SBB / Józef Skrzek Bookmark and Share


In his early carrier, Skrzek was associated with the groups Ślężanie, Ametysty and Breakout. In 1971, he created the progressive-rock group Silesian Blues Band (with Jerzy Piotrowski and Apostolis Anthimos) and also recorded for a time with Czesław Niemen. In 1971 he formed the band SBB (first know as Silesian Blues Band, later as Szukaj, Burz, Buduj – Polish for "Search, Break up, Build").

The initial line-up saw, apart from the group's leader, two individuals: Apostolis "Lakis" Anthimos (g), a 17-year-old Polish-born son of Greek immigrants, and Jerzy Piotrowski (dr). SBB started to work with Czesław Niemen as a group called Niemen. The summer of 1973 saw the group's breakup as Czesław Niemen and the Silesian Blues Band was transfigured into SBB..

The band's first official release, which was a live album, was recorded on the 18th and 19th of April 1974, barely two months after the musicians' public debut as [SBB]. The album contained vivid and reckless music recalling Jimmy Hendrix and Cream, abounding with hectic guitar solos and distorted bass lines as well as quite a few lyrical piano pieces.

After heavy touring recordings began in the Polish Radio 3 studios in Warsaw for the second album, Nowy Horyzont.. Simultaneously, the group worked with other musicians during collaborative projects and concerts like jazz musicians Tomasz Stanko and Tomasz Szukalski and rocksinger Halina Frackowiak.

In 1978 SBB released an album (Follow my dream) to break the international market. They toured outside Poland frequently. Weariness came in 1979. Strenuous toil of the past years finally marked its presence. The arrival of a new member, Slawomir Piwowar helped to revive the spirit in the band for the time being. But the 1980 album Memento z Banalnym Tryptykiem (Memento with a banal triptych) turned out to be the band’s swan song. The group's autumn tour in West Germany was their very last...

They did perform on and off over the years to come but Skrzek started focussing more on his solo projects. Over the following decades he performed with a number of artist and ad-hoc created bands, but mostly involved himself with theater and church music, as well as movie soundtracks. He is well-noted for his live performances not only on conventional concerts but also in a variety of other venues (e.g., his improvisations on summer solstice nights in Silesian Planetarium). In May 2004 SBB performed five gigs in Poland. This was followed in 2005 by an extensive tour around Poland and new studio album, entitled New Century.

On the web:

- http://www.skrzek.com/skrzek
- http://www.apostolis.pl
- http://www.sbb.pl

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What do we think:

DB: Currently wildy popular with prog-rock collectors around the world. An rightly so cause SBB and Skrzek made some highly progessive albums at the start of the seventies. Skrzek cunningly incorporated Polands jazz tradition with the rock and blues music he already made with Breakout. You have to handle 30 minute long jazz-rock improvisations though but if that's your cup of tea SBB is your band. From 1979 he incorporates synthesizer experiments into his music and releases more under his own name.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪ - SBB - 1974

♪♪♪♪ - Nowy Horyzont  - 1975

♪♪♪ - Pamięć  - 1976

♪♪♪ - Ze Słowem Biegnę do Ciebie - 1977  

Skrzek solo:

♪♪♪♪ - Pamiętnik Karoliny - 1979

♪♪♪ - Ojciec chrzestny Dominika - 1980

Further listening : 1977 Jerzyk ; 1978 SBB; 1978 Follow My Dream; 1978 SBB  
1979 Welcome; 1979 Slovenian Girls; Józefina - 1981; Ogród Luizy (z Haliną Frąckowiak) - 1981; Ambitus Extended (z Tomaszem Szukalskim) - 1983; Wojna światów - Następne stulecie - 1983; Podróż w krainę wyobraźni - 1985; Kantata Maryjna - 1987; Live - 1989; Wracam - 1990;Twój dom wschodzącego słońca - 1993; Anioł się zwiastuje - 1997; Kolędy - 1997; Pokój Saren Piano - 1998; Dzwonią dzwoneczki, muzyka gra, a kolęda nadal trwa - 2001; Akustycznie - 2003; Kantata Maryjna - 2003; U stóp krzyża - 2003; Viator - Znak Pokoju - 2005; Maria z Magdali - 2006; La Tempete - 2007

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided