On November 11, 2018, the first edition of Silesian Drum Festival took place at the Chorzowskie Centrum Kultury theater in Chorzów, Poland. It was organized by the Śląskie Centrum Perkusyjne drum store. Together with our editorial team, we set off for Chorzów in the middle of the night (it really is scandalous to have to start a journey at 6:00 am on a national holiday!). The gates opened at noon, we received all the appropriate passes and began to look around. Having entered the building, we immediately noticed the exhibition of Meinl cymbals (the company was a co-organizer of the event). The participants of the festival came to see, touch and, above all, tap on cymbals of all kinds. The stand was so big that every drummer could certainly find something for him or herself. As we are interested in the bass guitar (although drums are a cool thing for our extrovert friends from the rhythm section), let us get to why the bass part of the editorial team was on this strictly percussive rally.
Well, the main purpose of the trip was to meet up with two bassists who appeared on this drumming fiesta: the Polish master, Piotr Żaczek, and Geoff Kraly from the US.
The first of those mentioned was Poland’s very own Piotr “Żaqu” Żaczek. The purpose of Piotr’s attendance at the event was to do a workshop devoted to the subject of playing in a rhythm section, which he conducted together with his long-time rhythm section colleague, drummer Robert Luty. The workshop took on the the form of a conference with the audience and was intended to show how the sound of the whole band depends on the selection of appropriate means of expression by the rhythm section. Among other topics, the gentlemen covered dynamics, proving it may only depend on the right arm and hand positioning (they showed how a drummer can play piano pianissimo and a bass player does not have to even touch the VOLUME knob to achieve the intended effect). Questions started to fly about in the room and were handled by the two musicians in an exhaustive manner with a lot of examples. The whole workshop was summed up with a mini concert. Among the songs performed, we heard “Dambi Balboo“, which is a track taken from the bassist’s 2009 solo album titled “Balboo“. In addition to their vast knowledge and experience, Żaczek and Luty showed a lot of class and heart in getting their message across. No wonder that in our country they are considered one of the best rhythm sections around. Respect!
Very soon, you will have the opportunity to see our interview with Piotr Żaczek, in which he will talk about his gear and musical plans.
Next on the bill was bassist Geoff Kraly – co-founder of the New York based Paris Monster. Before we go to the bass player and his performance, let’s stop for a moment on this duo, specifically the drummer. Have you ever tried to imagine that someone could be playing the drums, singing and playing the keyboard at the same time? Well, that is exactly what the drummer with this band does. His incredible divisibility of attention, limb independence, feeling and vocal lines (which many singers could be jealous of, make up an absolutely phenomenal character. Josh Dion is a world-class talent. We recommend checking him out as soon as possible. Back to Geoff, though… The bassist uses a pick, his lines are dub-linear, they fit in perfectly with everything Josh brings to the table. He is also very attentive and alert. That’s, of course, a must be because of his colleague, who has so much to do on stage that he probably will not find time to control the next part of his genius mind. The gentlemen from Paris Monster are fantastic musical acrobats. We recommend this music to all funk, soul and electronic music fans. Good work, guys!
A rig rundown of Geoff’s equipment and an interview we did with him after the duo’s performance is coming soon.
The drummers featured on the festival bill also included Mike Johnston, Kerim ‘Krimh’ Lechner and Wojtek Deręgowski.
The event was prepared, organized and executed very efficiently and the boys from Silesian Drum Center deserve a big round of applause. It was a very good debut and we can’t wait for the next edition!