Add Polish saxophonist Zbigniew Namyslowski's name to the list of musicians from foreign climes who can play jazz with such authenticity, warmth and poise that you'd think they were from the United States.
The lean, compact Namyslowski--whose name is pronounced Zbig-nee-ef Nam-e-swov-ski and who first toured the states in 1962--delivered an opening set with his band, the Q, Tuesday at Catalina Bar and Grill that mixed many of the elements of modern jazz--be-bop, funk, free-playing, pop/jazz--but in a very musical and assured manner.
The opening "After Perturbations," from his new "Songs of Innocence" Eastwind label LP, was one such multifaceted piece. The melody shifted between an angular contempo stance and a lyrical, straight-ahead mood. In his solo on alto sax, the leader moved easily between the various formats, dropping in some lickety-split double-times that contrasted with his usual relaxed flow.
Later, Namyslowski, who possessed a ringing, rich sound, neatly disguised the beginning of "Who Can I Turn To?" by spinning out a note-filled unaccompanied introduction before his colleagues joined him to render the rest of the melody. Here pianist Kuba Stankiewicz, bassist Darius Oleszkiewicz and drummer Jerzy Glod got into a nice groove.
The closing number resembled the first, only here the leader dug more into his free-form bag.
Namyslowski makes his last Southern California appearance tonight at Oscar's in Santa Barbara.