Among the few worldwide known jazz violinists Zbigniew Seifert stands out as a peculiar figure. Consider that this man allegedly stepped into jazz only by accident, that is “to impress the girls”, as he stated once. Seifert was born in Krakow in 1946 and enjoyed classical training, delving deep into the virtuoso repertoire from Bach to Tchaikovsky. It was still during his academic years that he met his new love. He passed the classical exams more or less as an obligation since he already had other things in mind, i.e. how to create an individual jazz vocabulary on his main instrument.
Seifert didn’t follow the beaten track. He loves to explain that he plays the violin like he imagines that John Coltrane would have treated it. Coltrane was a big influence to him as the Swedish trombone player Eje Thelin was. His first jazz experience happened with a trumpet man, as a member of Tomasz Stanko’s band, where he learned to play a free and lyrical style. Arriving at the other side of the iron curtain a short period later, Joachim Kuehn acted as Seifert’s mentor.
With giant and successful steps Zbigniew stepped into the western world: Being already known there through a concert he had given during the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1969 with Stanko he started recording with loads of prominent players from Kuehn to Mariano and Kriegel, particularly earning enthusiastic reactions for his duo set with Albert Mangelsdorff in Donaueschingen in 1976. From the next year on he amazed the scene in the States where he was quickly known as “Zbiggy”, recorded with Miles Davis sidemen, with Oregon and Kenny Barron to name but a few. It is from this highly creative period that this MPS recording gem stems.
”Man of The Light” includes six pieces which showcase Seifert’s playing in a beautiful way. You can clearly distinguish his classical background by listening to both of the duo tracks: In “Stillness”, teaming up with bass player Cecil McBee, he swings in tender overdubs, creating a sort of chamber music as he does to even greater effect in “Love In The Garden”, a reminiscence of his encounter with Jasper van’t Hof in Berlin in 1973. Zbigniew’s other side, that of his following Coltrane and McCoy Tyner, is very much present in “Turbulent Plover” and in the title track for which he praised especially Billy Hart’s work on drums. And certainly we don’t forget to mention the overwhelmingly dynamic opening track “City Of Spring”, in which his partner Joachim Kuehn takes the lead in a breathtaking solo towards the closing part. This piece being dedicated to his fresh Manhattan experiences shows that this guy from Poland was in full speed ahead at this time. What a pity Seifert died too early, in 1979. So this album can only be one of a few masterpieces by Zbiggy.