Kroke - Quartet, Live at Home
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Quartet Live at Home
Oriente Musik (

cd cover Kroke's homecoming concerts at Radio Krakow Studios on October 9th and 10th, 2003 provide the material for this recording and mark a special time for the band. It was an opportunity to introduce percussionist Tomasz Grochot as a permanent member and also an chance for the band to take stock of their career after more than a decade. The ensemble was founded in 1992 at the initiative of three friends, all graduates of the Krakow Music Academy. Tomasz Kukurba on viola, vocals, flute and darabuka, Jerzy Bawol on accordion, Tomasz Lato on double bass create sounds of sheer beauty, rhythmical perfection and deep emotions. Although Klezmer is their main influence (Kroke means "Krakow" in Yiddish), their studies, their fascination with jazz and avant garde music, and their talent means they create original, timeless tunes that may sound like a lot of other things but are not quite any of them.

This record excels on two levels: the perfection of the musicianship and the smartness of the source material. It takes a lot of attitude and talent to do that and Kroke fly with it. There are tunes on this record that are just perfect - "Sun," "Usual Happiness," "Light in the Darkness" and especially "Ajdejano" spring to mind, and the rest are of an equal caliber. There are a lot of bands around who try to do what Kroke do, to create a jazz-tinged, free flowing, Klezmer amalgam, but not many can do it with the same panache. There are moments where instead of four separate musicians you hear a single sound, composite moments of beauty that transport you to those nights in Krakow two years ago.

Quartet Live at Home encapsulates the band on one of their bright moments. Followers of Kroke will need this record, but it comes highly recommended for a wider audience, as well. - Nondas Kitsos

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