Solo guitar from Raphael Roginski, interpreting works from jazz giant John Coltrane, 8 compositions reworked in stunningly beautiful ways, with two works accompanied by text from Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, as sung by Natalia Przybysz.
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Catalog ID: BR POP13
Squidco Product Code: 21104
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded by Zofia Morus.
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1. Blue Train 5:48
2. Equinox 5:16
3. Lonnie's Lament 5:17
4. Walkers With The Dawn 2:42
5. Mr. P. C. 3:07
6. Countdown 3:16
7. The Negro Speaks Of Rivers 2:05
8. Grand Central 2:57
9. Seraphic Light 4:31
10. Naima 4:58
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"Readers of this blog may know Raphael Rogiński for his justly celebrated treatments of Jewish and Eastern European music, including his Shofar trio (with Mikolaj Trzaska and Macio Moretti) and his work with Wacław Zimpel (Music of the Yemenite Jews, Hera's Seven Lines). Though these and related projects are important to Rogiński's ambitions as a guitarist, composer, and activist, his interests and influences range widely-see for example his collaboration with DJ Lemar (also reviewed on the blog) or his recordings of Bach. In his latest solo guitar effort, released earlier this summer under the Polish label Bôłt's Populista series, Rogiński turns his attention to one of the giants of the jazz canon, John Coltrane.
On African Mystic Music, Rogiński reworks eight Coltrane compositions and offers up two of his own as accompaniment for text by Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes (sung by Natalia Przybysz). But "covers" would certainly be the wrong word here. Rogiński's interpretations of Coltrane, compared for instance to Mary Halvorson's new Meltframe, are at times quite abstracted from their source material. While the purists may be disappointed, though, the rest of us will marvel at Rogiński's musical alchemy.
The opening rendition of "Blue Train" sets a very high bar for the tracks to follow. Eschewing the self-possession of the original, Rogiński builds his take from starts and feints, gaining momentum with gorgeously elastic and permutating finger-picked arpeggios that dig down, rise up, and then resolve into perfect gifts of sound. The balance Rogiński cultivates is expert-the music manages to be light but not delicate, dense but not muddled, intense but not frenzied. And because of the intimacy of the recording itself, the friction of the guitarist's fingers on the strings and the sounds of his breath become complicit in the devastating beauty of the playing. The ultimate result is more head-nodding than foot-tapping as we find a center in the nest of rapidly woven notes.
Track by track Rogiński redeploys variations of this same basic strategy, but the effect across the album is unity, not repetitiveness. After versions of "Equinox" and "Lonnie's Lament" (appropriately plaintive), "Walkers of the Dawn" introduces a new element as Przybysz delivers Hughes's poem over an almost mbira-like guitar. Again, rather than any performative extroversion, it's the closeness of Przybysz's singing, as if we were overhearing a prayer, that lends intensity to the performance. Together with the darkly manic "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," Przybysz's contributions offer a worthy complement to the Coltrane interpretations and qualify among African Mystic Music's several highlights-two of which round the album out. "Seraphic Light" matches the agitation of the original, the guitar somehow capturing the blistery, stuttering quality of Rashied Ali's drums. And "Naima" closes the album, sublime melody intact, a dynamic meditation full of bent notes and pregnant hesitations. It's obvious that Rogiński knows just where to stop, but as the final notes fade it's hard not to start the whole thing over."-Eric McDowell, Free Jazz Blog
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• Show Bio for Raphael Roginski
Raphael Roginski, born 1977 in Frankfurt, Darmstadt Government Region, Hesse, Germany, currently residing in Poland. Composer and performer, cultural animator and student of musical folklore.
He started playing electric guitar at the age of thirteen. Educated in jazz and classical, he also studied musical theory and ethnomusicology.
Since the very beginning of his creative work he has been focusing primarily on improvisation rooted in blues and jazz, as well as on ethnic and folk music. It is the combination of those two paths that best defines his style both in terms of composing and performing. Deeply rooted in the Jewish culture, Rogiński always sought to accommodate it in his art and this search resulted in the conception of two projects which he leads: Shofar and Cukunft.
He also acts as art director of festivals showcasing new Jewish culture - like Tikkun, Varshe or Mizrach - and as consultant for projects featured at those festivals.
Another source of inspiration for Rogiński is the primitive music of America, blues and 1960s rock. Filtered and processed, it can be heard in both his solo and band performances. A deep analysis of techniques employed by classical blues guitarists and the knowledge of instruments of the 1950s and 1960s form the basis of Rogiński's sound.
Inspired, on the other hand, by American experimental music (Harry Patch, Henry Cowell and others), Rogiński formed the band Spinalonga. Research of European 'early music' resulted in the recent release of Rogiński gra Bacha (Rogiński Plays Bach), a collection of Bach's pieces played on prepared guitars.
Rogiński is also involved in projects stemming from the international new jazz scene. His compositions, improvisations and interpretations are often used as soundtrack for various artistic events - documentaries and animations (e.g. Man Ray, Viking Elling), performing acts (J. Kalina), traditional and multimedia theatre plays ( ), and literature readings (Tadeusz Różewicz, Mieczysław Myśliwski, Mieczysław Abramowicz, Andrzej Stasiuk).
Performing mainly on his own artistic terms, he gives solo concerts and leads various ensembles. Currently, his ongoing musical projects include the aforementioned Shofar, Cukunft and Spinalonga, as well as the trio with Macio Moretti and Marcin Masecki, the duo Sisters with DJ Lenar and solo concerts.
Rogiński played or collaborated with, among others, Kazuchisa Uchichashi, Le Quan Ninh, Noel Akchote, Frederic Blondy, Keith Rowe, Joe Giardullo, Axel Dorner, Thomas Lehn, Andrew Sharpley, John Edwards, John Tilbury, Brigit Ulher, Yale Strom , Tim Daisy, Dave Rempis, Mark Tokar, Mark Sanders, Clayton Thomas, Kris Wenders, Peter Jaquemyn, Wacław Zimpel, Emiter, Macio Moretti, DJ Lenar, Daniel Pigonski, Konstanty Usenko, Jarek Bester, Ireneusz Socha, Vadim O.Pavluk, Ryszard Latecki, Rafal Mazur, Piotr Bukowski, Arszyn, Mikolaj Trzaska, Maria Peszek.
Rogiński frequently participates in music workshops, competitions and festivals of contemporary music, including the Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, Simcha in Wrocław, Four Cultures in Łódź, Ha Motiv Ha Jehudi in Warsaw, Rainbow Coalition Festival in Hanover (USA), Warsaw Autumn, Gaudeamus Music Week in Hague, Ars Electronica in Linz, G2 Music for creative chamber orchestra, NuFolk in Gdańsk, Fete de la Musique in Paris, and many others.-Alchemia (https://en.alchemia.com.pl/bio/raphael-roginski/)
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