The past decade has been marked as a major refreshment of the jazz scene around the world, including key cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and London. This new generation of musicians made a real renaissance of the genre, once again taking it from the underground to the mainstream, attracting completely new audiences. The same mission is guided by the musicians of Wrocław based band EABS. They have been working on the concept of “reconstruction from deconstruction” since 2012, often redefining the classics from several decades ago, mixing them with the latest genres of contemporary urban music, creating a completely new quality and original sound. It is possible that many will claim that this is no longer jazz, but sometimes you have to demolish and rebuild to create something completely new – based on the old foundations.
The musicians’ camp in Wrocław who have been growing and developing at the legendary Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions at the now defunct Puzzle club (2012-2014). The record, which is the essence of these sessions, can be heard today on the first release bearing the acronym EABS – hardly available today, but formerly distributed for free on the cassette Puzzle Mixtape [Astigmatic Records, 2016]. Among the guests of these sessions were MED (Stones Throw), Coultrain, Ben Lamar Gay (International Anthem) and Jeru The Damaja. The closure of the club was an impulse for further development, which meant that the EABS band grew into one of the most important voices of the Polish jazz community in recent years. The audience had to wait almost three years for the debut EABS’ material, when the collective began to move away from hip-hop being understood as a genre in which the rapper plays the first fiddle. The uniqueness of EABS, however, is determined not only by the instrumental mastery and topicality of their language of expression, but also by hip-hop provenance and socio-political commitment.
In 2017, after the critically acclaimed debut album EABS Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda), devoted to the less known works of Komeda, the band decided to keep the momentum and release two more vinyl records. The first (black), recorded live in Katowice – Repetitions (Letters to Krzysztof Komeda) Live at Jazz Club Hipnoza and the second (pink) recorded on tape and released on the British label 22a Music, entitled Kraksa / Svantetic, crowning their work with the so called “Komeda’s triptych”. The third (green) studio album received many great reviews in Poland and abroad, was promoted on many radio stations in Poland and around the world, including Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio 6 Music), Thris Tian (Worldwide FM), Lefto (Radio Brussels) and Andrew Jervis (Bandcamp). Some of the biggest polish magazines and newspapers (such as Polityka, Przekrój, Rzeczpospolita) praised their work. The band also appeared on the cover of the Jazz Forum magazine. The excellent reception sold out the entire first edition of albums within a month and a half of the premiere.
Shortly after the premiere of their debut album, EABS played in such prestigious venues as Studio S1 in Warsaw, at the Shakespeare Theater in Gdańsk, at the NFM in Wrocław or the NOSPR hall in Katowice and at some of the largest Polish festivals such as Woodstock in Kostrzyn nad Odrą, Tauron Nowa Muzyka, OFF Festival in Katowice, Open’er in Gdynia and a concert tour at Męskie Granie. The band also played the main jazz festivals in Poland: Jazz nad Odrą, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, Jazz Jamboree, Bielska Zadymka Jazzowa and many more. EABS has appeared many times in the UK, playing at vibrant London venues such as Total Refreshment Center, KOKO, Ronnie Scott’s as well as clubs in Manchester and Liverpool. They performed at XJAZZ in Berlin and such showcase festivals as Eurosonic (Groningen) or The BuSH Festival (Budapest). EABS also played several concerts in China (Xiamen, Guangzhou, Shenzhen). Later, the band also appeared in Hungary, Romania, Austria and Montenegro.
Despite the fact that the reinterpretations of Krzysztof Komeda’s music performed by EABS were very far from the originals, many people wondered what their original album, which appeared in mid-2018, could sound like. This time the band focused on Slavic mythology and Polish demonology, inviting British musician Tenderlonious to cooperation. The main inspiration for this album was the world famous “Slavic melancholy”, in which the band tried to find their own DNA. Slavic Spirits is an attempt to contact the spirit of the irretrievably lost culture of Slavs living close to nature, as well as with their world burdened with serfdom, which, due to the illiteracy of the people, will never be thoroughly researched. It means that it can only be referred to through the language of emotions. Therefore, under the influence of the deliberations of many musicians, historians, journalists, writers and even psychotherapists, compositions that the band got out of the depths of their spirit and imagination began to appear very quickly.
In October 2019, after more than 33 years, the archive record from the first landing of Sun Ra Arkestra in Poland was released to the public. On the occasion of the Sun Ra Live in Kalisz 1986 premiere, EABS has prepared a special concert related to this release. Moments later, during the lockdown, a deep reflection on the philosophy of the incomer from Saturn influenced the recording session and the final shape of the album Discipline of Sun Ra. Then there were quite serious changes in the selection of songs and even more ambitious attempts at the recreation of originals, pushing some compositions not only towards hip-hop (in the spirit of inspired by Gil Scott-Heron or David Axelrod), but also genres such as juke or house. “By infinity, Mr.Ra means creating jazz of the future, but also covering the past”- the same idea is carried by polish musicians. On the Slavic Spirits album, EABS was inspired by the ancient past. As we now know, discovering Sun Ra’s concept wasn’t coincidental. He also believed and shared the philosophy of coming through the darkness to see the sun and enlightenment. In case there’s no hope for living on our planet, we need to look for metaphorical escapism. That’s where the idea of building a cosmic ship under ‘Polish Space Program’ was born.