has a gothic atmosphere with keyboards sounding like string instruments. It also has live drums and electric guitar (or guitar-like sounding keyboards).

The next track, "Bridge over Nebula" is an improvisation with no rhythm, dominated by Skrzek's moog solo. The last track, "Voyage to the End" is such an illustrative, slowly floating and mellow track (and again, no rhythm) with some acoustic guitar-sounding instrument (as mentioned, the booklet lacks some most important credits).

My rating: 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4 stars. This recording has a really intriguing atmosphere. Fans of electronic or illustrative music may find this album very interesting. There are some memorable melodies, solos and sequences that will appeal to them.

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 Wojna Światów - Live by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Live, 2004
4.08 | 3 ratings

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Wojna Światów - Live
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by Pablo_P

4 stars Józef Skrzek Formation - "Wojna Światów - Live". Recorded live in Lucerna Hall, Prague, 24.03.1981

When SBB still existed, its leader Józef Skrzek was offered to record a soundtrack and appear in a movie "Wojna Światów - Następne Stulecie" (The War of the Worlds - The Next Century) by Piotr Szulkin. After SBB disbanded in November of 1980, to finish the project, Józef Skrzek quickly formed a new band with his brother Jan Skrzek playing the blues harp, Robert Golla on guitars, Tomasz Szukalski on saxophones and Janusz Ziomber on drums. Like in SBB, Józef Skrzek plays the keyboards, bass guitar and sings. Unfortunately, the band didn't exist for too long, they disbanded in the fall of 1981 when Robert Golla and Janusz Ziomber went abroad.

The Józef Skrzek Formation was formed in late 1980 and recorded the soundtrack in January of 1981. The album they recorded was probably the most hard-rock oriented and heaviest one Józef Skrzek ever recorded. After the recording they went on a tour and played in the mentioned movie.

"Wojna Światów - Live" was recorded during that tour, in March of 1981. The band played songs from their soundtrack album ("Wojna Światów", "65th Street Sermon", "Wonderful Sky-Ride", "Interception"), previous Józef Skrzek solo albums (suite "Toczy się koło historii" from the album "Ojciec Chrzestny Dominika" and "Hung-Under" from "Józefina") and classics from SBB repertoire (fragments from the suites "Follow my Dream" and "Freedom with Us").

This album's sound quality is not perfect (but it's not bad either, it's just decent), for there was no professional recording equipment used. That makes this album rather a fan release but anyway the sound quality doesn't hurt the ears.

Although it starts with an aggressive intro, the music on that concert is rather mellow, especially in comparison to the studio album The Formation recorded. There is extensive use of Tomasz Szukalski's saxophone (both as a melodic and solo instrument) which's sound affects the older tracks - SBB's suites and "Toczy się koło historii". It doesn't make these tracks sound better or worse - they just sound different. Listening to these version is a good reason to get this album.

But, on the other hand, there are some really hard rocking songs. One of them is a great verion of "65th Street Sermon" with an impressive guitar solo by Robert Golla. He shows his skills also in the "3rd Reanimation" movement of "Freedom with Us" suite. There is also a very good version of "Wonderful sky-ride", a great song from "Wojna Światów" soundtrack that originates from a brilliant SBB's improvisation they played in Karlstad in 1975.

Overall, the performance quality of this concert is at least good, with some highlights. This album may be recommended to any fan of SBB and Józef Skrzek. It's a worthy addition to their discographies, but as mentioned, its sound quality is not perfect.

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 Pokoj Saren Piano (with Lech Majewski) by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Studio Album, 1998
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Pokoj Saren Piano (with Lech Majewski)
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by Pablo_P

4 stars Pokój Saren (The Roe's Room), an autobiographical opera in 4 acts, is a project that started of a long-term collaboration between two great Polish artists: film director Lech Majewski and clasically trained musician, multi-instrumentalist Józef Skrzek. Pokój Saren premiered in 1996 in Silesian Opera in Bytom and since then it was released in three forms:

The first one, was the opera itself, released on a double-CD album in 1997 with a rich booklet, including the libretto (based on poems by Majewski).

The second one, was a surrealistic film based on the opera. In this film there were no spoken words, but it contained opera as soundtrack - Lech Majewski described it a filmed opera. The film Pokój Saren premiered also in 1997.

The third one is this instrumental album, recorded the same year and released in 1998, containing piano transcription of selected themes from the opera.

According to booklet, the studio that Pokój Saren Piano was recorded was actually a monastic church with an extraordinary acoustics while the monastery was actually an active mental hospital. Perhaps the atmosphere of that place affected the sound of this album - it is really dark, I may say sinister - as much as it's cover.

Pokój Saren Piano is an impressive album of raw but mesmerizing and lyrical music. The sole musician on this recording is Józef Skrzek, playing only the grand piano, making it also rather minimalistic. The atmosphere he creates, although very dark and sad, is really absorbing.

The album has a higly illustrative character. Some themes from this album, notably Jabłko (The Apple) and Deszcz (Rain) were then used by Majewski for a soundtrack to his movie The Garden of Earthly Delights. These are probably the most beautiful tracks of this album.

Fans of dark/illustrative/instrumental/piano music may find this album very interesting. But honestly, I may recommend it to any fan of music.

My rating: somewhere between 4 and 4.5 stars. It's a very good and absorbing album but it's also very sad. You're warned.

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 Ojciec chrzestny Domnika by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.11 | 19 ratings

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Ojciec chrzestny Domnika
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Josef Skrzek - Ojciec Chrzestny Domnika (1980)

Keyboardist, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Josef Skrzek is perhaps the main figure of the Polish progressive rock scene of the seventies. After playing with Niemen he re-established SBB (strongly recommended eclectic prog with space, fusion and symphonic influences) and made a string of very strong albums. With SBB again disbanded in 1980, Josef Skrzek made an attempt to make a symphonic masterpiece once more with this OCD album. This album can be perceived as Skrzek's 'Tubular Bells', as he plays most of the instruments.

On this solo effort the music can be described as keyboard-oriented symphonic progressive rock with both bombastic and melodic tendencies. There are baths of synths, heavy church organ passages, intimate vocal passages and sections with electric guitar, percussion and harmonica. The rhythmical section isn't as important as on most SBB albums. The recording is very bombastic, as if the side filling pieces were played in a church.

The first piece is my favourite of the two. After a bombastic symphonic opening section we are launched into a poppy, but intimate section with great vocals of Skrzek. The vocals are in Polish, but I'm used to that. After this begins a string of melodic symphonic passages with lots of interesting and innovative features. We get to hear harmonica, vocals in original keys and some parts with percussion. On side two Skrzek moves toward mild symphonic prog, evoking Alan Parson's Project at times. This could be perceived as regression, but the instrumental sections are still very strong and the sympho bathing is soothing.

Conclusion. A good attempt to create a very symphonic, yet original album that will be attractive for fans of keyboard-driven progressive rock and SBB fans that 'haven't had enough'. Furthermore, fans of light symphonic prog might be interested. The strong three and halve stars rating seems to be the logical choice here.

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 La Tempete by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Live, 2007
3.83 | 3 ratings

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La Tempete
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by Pablo_P

4 stars Planetarium Śląskie in Chorzów is a magical place. Józef Skrzek used to play there for many times (both solo and with guests like Colin Bass). The magical atmosphere of that place is apparent on the live album La Tempete.

This album is based on improvisations played by Skrzek on his analog synthesizers. The music is emerging slowly from the sounds of a storm (La Tempete means the storm), being a prelude to a journey into space... and imagination. Although being mostly improvised, this album contains many memorable melodies. Music is rather delicate and lyrical, and as Skrzek plays solo, this album is quite minimalistic. The music is mostly instrumental, with few vocals. There's also a use of sequencer - there's a drum pattern apparent in few tracks. La Tempete is very absorbing, the album lasts almost 80 minutes (split into 7 tracks) but it won't bore.

Beautiful musical landscapes, recommended to any electronic music lover. 4 stars.

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 East Wind - Tryptyk Petersburski by SKRZEK, JÓZEF album cover Live, 2007
4.00 | 3 ratings

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East Wind - Tryptyk Petersburski
Józef Skrzek Eclectic Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A bit of an odd release this, from legendary Polish musician Józef Skrzek and 4 invited musicians.

Live recordings from three different locations showcase three rather different styles of music performed by this ensemble of musicians, but the main emphasis is on recordings from what I assume is a church in Warzaw - and the performances from that session are quite spectacular too.

Sacral music is the name of the game here; slow moving tunes dominated by the organ, with percussion and synths adding textures. And when the vocals kick in on those tunes, the sheer passion and beauty is stunning and breathtaking; if you appreciate this style of music. The mood and atmosphere is rather sombre and melancholy in nature; and there's a distinct religious tinge to these tunes; which may not be to everybody's taste.

Fans of church organ, good vocal performances and dark music will get lots of pleasure out of this release, and fans of the other aspects of Skrzek's musical output will to some extent get their needs catered for in the recordings not made in the church in Warzaw.

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