Sunday, February 19, 2012

Brad Terry & Joachim Mencel - Live In Fort Andross (Fonografika, 2009)

Brad Terry - clarinet, whistle

Joachim Mencel - piano
Live In Fort Andross (Fonografika, 2009)

(...) "Live in Fort Andross" was recorded during a concert at Fort Andross in Brunswick, Maine (USA). (...) Well, yes - live recordings are not anything special - the history of jazz knows myriad such cases. In this case however, the situation is even a little odd. Since Brad Terry is a very good clarinetist, but he is also famous for a special improvisational technique - whistling. This makes the disc particularly interesting and places the music in a specific mood. (...) In short - the disc consists of a very smooth and melodic musical dialogues with clarinet, piano and whistle. 

American Brad Terry has been working with Polish pianist Joachim Mencel since 1993. They played repeatedly tours in Poland and the USA. Concerts both in duo and in quartet, they even prepared a special project for string orchestra and jazz quartet. CD "Live in Fort Andros"s is the crowning achievement of their cooperation. Duo performs both compositions of Joachim Mencel as well as few well known standards. Modest instrumentation makes the well-known songs sound like a completely different stories. For example (...) 'Just Friends' where you need a good moment to analyze the melody and harmony, to guess what kind of track they are playing. However, these modifications are carried out within acceptable limits, and that makes it especially good - very good. (...)

As far as jazz pianists in Poland, the students at Polish music schools are lucky that level of education is extremely high. There are so many great instrumentalists (...)! Worth mentioning is the case of Marcin Wasilewski, who in recent years added so much to the music of Tomasz Stanko (...). It is interesting that every few years there is some new revelation on the Polish jazz scene, and the audiences and critics - rightly - melt in ecstasy over them. Young pianists come on the scene very quickly and very dynamically. (...) Let us mention super-star Leszek Mozdzer (...), young star - Pawel Kaczmarczyk. And what about very energetic Slawomir Jaskulke? Or lyrical Michal Tokaj? And "multifunctional" Piotr Wylezol? The list is really long. 

(...) However - in this list of brilliant Polish pianists  there should always be a place for Joachim Mencel. He is an instrumentalist who is not afraid of challenges, experimenting a lot, playing with many different musicians, with the smaller and larger ensembles, but he never loses (...) his style. Very lyrical, emotional rather than intellectual, but not devoid of virtuosity. This is presented on the CD "Live in Fort Andross. 

Brad Terry? (...) Terry played with such musicians as Dizzy Gillespie, Red Mitchell and Buddy Tate. (...) Brad Terry is more economical than lavish - which is always appreciated by students and other musicians. Joachim Mencel and Brad Terry get on very well, and despite cameral duo setting, their play is very vigorous, which is perfectly showed on their latest album. 

And one more thing about the whistle: Terry's instrument is much more then musical curiosity, it is actually completely autonomous and as good as any "classical" instrument. After hearing "Live in Fort Andross" indulgent smiles caused by the word "whistler" will disappear for sure. 

Track listing: The Old Country; Free Whistle; Just Friends; Tu i teraz; All Alone; My Home; Springtime; Mark’s Tune; We’re Done!

By Maciej Sabal

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