Hubert Zemler (1980) — percussion
The Polish percussionist takes his inspiration from jazz, improvisation and other contemporary music forms. Zemler fuses these models to create a sound comparable to avant-garde American jazz of the 1960s. He also uses his indie platform to promote older jazz forms for today’s audiences.
Hubert Zemler was born in 1980 in Warsaw. His studies at the Karol Szymanowski National Academy of Music and the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw provided a background in classical-musical traditions and led him to the art of percussion. During this period he toured the Middle East playing the music of Krzysztof Komeda, the renowned Polish bandleader and composer, best known internationally for his soundtrack to Roman Polanski’s film Rosemary’s Baby. Zemler also joined the experimental jazz band TRIA. He has gone on to bring jazz into the realm of independent music, blending it with symphonic music, world music, rock, blues, pop and improvisation, and collaborating with institutions, bands and artists including the National Opera and Zbigniew Namysłowski.
After taking the bronze medal at the Delphic Games competition in South Korea in 2009, Zemler performed solo at home and abroad. His concert at Chłodna 25 in Warsaw in December 2011 was recorded by Lado ABC, the most significant independent music label on Poland’s contemporary music scene. Moped, Zemler’s live set of percussion improvisations, was released later that year. The album was praised by critics for its diverse influences and emotional impact. In his popmusic.pl review of the album, Marcin Marchwiński remarks on the percussionist’s talent for drawing wide sonic ranges from his instruments and blending them in a rich musical palette. Marchwiński writes,
The multiplicity of tones doesn’t in this case indicate an eclectic form of chaos, everything has its order, subsequent accents appear gradually – from delicate murmurs to dynamic, controlled figures composed by the percussion, the African rhythms of the balafon and the ravenous hits of the concert finale. Nonetheless, this thought-through performance doesn’t take away any of the dramaturgy or fresh, striking impression from the music.
Zemler is also part of the improvisational jazz band Horny Trees, together with Paweł Szamburski (electronic clarinet)and Maciej Trifonidis Bielawski (bass guitar). Lado ABC released their Branches of Dirty Delight in 2009, following a critically acclaimed eponymous debut in 2008, recorded on Kilogram Records. The band takes their metaphor of unbridled woods as the name and symbol of their sylvan approach to raw forms in improvised jazz.
In November 2012, Zemler and other musicians play in London during the Jazz and Experimental Music from Poland festival.