Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wierba & Schmidt Quintet feat. Dante Luciani - Black Monolith (SJRecords, 2011)

Wierba & Schmidt Quintet
Piotr Schmidt - trumpet
Marcin Kaletka - tenor saxophone
Michał Wierba - piano
Michał Kapczuk - double bass
Sebastian Kuchczyński -drums
Dante Luciani - trombone

SJRecords001, 2011

I read and hear so many positive opinions about this record that I assume it must be good but my review will be a little bit more balanced. Certainly I see many strong sides but there are also some flaws in this music which make this album a disappointment, at least as far as I am concerned.  That's crucial here, my point of view is specific, though I am enamoured in jazz but jazz means for me freedom. That's why when I listen to jazz as played by for example Branford Marsalis I simply yawn and soon fall asleep. I admire technical perfection but I see no point in imitating what is already long gone in jazz. 

The same may be said about Wierba & Schmidt Quintet: Piotr Schmidt (trumpet), Marcin Kaletka (tenor saxophone), Michał Wierba (piano), Michał Kapczuk (double bass), Sebastian Kuchczyński (drums). Their play is as impeccable and meticulous as possible but it somehow does not move me, I remain indifferent. I believe at Music Academy exams they cartainly shall get highest marks for this performance. Perfect sound they produce (Piotr Schmidt trumpet being always a focus of attention throughout this record) is augmented by Dante Luciani on trombone who adds depth to sweetness of Schimdt trumpet, emphasis to Wierba subdued piano and liveliness to crystal-clear play by rhythm section.

But regardless all this well-deserved praise this music somehow does not fulfill its promise. I associate "Black Monolith" with Stanley Kubrick's "Oddysey 2001" and famous shot with astronaut approaching black monolith which symbolizes something alien, mysterious, metaphysical, perhaps in ourselves, but music on this album never indeed touches this sphere. 

Never except one moment which I want especially high-lite that is Stepanka Balcarova composition "Profoundity of the Badger" (more about Balcarova debut album "Inner Spaces" here). On this track technical craftmanship of players meet with right material and their message reaches deep into my jazz soul. I expect more such moments on their next recordings since I am sure that there is great potential in this band yet uncovered...

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny

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