The young jazzmen from Szczecin met in good time and place. Talent of everybody involved in the making of this record made it just a treat to listen to.
The Beat Freaks is a band consisting of Szczecin musicians who previously met in various constellations: saxophonist Tomasz Licak, drummer Radek Wośko (these two co-created Polish-Danish quartet, who recorded “Entrails United”) as well as guitarist Michał Starkiewicz and bassist Pawel Grzesiuk. This time they all met in a very good time and place creating a great album “Leon”. You probably remember the legendary bard – Leon Kokakiewicz, the urban bard from the days of rapid industrial development, whose visionary ideas, machine inspiration and immodest amounts of currant liquor gave an unexpected mix of rhythms, sounds and melodies? Don’t you remember? Do not worry, no such person ever existed. Gentlemen allowed themselves a little mystification, which happens to appear real regularly to someone. Maybe with regard to history the concept-album becomes a joke, but in terms of music it is nonetheless thoughtful and coherent, though diverse.
The album begins with the jazz-rock theme “Longing,” with a fairly regular rhythm section reminding about Tortoise, associated rather with post-rock. The next track „Pomarańcze“ could be associated with mainstream contemporary jazz. Actually, every tune here has an interesting story to tell, thanks to great saxophone or guitar solos. It gets tricky in “Ludowo”, which title could suggest a folk-style tour de Namyslowski, but at times it is rather a delicate hint of African ethnic music. “Bright Eyes” is an intriguing, experimental lullaby in which Licak transforms the saxophone into a bass clarinet. In “Solaris” after a great guitar part and return to the main theme, we suddenly hear some reverb on drums that was disguised before.
In general, the sound of the whole material is very clear, the musicians aim for clarity, not understood as obvious but transparent. Great work was also made by people from the production side: Kamil Łaziowski from Łódź Studio Soyuz, Jakub Maciejewski – a Szczecin musician and producer, and – Jan Smoczyński (close associate of Michał Urbaniak) responsible for mixing and mastering. Talent of everybody involved in the making of this record made it just a treat to listen to.