Words by Jon Lusk
Jazz flute? From a folky Polish trio? Oh yeah!
Frightened of Polish music by the scraping fiddles and raw vocals of the Warsaw Village Band? Then maybe the mellower, jazz of Krakow trio Chłopcy Kontra Basia will appeal. The band’s name translates to ‘Boys against Basia’, which refers to their lead singer Basia Derlak, whose almost conversational vocals are backed by double-bass player Marcin Nenko and drummer Tomasz Waldowski.
Nenko and Waldowski are jazz boys and the very name of the band encapsulates the tension of folkish vocals and a sprinkling of Polish rhythms – mazurek, oberek and kujawiak – placed in a jazzy idiom.
Derlak proves herself to be a skilled clarinettist in the opening ‘Mam Ja Meża’ (I Have a Husband) and ‘Jerzy’ (Jerry). The latter song also features breathy futujara (flute) from Waldowski and an acoustic drum’n’bass passage: it won them World Music Network’s Battle of the Bands competition, resulted in the recording of this CD for Riverboat. Touches of piano and Wurlitzer keyboard add further colour to the sound palette.