Hearing Gemstones (released by the Listen Foundation, “Fundacja Słuchaj”, in Polish) the other day for the first time I was convinced that I had heard it before. It seems so familiar. Like a pair of old shoes, a favourite coat, somehow all freshened up after a trip to the cobbler’s to get a new heel or to the dry cleaners to get rid of the remnants of last night’s grits and gravy it feels just right. Trumpeter Verneri Pohjola is a fine player and knows how to deliver utilising an open, no safety net, rambling, bluesy free-jazz (ie Stańko or Wadada Leo Smith resembling) sometimes brutal and ferocious style.
Caught in the heat of expression the sympathetic and highly driven bass part (the work of Maciej Garbowski, who reminds me of a John Edwards approach) and Andrew Cyrille-like drum input (by Krzysztof Gradziuk) goad him on. Without piano there is a freedom.
Each of the five tracks is named after a gemstone and all were freely improvised recorded live in the Polish city of Katowice. This has instant classic written all over it. Want some spirit, some sheer balls? Look no further. Tell your mates. A perfect act for a club like the Vortex.