Michal Urbaniak - Constellation
(Live Recording at the Warsaw Philharmonic May 1973)
Polish Jazz/Fusion, MP3 @ 224
Michal Urbaniak was born on the 22nd June 1943 in Warsaw and has a central role in the development of jazz/fusion in the 70s in Poland. He's playing violin and saxophone.
He started his music education during high school in Lodz and continued from 1961 in Warsaw in the violin class of Tadeusz Wronski. He taught himself to play the saxophone. First performing with a dixieland band, later with Zbigniew Namyslowski and the Jazz Rockers, with whom he performed during the Jazz Jamboree Festival in 1961. After this, he was invited to play with Andrzej Trzaskowski and toured in the USA in 1962 with his band The Wreckers. After the band split up he moved to Scandinavia from 1965 to 1969 with his wife Urszula. Returning to Poland he formed his self-named Michal Urbaniak Group. They recorded their first international album "Parathypus B" in 1970. During the Montreux '71 Festival he was awarded by the Barklee College of Music in Boston. After many triumphant concerts in Europe and the USA, in May 1973 he played for the last time for a Polish audience and emigrated with his wife and vocalist Urszula Dudziak to the United States. In 1974 he formed the band "Fusion" that also adapted polish folk elements into his music.
He performed with famous artists like Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, George Benson, Billy Cobham, Lenny White, Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller, Quincy Jones and Ron Carter. In 1985 he was invited to play during the recording of "Tutu" by Miles Davis. Davis is reported to have said on this occasion: "Get me this fucking Polish fiddler !" He is playing on the track "Don't Lose your Mind".
Urszula Dudziak was born on the 22nd October 1943 in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. She was married to Michal Urbaniak. She is gifted with a remarkable five-octave vocal range. She has worked with artists like Lester Bowie, Bobby McFerrin or Jay Clayton. She also released solo albums from 1972 onwards.
Wojciech Karolak was born on the 28th May 1939 in Warsaw, Poland. In 1958 he started his career in the band "Jazz Believers" playing alto saxophone. Also a member in the band was Krystof Komeda, who later composed the soundtrack for Roman Polanski's movie "Rosemary's Baby" in 1967. His next career station was in The Wreckers (among Michal Urbaniak) playing tenor saxophone now. In 1961 he switched back to piano. 1962 he formed his own band. In 1964 he was the first musician to release a Jazz LP in Poland with his band "Kurylewicz Quintet" (LP "Go Right").
He left Poland in 1966 and moved to Sweden and played in Rock and Blues groups, as he said to make enough money to buy an appartment and a Hammond B-3 organ, which he did in 1973.