Nahorny, Schmidt, Bogdanowicz, Biskupski - Echoes Of Heyday
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5,99 € MP3 Album [download]

NAHORNY, Schmidt, Bogdanowicz, Biskupski - Freedom Book / Echoes Of Heyday. CD out on September 16 2022, LP out on March 24, 2023.

Available online. 


Włodzimierz Nahorny - grand piano

Piotr Schmidt - trumpet

Mariusz Bogdanowicz - double bass

Piotr Biskupski - drums


Nahorny Trio is a band that has been playing with the same line-up continuously since 1990. It is the longest existing band in the history of Polish jazz. Freedom Book - Echoes Of Heyday is another edition of the work of Włodzimierz Nahorny - an icon and legend of Polish jazz, a master of lyricism, this time realized in cooperation with an outstanding trumpeter of the young generation - Piotr Schmidt. It is stylistically toned down music. A creative response to the scream, tumult and haste that surrounds us today. It is music full of breath, peace, reverie and reflection.



01 - Childhood Memories - 4:16

02 - No Bossa - 4:10

03 - No Dance Game 1 - 2:33

04 - Riders Of Destiny - 3:58

05 - Beach Of Tears / Beach Rozstań - 6:20

06 - My Ballad - 9:07

07 - No Dance Game 2 - 2:55

08 - Old Friend Revisited - 7:17

09 - No Dance Game 3 - 3:24

10 - Prime Time - 7:10

11 - Echoes of Heyday - 3:44

Total time: 55:01


All compositions by Włodzimierz Nahorny except from No Dance Game 1, 2, 3 - The Quartet improvisations.

Produced by Mariusz Bogdanowicz & Piotr Schmidt

Cover picture (painting) / cover design: Tomasz Olszewski

Inside photos: Piotr Gruchała

Mixed & mastered by Maciej Stach in MaqRecords Studio, Wojkowice

Recorded in June 2022 in Sound & Wave Studio Nagrań, Warsaw

Sound Engineer: Jakub Krukowski


The magnificence of this album matches the stature of Nahorny – a composer, pianist, saxophonist, a complete musician; Mature and aware of his capabilities; Often called the Chopin of jazz by many critics. "Freedom Book/Echoes of Heyday", despite containing previously known compositions, is an interesting album, bold, full of intriguing, spirited moments, yet also characterized by the pianist's delicacy. It is also an excellent example of a project that bridges musical generations. Piotr Schmidt approached Nahorny's compositions with sensitivity and respect, bringing freshness, creativity, and an element of surprise to the music. Such projects are lacking in our market, and the results can be outstanding. Big applause and congratulations to the musicians!

Paweł Ziemba,


Walking on Untrodden Snow - a column by Mariusz Bogdanowicz

From the very beginning, I knew it was important. When he first offered me an occasional gig, I had no idea that it would lead to a collaboration and friendship lasting so many years. We played one concert at the Aquarium club. I can't pinpoint the exact date, but it could have been 1989 or 1990. At that time, I was a quite sought-after sideman. I played regularly in Wiesław Pieregorółka's big band, in several jazz bands, and collaborated with stars like Edyta Geppert and Hanna Banaszak. I also played with the famous and excellent country musician Michał Lonstar. I was constantly recording - jazz, pop, film, theater music, TV programs, and songs, not to mention concerts. I'm proud to say that it's me playing that excellent (written) bass line in the beautiful song by Wiesław Pieregorółka and Jacek Cygan, C'est La Vie, sung by Andrzej Zaucha. I recorded with Andrzej Rosiewicz, Jerzy Duduś Matuszkiewicz, and Zbigniew Preisner.

Together with drummer Piotr Biskupski, we were then one of the most sought-after rhythm sections in Poland. And then it happened. For a one-time gig at Aquarium, we were invited by Włodzimierz Nahorny! In my wildest predictions, I couldn't have imagined what would emerge from this, especially since our cooperation started rather slowly. Slowly, but consistently. That's how it began. Then came more gigs, in Włodek's trio and other line-ups. Polish pop music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My father, Leszek Bogdanowicz, was an outstanding composer, arranger, and conductor, the musical director of the Opole Festivals. He was a work titan, constantly writing, arranging, and recording. I was very interested in all of this. I watched the Opole festival broadcasts from childhood. I knew all the bands, hits, and their performers. Once, when I was ten, my father got a call that he urgently had to go to the studio to record. He took me with him. It was to record a saxophone solo for some song. And who recorded that solo? Włodzimierz Nahorny! That was the first time I saw him! Destiny? I should also mention that it was Włodek who played the alto saxophone solo part in my father's piece titled Stereon, which won several awards. A wonderful expansive composition for alto saxophone, big band, and strings. Modern, visionary music.

I'm sure that Dad wrote this piece "for" Włodek, knowing well his lyrical-free jazz phenomenon. There's a chance that GAD Records will soon release Stereon along with other works by my father on CD. Let's get back to my playing with Włodek. At some point, there started to be a lot of it. Concerts were followed by albums. They came out like from a sleeve. Christmas Carols All Year Round (1995) - written with Bogdan Loebl, sung by Anna Maria Jopek (phonographic debut), Lora Szafran, Ewa Uryga, Katarzyna Żak, Dorota Miśkiewicz, Mietek Szcześniak, and Marek Bałata. Lviv Songs (1996) - with Andrzej Jagodziński on accordion and Maciek Strzelczyk on violin. Nahorny-Szymanowski Myths (1996) - Włodek's transcriptions recorded with Maciek Strzelczyk on violin and Dorota Miśkiewicz - vocals, violin. This was the beginning of another Włodek's band, playing transcriptions of Polish classics. Wojtek Staroniewicz joined the quintet on tenor and soprano saxophones, and we recorded another album - Nahorny-Chopin Polish Fantasy (2000). The basis of all these projects was Włodek's trio with me on double bass and Piotr Biskupski on drums. I'll take a break from listing our artistic achievements. Playing concerts and recording is, of course, not everything. Collaborative work is also time spent together off stage and studio, mainly in the car. As it happened, I spent most of these trips alone with Włodek.

I really like history, in every incarnation. I enjoy anecdotes, remember them, and like to tell them. I had Włodek exclusively to myself for hundreds of hours, I asked, and he told, endlessly. These were lectures on the history of Polish jazz and pop music for me. After all, he created this history, was at all the most important events. And if he wasn't, he knew all the details from eyewitness accounts. Truly fascinating. Initially, the Gdańsk times (music high school and the Higher School of Music, 1955-64), particularly dear to my heart as I am a declared Gdańsk native, despite my thirty-five-year-long Warsaw exile. Włodek, still as a high school student, accompanied the rehearsals of the legendary Bim-Bom. Once, walking down the street with friends and, importantly, female friends, he met Zbigniew Cybulski, who cordially greeted him. This was after Ashes and Diamonds, and the sight of Cybulski made all the girls swoon. Włodek's social actions shot up to the sky in one second. In Gdańsk, Włodzio played with the wonderful trumpeter Al Musiał, founded his first band with vibraphonist Ryszard Kruza, there was Jan Tomaszewski's big band, the Flamingo band. I don't want to chronologically and in detail describe Włodek's entire rich career, it's in the encyclopedias. I'll mention a few facts. Włodek graduated as a clarinetist. To put it mildly, he did not like this instrument and sold the clarinet right after playing the diploma (sic!). Fortunately, he was already playing the saxophone and, of course, the piano. Right after his studies, he got an offer to play a replacement gig at Dziekanka in Warsaw. Jazz bands played there at the time. Some people danced, some listened. The musicians had to satisfy both. Quite a challenge. As he says - "I came for a replacement and have stayed until today".

Offers, concerts, recordings poured in and within a few months, everyone knew about Włodzimierz Nahorny! Then it went like an avalanche - first place in the solo and ensemble category at Jazz on the Oder in 1964, in a trio with Jacek Ostaszewski on bass and Sergiusz Perkowski on drums, competitions in Vienna in 1966 and 1967. A photo with Ellington, handing a medal to Włodek, circulated all over Poland. He played in the sextet of Andrzej Trzaskowski, in the bands of Andrzej Kurylewicz, in Jan Ptaszyn Wróblewski's Studio Jazzowe of Polish Radio, recorded, performed, was everywhere. The bomb exploded when in 1969 he recorded an album with the Breakouts. It was their first album On the Other Side of the Rainbow, Włodek plays the alto and flute in four tracks (Poszłabym za tobą, Na drugim brzegu tęczy, Czy mnie jeszcze pamiętasz, Powiedzieliśmy już wszystko). "Franek Walicki called me and offered to record. I went to the studio on Długa (Polskie Nagrania), the album was already recorded and there were spots left for my solos. I recorded and went home. At that time, I was recording with everyone, including the Exotic Tercet" - Włodek says modestly, and it was a revolution. His unique language, only characteristic of him, a fusion of free jazz and Slavic lyricism, combined with rock expression. A new value, a new dimension of incredible depth was created. It was really a hit! I listen to it to this day and everything fits. It still sounds innovative and groundbreaking. It could have been recorded yesterday. By the way, without going into details, I recommend these recordings to the great attention of contemporary "fryers". I let my imagination run wild and think, what if Włodek played the saxophone in the song Starless on the album Red by King Crimson. It is also worth noting that in the same year, 1969, Czesław Niemen recorded Enigmatic (released in 1970), where the alto solos are played by Zbyszek Namysłowski, of course also wonderful! We really have nothing to be ashamed of. Włodek told me that once Krzysztof Komeda, after listening to a concert of his trio, said: "take care of this, it's important". A very valuable note for someone sought after, with whom everyone wants to play.

As if that wasn't enough, to all this were added instrumental compositions, and songs. Not everyone knows that Her Portrait was originally an instrumental jazz ballad. Jonasz Kofta wrote his wonderful text to the already recorded piece. Włodek showed it to Jerzy Połomski, he didn't like it. Jurek regretted it later. Bogusław Mec benefited from this, who became famous as the first performer of the most beautiful Polish song. During our travels, we did a lot of sightseeing together. There were wonderful, long walking tours of Rome, Edinburgh, Shanghai, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Paris, Stockholm, Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Bucharest, and Sarajevo. Of course, we talked all the time, the lectures continued. There were also anecdotes. I remember once in Budapest we were determined to find a pub where tourists don't go and eat real goulash soup there. We searched for quite a long time, but we finally found it. When we were returning, he told me an incredible story. So, in the years when he was literally recognized on the street every moment (about the mid-seventies), he received an official letter, on company paper, with the following content: "W. Nahorny is hereby proposed to join the ranks of the Volunteer Reserve of the Citizens' Militia. Duties will be adjusted to the citizen's irregular working hours. Lack of a written response will be considered consent". Terrified Włodek bunkered himself at home and went nowhere. He called friends for advice on what to do with it. One of the buddies said: "Włodziu, don't worry. You'll go out in the evening to Podwale (Włodek lived on Piekarska, in the Old Town at the time), you'll identify someone and it'll be over. Better not to irritate them, they'll still withhold your passport or expose you to other unpleasantness". Poor Włodzio's terror reached its zenith. Was he to join ORMO? What to do with this damned response? After a few days, it turned out that his buddies had played a prank on him. It was them he was calling, and they kept fooling him. Of course, they eventually admitted it and there was a lot of laughter. And he told me this when, after a delicious, very spicy goulash soup, we were riding a bus from Batthyány tér, uphill, on Bimbo street, to the apartments of the Polish Embassy, where we lived. I said I remember anecdotes. I am currently the Head of the Department of Jazz and Entertainment Music at the Artistic Faculty of UMCS in Lublin. Last year, when I was applying to open second-degree studies, it was the most natural thing for me to include the subject "History of Polish Jazz and Entertainment Music" in the curriculum. I guess I don't need to write who lectures on this subject?

I feel a sense of mission. I'll also tell the ORMO anecdote. Let's go back to playing. At the end of the nineties, the actions of the Nahorny Trio and Nahorny Sextet were doing very well, we were playing somewhere all the time. In 2002, in my Confiteor publishing house, I released the trio's album titled Dolce far niente… and nothing more. The following year, Lora Szafran Nahorny Songbook - twelve wonderful Włodek's songs performed by Lora with the accompaniment of string instruments and a trio, all in great arrangements by Andrzej Jagodziński and Krzysztof Herdzin. In 2010, the memorable Chopin Year, I released the album Nahorny Sextet - Chopin Genius Loci. It featured transcriptions (of course by the leader) of music by Szymanowski, Chopin, Roman Maciejewski, and mazurkas by Włodek, written in a truly Chopinesque style. In the sextet, the excellent Henryk Gembalski replaced Maciek Strzelczyk on violin. I'll write about the trio's music in a moment. Now a few words about the sextet. We play exclusively transcriptions of Polish classics. In addition to the mentioned, among the composers are also Mieczysław Karłowicz and Ignacy Paderewski. This is amazing music. As is known, our jazzmen quite often reach for Polish classical music, especially Chopin. Unlike many such attempts, in Włodzimierz Nahorny's rendition, it is not jazzing up the music of our classics. Based on original themes and motifs, he created new music. Although the originals are always present and clearly noticeable, this is thoroughly Włodek's music. It's hard for me to define its style. Of course, it's definitely jazz, but the strong personality of the leader and his broad horizons do not allow for any simple definition. I have a lot of free playing there, but it is very organized. "Departure" fragments after a moment turn into precisely written and defined parts, and above all, of course, there is that idiomatic Włodek's Slavicness. Some parallels could be drawn with the third stream.

Włodek himself talks about the ideological kinship with the music of Andrzej Trzaskowski's sextet, with whom he played in his youth. Definitions aside, this music is exquisite to play. One must be attentive and focused, as the changes occur quite rapidly, often sharply, like screeching tires on turns. And then there's the trio. We have been playing together continuously for over thirty years. We are the longest-standing ensemble in the same lineup in the history of Polish jazz! Yes, ladies and gentlemen! That's how it turned out! Strangely enough, although we have held this title for quite a few years, I only recently became aware of it. We have recorded three albums, besides the aforementioned "Dolce far niente... and nothing more," there's "Hope" from 2014 and the latest, "Ballad Book - Childhood Crumbs," in 2018. I'm proud to say that I had to persuade Włodek a bit to record an album of just ballads. "It will be boring, no one will want to listen to it, it has to be exciting," he said. I didn't give in. Over time, as we played several concerts exclusively with the album's program, Włodek admitted I was right. "Childhood Crumbs" is mainly Włodek's, but also a bit of my response to the surrounding noise, clamor, and rush. It's music full of breath, peace, contemplation, and reflection, and a kind of commentary on what's happening in the world. I love playing these pieces. It turns out the audience needs this too. I was very afraid of our performance at the Jazz in the Old Town festival this July. It's an outdoor event, most people listen standing up. In the Old Town Market Place in Warsaw, there were about two and a half thousand people. I don't want this to sound like bragging or megalomania - they listened to us as if spellbound. It was beautiful. I will remember that concert for the rest of my life. I have always believed that music, art in general, should be communicative, which does not mean easy. The "Ballad Book - Childhood Crumbs" album meets this criterion. I have written so many times about the phenomenon of Włodek. Włodzimierz Nahorny is widely considered the most Slavic among all Polish jazz musicians. In one of his reviews, Piotr Iwicki wrote - "Nahorny is the Chopin of jazz." He is the author of this brilliantly apt description.

Włodzimierz Nahorny speaks to us in a personal, uniquely his own, indefinable, lyrical language full of romanticism and poetry. And underneath it all is the truest free jazz. Really, please believe me, a jazz avant-gardist still lurks within him. He himself does not know how he does it, how he combines these worlds. I asked. "That's how I feel and hear it," he replied. Simple. Playing with Włodek is like winning the lottery. Fate smiled at me. I've learned so much from him. I'm happy to play with him, to be his friend, to produce and release his albums. There's a very simple reason why we have played together for so long. Our playing is constantly evolving, we're always discovering new spaces. We keep going further, and our music, I dare say, becomes deeper. It never gets boring. This is what walking on untrodden snow is like!

Mariusz Bogdanowicz

Magazine of the ZAIKS Authors' Association No. 32 | December 2021