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HOLDING HANDS - Various Artists CAT. NO: CS-33
Rare Jazz/Fusion Gems From Polish Vaults vol. 2 FORMAT: CD / LP

£8.50 + VAT
£8.50 + VAT

Obviously not giving up on digging into crates and archives. This is the 7th in a series of Rare Jazz/Fusion Gems From Eastern European Vaults. This time revisiting Poland for the second time. Previous volume has covered 60s and was concentrated on some straight ahead jazz, spiritual, free, modal and all the strongest points in Polish Jazz at that time (trying not to repeat already re-issued tracks) but around the world as well. This volume should be more relaxed and with more vocals and scatting, funk, Latin and jazz-rock influences and flavours. Still it is compiled in a way that you should be able to sit comfortable and listen to the whole album as it was done by only one artist. You can also listen to it in a collector’s way and try to analyse Polish music of that period, but also you can just use it for you dance parties. Quite universal album that should be able to cover all your musical needs either you being professional or novice in this kind of music.
Most of the originals are very rare like Novi Singer’s 7” with Corea’s Fiesta or £100+ LP by RTV Lodz Big Band. None of them comes cheaply on originals. Some of them are well known tunes in certain circles like jazz dance classic Prostachny Gestach by band called CRASH and GRAZYNA LOBASEWSKA that was played at many of London’s jazz dance happenings (and also appeared on one white label bootleg in early 90s) but most of them stayed obscure and known only to some hard-core collectors and explorers. Here it’s being followed by funky scat vocal tune by KRYSTYNA PRONKO. NOVI continues with scatting in Fiesta that also moves us into some Latin, jazz dance waters. Akalei by MAZUR smoothly follows the same path using the same ingredients: scatting + some fast Latin rhythms. It was recorded live at Jazz Nad Odrą festival in 1977 with the Crash band. Third in a row jazz dance, scat tune is by jazz-rock band LABORATORIUM with some amizing synthy-like vocals. BEMIBEM brings some sunshine, happiness and kind of hippy feeling to this compilation. I just see flowers all around. NAHORNY’s Holding Hands has that “library feel” in it, almost like coming from one of the KPM releases. ORKIESTRA PR I TV LODZI showed that Poland had the equivalent to Erwin Len or RTB Big Band, that powerful Funky Fusion Big Band sound. KAWKA was one of the Novi Singers and Sky’s The Limit was taken from his solo album. Another vocal tune, this time on a funky/soulful side. Back to some Latin waters with Straight Life by KRZYSTOF SADOWSKY from his amazing, real cosmic “On Kosmodromie” album. JERZY MILIAN became quite a familiar name around but still there are many tracks by the man that needs to be discovered. Astrobolid, featuring Novi Singers, being just one of them. Goodby is taken from the same KAROLAK’s album that gave us Why Not Samba and was missed by many who hadn’t been patient enough to wait for the funky break in the middle of the track. One for the Hammond fans. This collection is both for your soul and you dancing shoes. It’s up to you what you gonna use it for. Both, I guess?

CRASH - Prostachny Gestach 
NOVI SINGERS - Fiesta  2'56
LABORATORIUM - Taniec Bialego Karla
BEMIBEM - Jajecznica
07 WLODZIMIERZ NAHORNY - Holding Hands  2'00
08 ORKIESTRA PR I TV LODZI - Kamaleon 5'17
09 BEMIBEM - Podatij Mi Troche Slonca  4'13
KRZYSTOF SADOWSKY - Straight Life  6'27
BERNARD KAWKA - Sky's The Limit  2'47
JERZY MILIAN - Astrobolid  3'48
ORKIESTRA PR I TV LODZI - Bez Metalu  3'45

*CD bonus track

compiled by: ZELJKO KERLETA, © 2004, COSMIC SOUNDS

Supported by:
TOSHIO MITSUURU @ shibuya fm
PHIL LEVINE @ eclectic jazz
JC @
DOM SERVINI @ mouseorgan/wah wah 45
DJ BEN G @ right-on fm
CIAN O CIOBHAIN @ The Other Side
ENNIO STYLES @ stylin'
MFP COLLECTIVE @  flyin' high records
VALANCHE STEWART @ urban landscapes
RICHARD E @ further out recordings
KEYSER & SHURIKEN @ crate soul brothers
SIMON HARRISON @ basic soul
ROCKY ROCOCO @ jazzadelica
ANN ARBOR @ kfjc

VALANCHE STEWART (urban landscapes, USA)
An essential piece of jazz. Nice to know that Poland can get as jazzy and
funky with the best Western counterparts.

RICHARD E (further out recordings)
Loving the Polish fusion.  Really strong compilation.  Just my kind of stuff.  Played the whole thing through three times in a row!  The vocal tracks are wicked.
JEAN-CLAUDE (if music)
The best Cosmic Sounds compilation so far!
Go straight to the B side 1 and check the version of the Hancock classic " Chameleon" and the wicked  jazz-salsa of " Straight life". Two for the Plastic People massive!

Yeah for a fusion man like myself this is the Sh*T!!!! Zeljko's chooses a wicked selection of rare polish fusion that's got me all of a flutter. Worth it for the title cut and the version of Herbie's cameleon(kamaleon here!) alone.

DJ BEN G (right-on fm)
What a great compilation, top quality music, as always!

ANDREW MASON (waxpoetics)
Cosmic Sounds is a fascinating London-based label founded in 1999 by Yugoslavian expatriate Zeljko Kerleta. Dedicated to bringing the deepest jazz of Eastern Europe to a Western audience, Kerleta’s efforts have been tireless. The seventh in a series of compilations, Holding Hands is Kerleta’s second attempt at corralling the weird and wild world of Polish jazz. His first concentrated on the decade of the 60’s and was justly weighted toward the works of Jerzy Milian, the famed Polish vibraphonist who was a ubiquitous presence on recordings of that era. Milian is a present on this new collection, which moves a decade ahead to cover the 70’s and beyond but takes a backseat to a pleasingly varied group of artists. There is a distinct jazz-fusion flavour to the proceedings, no surprise considering the dates of the recordings, but that shouldn't scare anyone away, as there are elastic bass lines, inspired percussion, and a paucity of aimless soloing, the bane of many a good groove. An intense live cut from Julius Mazur and the group Crash typifies the airy and energetic feel that moves jazz-loving feet. Fans of dance-floor jazz will also be happy that Crash’s 1979 uptempo “prostachny Gestach”, bootlegged as a 12-inch in the ’90, is also present.

Poland has a rich history of vocal jazz, and we are treated to several prime examples of that legacy here. The Novi Singers, perhaps the best-known proponents of the sound, are represented by the rare 45-only beauty “Fiesta”, and Bemibem, a connoisseur's favorite, drop two Latiny cuts from their 1974 Bemowe Frazy LP. Reaching all the way to the brink of the ‘90s, Kerleta has the brilliant audacity to plunk the effervescent “Sky’s the Limit” from lead Novi singer Bernard Kawka’s 1989 Metamorphosis LP. It’s a soaring 130 BMP cut that will overlooked by the heavy drum and funk seekers but will raise the spirits of the open-minded. Kerleta hasn’t neglected the beat brigade, however. Two tracks from Lodz radio and TV Big Band’s highly sought-after Srting Beat LP, a puls-raising 1975 slab of non-stop heavy grooves that trades hands for three figures, bookend the B-side. Any hard funk aficionado wirth their weight will start saving after hearing the monster version of Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” and the wicked fuzz funk of “Bez Metlau”.

Available on CD and LP (though the LP is significantly quieter than usual), this compilation is a fascinating introduction to Polish jazz-funk fusion and should be sought out. Fortunately it is only the tip of the iceberg, intrigued listeners should be sure to delve into the rest of Cosmic Sound’s catalog.

SKY IS THE LIMIT. Bernard Kawka, one time vocalist for the Novi Singers, recorded this little dancefloor filler in 1989. It has a slight Steely Dan/Donald Fagen sound and feel to it, which doesn't usually grab my attention in this way, but this really is a fantastic track. Great arrangements by Bernard too. He's joined by Polish female vocalist Ewa Bem who was in a Novi-esque vocal group in the 70's named Bemibem. I'd never heard of this group before buying the compilation that "Sky's the Limit" is found on. The comp is titled "Holding Hands - Rare Jazz/Fusion Gems From Polish Vaults Vol. 2". It's on the English label "Cosmic Sounds", which must've passed me by because they've been releasing compilations for at least the past 4 years and I hadn't come across them before. The "Holding Hands" comp is really suprisingly good. Every track is a winner.

Wow! My favourite Cosmic Sounds release of the moment, this is a superb LP, from the vocal steaming beginnings of Prostachny Gestach & Oto Przyczyna to the magnificent funked up Herbie Hancock rework Kamaleon on Side B with that amazing melody over a killer groove. The funky fusion of Holding Hands brilliantly compliments the deeper Jazz tracks from the first Cosmic Sounds Polish Jazz compilation, timeless music.

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