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Jazz Rock/Fusion • Poland

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Extra Ball picture
Extra Ball biography
Extra Ball was born in January 1974 in a club Pod Jaszczurami in Cracow. The first line-up consisted of Jarosław Śmietana - guitar, leader, Władysław Sendecki - electric piano, Jan Cichy - bass guitar and Benedykt Radecki - drums. Jarosław Śmietana explained the origin of band's name: "When we begun playing in Pod Jaszczurami there were automatic billiards pools launched there. They were very popular and the bonus for good play was an extra ball".
Extra Ball's true debut took place during the festival Jazz nad Odrą in the same year where the band gained the second prize. In 1975 the band played on further contests and toured the USSR in Autumn that year.
Next year Extra Ball recorded their first album, titled Birthday. The band had one more musician in its line-up then - a saxophonist Andrzej Olejniczak who joined the same year.
The album contains eight compositions of Śmietana and Sendecki. Extra Ball play here a technically high level melodic Jazz rock. In the second and fourth track they use East-European Folk dance themes a la Bartok with tricky twisted rhythm work. Coming from the main stream jazz field they switch sometimes from binary to ternary rhythms in the middle of a song. The leader and guitarist Jarosław Śmietana plays a "un-fusion" like fluid jazz guitar, often double lead with a synth or e-piano line. Blues for everybody is the only classic jazz track.
In December 1976 the percussionist Benedykt Radecki left the band and was replaced by Marek Stach. In the following year Extra Ball visited Holland and gave a series of concerts in Warsaw jazz club Akwarium. Material recorded during this performances was later issued on the LP Aquarium Live 3. A few months later, in December, the band disbanded.
In January 1978 Jarosław Śmietana resurrected the band but remained the only member from the original line-up. The new Extra Ball abandoned jazzrock and steered definitely towards mainstream jazz so it's of no interest to prog fans (unless they're jazz fans also). This incarnation of the band released four further albums.


Why this artist must be listed in :
approved by the jazz-rock team

Birthday, studio (1976)
Aquarium Live No°3, live (1977)
Marlboro Country, studio (1978 )
Go Ahead, studio (1979)
Mosquito, studio (1980)
Akumula-Torres, studio (1983)

EXTRA BALL Videos (YouTube and more)

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EXTRA BALL discography

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EXTRA BALL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 22 ratings
3.16 | 10 ratings
Marlboro Country
3.20 | 11 ratings
Go Ahead
2.67 | 3 ratings

EXTRA BALL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Aquarium Live 3
2.50 | 4 ratings

EXTRA BALL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

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


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Go Ahead by EXTRA BALL album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.20 | 11 ratings

Go Ahead
Extra Ball Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Pablo_P

3 stars Go Ahead is the third studio album from Extra Ball, released in 1979 by Polskie Nagrania in the Polish Jazz series as Vol. 59. Traditionally, there was a major line-up change since the previous album (Marlboro Country, 1978). But this time the style didn't change that much. Go Ahead continues the exploration of the mainstream jazz territory.

The album starts where Marlboro Country ends - with a new (quite close to original) version of Krakowski Festiwal Jazzowy, the track which was also closing the previous album. Go Ahead contains some lyrical parts like Gwiazdka dla Ewy, Kocham Cię Anno, some dynamic like the title track, Taniec na Linie or Airport, there's even a cover of John Coltrane's Naima.

Overall, this album is not as disciplined as its predecessor. There aren't as many regular, memorable melodies but ther's more space for improvisations. It's more free and that's what makes it interesting.

Good, instrumental jazz. 3.5 stars.

 Marlboro Country by EXTRA BALL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.16 | 10 ratings

Marlboro Country
Extra Ball Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Pablo_P

3 stars Marlboro Country is the second studio album from Extra Ball, released by Poljazz in 1978. Since the debut, Extra Ball had a major line-up change - the leader (Jarosław Śmietana) recorded this album with brand new team. The artistical direction also changed.

Marlboro Country represents Extra Ball heading for mainstream jazz territory. The album sounds... nice and optimistically, there are many regular, memorable melodies (the most memorable could be Wesoła Pieśń dla Keesa with great flute solo). There are also some more lyrical parts like Nocne Impresje or Pieśń dla Elvina Jonesa (which turns into free jazz for a while). Overall, accessibility would be the most attractive attribute of this album, particularly for those who don't expect a copy of Birthday (Extra Ball's debut album).

Nice, good instrumental jazz album. 3.5 stars.

 Birthday by EXTRA BALL album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.00 | 22 ratings

Extra Ball Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Pablo_P

4 stars Before releasing their debut album, Extra Ball gained some popularity among polish jazz fans. Leaded by guitarist Jarosław Śmietana, band starded off at the Jazz on the Oder-River festival in 1974, winning the second, and a year later, the first prize. Thus Extra Ball wasn't unknown at the time, unfortunately they are rather forgotten these days.

Birthday was released in 1976 in the Polish Jazz series as Vol. 48. It contains instrumental jazz rock, which can be compared to Return to Forever or Weather Report . There are also some polish folk inclusions in tracks Narodziny / Birthday and Taniec Maryny / Maryna's Dance and blues (Blues For Everybody). Music is rather dynamic, which proves virtuosity of the musicians (the only lyrical track is Szczęśliwy Nieszczęśliwiec / The Lucky Unlucky Man). Album lasts about 40 minutes but you wouldn't notice when it finishes.

Very good jazz rock, highly recommended particularly for the fans of Weather Report and Return To Forever. 4 stars.

Thanks to alucard for the artist addition.

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