Thursday, March 31, 2011

Marcin Wasilewski Trio - Faithful (2011) by Maciej Nowotny

First song on the album, known to many as Sting's "Secret Marriage", like "Diamonds and Pearls" by Prince on "January" or "Hyperballad" by Bjork on "Trio", on previous issues by this trio, is clearly a bow toward pop audience. Originally composition by Hans Eisler, titled "An den kleinen Radioapparat", lyrics written by Bertold Brecht, is also the link with great tradition of German lieder as impersonated by Schubert, Schumann or Mahler.
Next is first composition by Marcin Wasilewski, "Night Train To You", first of many gems from his pen proving that he equals in compositional talent to Esbjorn Svensson, Tord Gustavsen or even Keith Jarrett.  While rehearsing this song many great tunes exploiting train ride motif come to mind from "Chattanooga Choo Choo" to "Take the 'A' Train" (check Oscar Peterson version) or Pat Metheny's "Last Train Home". Michał Miskiewicz play on drums should be highlighted not only on this high-octane tune but also throughtout the whole album.   
Third is title track, a composition by Ornette Coleman from "The Empty Foxhole" (1968) album featuring Don Cherry (tr) and Charlie Haden (b) but famous due to Ornette Coleman's son, Denardo, playing on drums who at that time was...10 years old! Although this album is not my favourite, I like more "Free Jazz" (1959), "A Shape of Jazz To Come" (1961) or "Sound Grammar" (2006), but it nonetheless possesses this Ornettian element of madness, liberty, rejection of any conventions. Wasilewski's version is in-depth dialogue with great master of free jazz signalling perhaps new direction his music will take in years to come.
Fourth song "Mosaic", again composition of Wasilewski, shows why this trio is so famous and appreciated: inner energy is accompanied by stellar level of interplay. Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian would applaud this tune I am sure.
Next song, standard, "Song of the Young Sad Man" is best known from terrific Shirley Bassey or Roberta Flack versions but our reference point should be Keith Jarrett's (p) one from album "Tribute" (1989) recorded with Gary Peacock (b) and Jack DeJohnette (d). You should definitely check out both versions to enjoy wholly interpretation offered by Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miśkiewicz.  
Sławek Kurkiewicz, who plays on double bass, brought to trio next tune titled "Oz Guizos" by Hermeto Pascoal's, Brazilian day-dreamer, multi-instrumentalist, a man haunted by one of the strangest rhythms in the universe. With this song I would like to underline incredible level of recording as supervised by Manfred Eicher: music flows as effortlessly as a butterfly on spring meadows heated by shy Northern sun.   
"Song For Świrek" bears this unmistakable stamp of Wasilewski talent that is mixture of both lyricism and inner dynamism: it's like enjoying life in spite of all fears and grievances (song is dedicated to prematurely deceased Marek Świerkowski). 
Next "Woke Up in the Desert", another splendid song by Wasilewski, is founded on extremely simple three-note riff in turn taken by piano, double bass, drums and accordingly transformed in series of light as a feather improvisations. 
Penultimate "Big Foot" is composition Paul Bley (p) wrote for his album recorded in 1970 for ECM with Gary Peacock (b) and Billy Elgart (d). Elgart's style: bopish, energetic, masculine is very interestingly reflected by Michał Miskiewicz sensitive and spacious drumming.  
Finally, "Lugano Lake", another original from Wasilewski, refers to a location where album was actually recorded. It is farewell song played in serene mood in order to comfort audience for inevitable regret coming from realization that this hauntingly beautiful music is actually coming to the end.        
Though superficially easy-to-listen, melodic and accessible music on this album is in fact adventurous journey into what is best in world avant jazz tradition. Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz, Miskiewicz and Manfred Eicher's ECM prove that in this world full of obtrusive extravertism in the style of Lady Gaga, Rihanna or Justin Bieber there is still space for introvertic music that is not only infinetely refined but also capabale to cope succcesfully for audience attention. Splendid achievement!      

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (


  1. I've been waiting so long for this! I have to wait till the 18th of April in the UK though :(

  2. And it's worthy to wait and buy your own copy: sound delivered by Manfred Eicher is mind-blowing ;-)


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