This is the debut album by a young Polish Blues-Rock / Funk band Moongang, fronted by female vocalist Joanna Knitter, with harmonica player Roman Badenski, guitarist Marcin Wadolowski, pianist Hubert Swiatek, bassist Karol Kozlowski and drummer Piotr Gora. The album comprises of eleven original songs and one instrumental. The guitarist composed eight of the pieces, the vocalist two and the bassist and pianist contributed one each. Knitter wrote the lyrics to all eleven songs, ten of which are in English and one is in Polish.
Obviously based on the Blues tradition, the music stretches out into other genres, like Rock, Funk and even occasionally Fusion. Almost all the tunes are up-tempo and have a very funky feel about them, which certainly tends to make the listeners dance or at least tap their feet. The instrumental performances are all quite excellent, especially the beautiful harmonica parts, which are the link to the Blues roots of this music, but also the guitar and electric piano solos are a delight. The rhythm section does an excellent job keeping the music moving forward and providing the funky feel. The vocalist has a worm, strong voice, which she uses cleverly and effectively and which is ideal for this kind of music. She has a great timing and phrasing and overall her performances are just what this music needs.
Having said all that, there are some points about this album, which bother me personally, although most local listeners probably won’t mind them at all. I understand the desire of Polish bands to sound “international” and use English lyrics. The vocalist’s English pronunciation and accent are actually quite passable and are not a problem as such, but the lyrics are. Using slang and dirty words does not make lyrics more “native” English, does it? One does not have to even go beyond this very album to see that the sole song in Polish sounds so much better that all the others, in order to learn a lesson not to make the same mistake again, hopefully.
But all in all this is an excellent debut album by a band with a lot of abilities and even more potential in the future. This band most probably kicks ass on the stage like few others and gives the audiences a great time. The album is great for driving, as I’ve experienced, making the long stretch of the road to pass unnoticed. Well done indeed!
The Moongang started in 2009 on initiative of harmonica player Roman Badeński. Although his main interest is in blues he was going with this band to out-step boundaries of one genre and saturate this music with elements of jazz, funk, R&B and pop. The necessary versatility gave him players known from local Tri-City jazz scene: bassist Karol Kozłowski recorded with Paul Band and their album “Second Face” was one of the most interesting releases as far as jazz rock is concerned in Poland in recent years; young guitarist Marcin Wądołowski recorded in 2012 his debut album “Git Majonez” which was kept in mainstream jazz stylistic and was warmly received by critics and audience; vocalist Joanna Knitter appeared on this year release “Take It Easy III” by veteran of this scene saxophonist Przemek Dyakowski. Other players like drummer Piotr Góra and pianist Hubert Świątek are less known to me but they fit well in overall idea of this music.
Musically there are no surprises here but nonetheless I must say that I like this album. It has some necessary characteristics of good jazz that is enthusiasm, authenticity and the spirit of collective music making. Whole album wheels around vocalist Joanna Knitter who penned texts (all English except one i nPolish) to all songs while music was written mostly by Marcin Wądołowski (8 out of 12 tunes) but also by Knitter (2), Kozłowski (1) and Świątek (1). But they seem alike, they must be a result of collective creative work and they all sound well. I am especially very pleasantly surprised by singing by Joanna Knitter who on above mentioned Dyakowski’s album was rather unconvincing. It is obvious that she fells much, much better in her own material than in interpretations of old standards which she sung on “Take It Easy”. She showed here sense of humour, immense energy and vitality. She obviously delights most in music that is full of emotions, concrete and wholesome and on “Taxi” she found a space and partners to do what she likes best.
The same can be said about the rest of the band as they clearly seem to relish the experience of recording this session. It sounds as if group of old friends gathered together and was exchanging as much some of their most cherished musical ideas as simply taking joy in having good time together. This mood of joy spreads over to music whose optimism is contagious soon making listener swinging hard. Good job!
|5.||The Doors Are Open||3:35|
|9.||More And More||3:05|
|12.||Nie całkiem Smutny Blues||3:00|