Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jaskułke & Wyleżoł - Duodram (2011)

Piotr Wyleżoł and Sławek Jaskułke are both prominent figures in Polish mainstream jazz so it is not surprising that this record was one of the most expected this year. Before I comment on music let me shortly introduce players. Piotr Wyleżoł leader career is somewhat more consistent and exquisite. His long collaboration with bassist Michał Barański and drummer Łukasz Żyta resulted in streak of excellent albums with "Piano Trio" (2006) and "Children's Episodes" (2010) being simply one of best cool jazz trios ever in Poland. As for Jaskułke his leader career is not equally convincing for me but I must admit that as sideman he brought a value to every project he was involved in with spotlight on such noteworthy albums in recent times as Krzysztof Pacan's "Facing The Challenge" (2011), Zbigniew Namysłowski's "Nice & Easy" (2009) or Wojtek Staroniewicz's "Alternations" (2008).
Also as for music styles this meeting seemed very promising indeed since Piotr Wyleżoł is master of silence, thoughtfulness and wamp melodies while Jasułke is much more bop-oriented, extravertic, vehement. I felt like it may be very interesting meeting of so different styles and yet so gifted pianists and musicians. So what is the outcome of such an enterprise?
The program of album is very interesting and begins with Kenny Wheeler's "Kind Folk" which is simply breathtakingly played (previously used by Wyleżoł's trio in rare concert with this English master of trumpet). Then alternating follow compositions by Jaskułke "My Way", "Preludiosum G" inspired of course by Chopin, "Movement I" and by Wyleżoł "Piece For Wietek" and "Prelude op. O". And as expected while Jaskułke pieces are warlike, agressive with a lot of thumping and beating of excellent Steinway piano, Wyleżoł's are filigree, delicate and refined. 
But of course I waited most for those moments when both players cooperate like in "Preludiosium G" which is all about dialogue between the artists. What is my impression? Positive but not without some minor objections because it somehow turned out that these duo efforts are almost entirely dominated by Jaskułke and his outward style while I believe it should be reverse. Wyleżoł play is at least equally interesting as Jaskułke and while Wyleżoł easily adjusts to Jaskułke noise style, Jaskułke is not able to follow Wyleżoł in his masterful excursions into silence like in "Prelude op. O" where Jaskułke ostinato rhythm support is oversimplified and sounds mechanical.
But regardless these minor objections I may recommend this album to any mainstream jazz lover, especially  since piano duos are not so often met nowadays.
PS. I would like to note very high editorial level of this issue by Fonografika recording company.  

Please, listen to fantasic opening tune by Kenny Wheeler titled "Kind Folk":

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (

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