Nikola Kołodziejczyk – The Art of Jazz
English translation of the film
Hello you tube, we are a trio– this is Michał Bryndal, Maciej Szczeciński, Nikola Kołodziejczyk.
We are here for you thanks to Drabina Rozwoju Foundation and we are going to talk about the way we
make music. The clue is to be spontaneous and make music while our show is going on. So we want to
show how it is going while we play alive and then discuss the details.
Is that right? Sure.
And this is just the way we do it. Michał has started to play a musical compostion without a title, we try
to listen to one another while playing and just tune in. You can notice that apart from playing the music
we try to communicate visually. We look at one another , I have a special way of visual communication
with Maciej and today just for Drabina Rozwoju Foundation we can reveal our secret system of
communication. We just show ourselves the next harmonic actions for example by closing or blinking
Would you like to add anything Michał to our system?
-Not really , after so many years of playing together this translates not only into playing with the trio, it is
just a struggle of narrative, ostinato meets a counterpoint and we make decisions , if I start, I start
looping, Nikola, for example enters with a riff on four and we come to a two bar . We make decisions
spontaneously alive – whether to continue or to stop it, when to stop or repeat it , Each and every
decision influences the music flow. Sometimes you could say we are stomping on one another , for
example when we feel we are stagnating, one thing is going on for too long, I play a loop, I can break it
at the end of the second cycle or break it in the second bar. It is a situation like – let’s see what happens
and how the band reacts. These are a bit of a team exercise, each one may stop a narrative at one moment
when the harmony or rhytm is over. It is interesting for the rest of the band to try to tune in. We make the
music together and we feel responsible for the final outcome. Everything depends on the context,
sometimes you feel you should not play blasts and then you find you can do it right now. Sometimes it
comes out as a joke, sometimes it gives you a new idea so we are given plenty of options to choose from.
We focus on motivic building and we are not afraid of breaking it if need be. What and how we play
comes from who we are, how adventurous, surprising we are. We try to build a narrative, introduce a
theme, a plot twist , an ending and of course we come to death or happy end, which may be but does not
have to be, you know.
I’ d like to draw your attention to the fact that we make up live music, no rehearsals, though we used to
have them We have been playing together for 12 years and try to create a compact song form. We try to
move forward and the moment we agree on what the first part of the song looks like we immediately
think about what we can do next. One of the criteria is that we try to make changes in an abrupt way. We
try to introduce as much form as possible until it is time to change. We don’t want to act like a Dj who
slowly introduces us to a time of change in the music form, although sometimes this happens to us too.
What we still have in our minds is how to create the illusion that the material is already rehearsed,
recorded on a CD and that you can buy it. Only later do we think about how we can call the piece.
So let’s play one more piece to prove that our music is alive and then discuss the details.
Music being played
And that’s the way it is.
So let’s try to break it into pieces.What can we do more? People call, ask questions about the way we do
it – so this is how we do it…
I play the music, Maciek listens and plays the sound that fits or not and guesses that since it was a G
sound it is probably an E sound. Exactly – everything is alive. At school we were taught about
ecclesiastical scales and others, so we know that there are at least seven and maybe ten or even eleven
sounds that fit. In fact each of the sounds can be justified. The most important thing is to stay in touch and
feel which way everything is going. We have been working together for so long that even our jokes are
Given that Maciek developed CIS, I hope it was CIS ( I can see he felt a little confued) everyone is trying
to listen and guess which way the music will go. The principle is very similar to that of improvised
theatre. In the USA, Chicago, for example, schools such as Second City have sprung up. They operate in
such a way that one actor goes on stage and says something to which another has to react. We do it the
same way. We follow the principle YES and… The idea is that we take what a colleague says without a
question and add our own, whatever it may be. As Michał said sometimes we can make we can things
difficult by adding our part , but generally we try cooperate. Our aim is to create a joint piece of work.
Sometimes one can break a song but generally it is good to know what one is doing.
As to the begining – Nikola started with something like a loop so I rhytmically go into the options. If I am
given a rhytmic bas it requires me to have some confidence that he is doing well – I am playing the
colour, not the rythm. At the same time I can also suggest something rhytmic myself. I do not know
whether it is for two phrases, three quarters but I can feel the pulse so I can start playing the pulse and I
can actually wait to see if it develpos into a loop to see how he plays. At the same time I can impose
something or Maciek can do so and then I can play around the bass riff that he introduces. In fact I
frequently do so. These options are crucial- to be free to choose what we feel – either we cooperate or
stop and introduce something new once we feel boredom.
We need to be aware that one of the options is not to play and let others do so.
Thank you very much for listening to our small recital combined with interesting news behind the curtain.
Thank you for watching the film and inviting us here by Drabina Rozwoju Foundation.