Sunday, October 2, 2011

Profesjonalizm - Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011) by Adam Baruch

Profesjonalizm (band)

Marcin Masecki - piano
Kamil Szuszkiewicz - trumpet
Michał Górczyński - clarinet, saxophon
Tomasz Duda - saxophone
Jerzy Rogiewicz - drums 
Wojciech Domagalski - double bass

Chopin Chopin Chopin (Lado ABC, 2011)

(Editor) Phenomenal review by Adam Baruch (check his music boutique of Marcin Macecki breakthrough recording...

Profesjonalizm is the name of the new sextet created and led by Polish Jazz pianist / composer Marcin Masecki, one of the greatest talents on the local scene in the recent years and the enfant terrible / eccentric artist spearheading the Jazz anti-establishment, a role that fits him like a glove. During my recent visit in Poland I was lucky to be invited to the concert the band performed in a dinky Warsaw restaurant called Mozaika, which remarkably managed to sustain the atmosphere (and look, not to mention the service) of the 1970s Socrealizm, completely oblivious to the changes around. The concert celebrated the release of this album, so the music was simply a live version of what is included here, in its entirety. I must say that I was completely unaware of what was about to happen musically and therefore the experience was a total culture shock, even though I am a difficult man to surprise in view of the heavy burden of my age upon me. Masecki and his cohorts: trumpeter Kamil Szuszkiewicz, saxophonists Michal Gorczynski and Tomasz Duda, bassist Piotr Domagalski and drummer Jerzy Rogiewicz played a stunning set of outlandish music (all composed by Masecki), which is so original, unique and devilishly clever that one's mind is completely boggled. How the hell did they manage to do it at all (live!) is beyond comprehension, but nevertheless they did it with a spectacular result. Listen to the studio version herein and imagine this being played live to get the scope of the task ahead.
As to the music itself, I'm not even trying to start describing it, as it is well beyond the scope of words (as most great music is). Suffice to say that it is a suite of sorts, in seven parts, which tells the story of Jazz from its earliest days (Ragtime) to now, flowing like a soundtrack to an imaginary movie, constantly (and unexpectedly) changing rhythms and scales, themes and patterns, but remarkably and completely coherently keeping a brilliant sense of unity. The rhythm section is absolutely dazzling, managing the impossible task of gluing this passionate and untamed music together. Masecki's piano work is a chapter in itself, which is worth studying separately, but it serves the role of the thematic / melodic beacon pointing the way ahead for of this music. During a short chat before the concert I asked Masecki about his musical influences; he mentioned some usual suspects but emphasized Thelonious Monk and Conlon Nancarrow, two superb examples of total non-conformism, suiting Masecki's image perfectly. The problem with non-conformism is often that eccentric artists become often self-centered and completely uncommunicative, which luckily enough does not apply to Masecki. In spite of all the lunacy herein, this is (amazingly) quite an easy album to listen to, against all odds. When I asked Masecki as to the nature of his music, he replied: "We are playing entertaining music" – well, he was after all right, in his own crazy way.
Now if anybody is wandering about the album's title, I must assure you that the album has absolutely nothing to do with the great Polish National composer Frederic Chopin. This is one more of Masecki's clever stunts, expressing his disgust and ridicule of the Polish Jazz scene's exploitation of Chopin's music in the recent years. Using this tongue in cheek / sarcastic reference Masecki protests against the "One can't go wrong by playing Chopin" attitude, where in fact one can go wrong and as the plentitude of available recorded evidence proves one does in most cases. So what do we have here: a work of a mad genius, a wizard, a prophet? Who am I to judge? Suffice to say I love this music, every note of it and most of all the chutzpah and complete disregard of convention – exactly the qualities I admire in Artists. Bless you, Marcin Masecki!

Check tune "Długi" from this album:

If you want to listen to broadcast containing more Marcin Masecki music in different formats and also some of his musical inspirations - check this podcast (link).

Author: Adam Baruch

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