Friday, June 22, 2012

Maciej Grzywacz - Forces Within (2006)

Maciek Grzywacz - guitar

Maciej Sikała - saxophone
Piotr Lemańczyk - double bass
Tyler Hornby - drums

Forces Within (2006)

To be perfectly honest, it seems as if the amount of excellent jazz groups appearing practically every year now throughout the world, including in Poland, is enough to make fans dizzy ( - and where's this 'death of jazz' one hears about?!), while that of reviewers - particularly those who constantly strive to stay on top of it all, as well as the ever more rancorous ones - is capable of causing states of depressive anxiety. Not only is there not enough time in a lifetime to listen to all of the music out there that's worth listening to - from time to time, at least, one would like to get a hold of something that deserves a solid panning and pan it, but there's nothing of the sort here! 

A group that doesn't by any means deserve panning is the quartet of guitarist Maciek Grzywacz. The album's character is conveyed well by its title - the music is impressive in its boldness, energy and clarity. Its communicative power comes from a mastery of those elements that are specific to jazz, primarily a rhythmic unity among all of the musicians, that specific sort of togetherness in time that isn't present in European art music or in rock. Besides that there are the dynamics, sound, phrasing - everything on a high level of quality.

It's difficult to praise any of the musicians specifically - they all work together excellently, and shine in their improvisations. It's hard not to point out, however, that it's good that Tyler Hornby - as opposed to anyone else - was in the drummer's chair. I don't recall having had the occasion to hear this drummer prior to this, so a natural question that came to my mind was - why was an imported musician brought into the quartet for this project? After all, Poland has a few drummers now that aren't bad at all. The issue was clarified for me immediately at the beginning of the album, after which I only became more and more convinced that the line-up was ideal for this project. Hornby performs the fundamental tasks of a jazz drummer perfectly, maintaining the rhythmic nucleus of the music with an iron hand, while being constantly active, supportive, and filling out the background with sensitivity and imagination. In tandem with Lemańczyk, Tyler Hornby creates a stable and powerful fundament for Grzywacz and Sikała, leaving them free and unfettered to build their improvisational tales. "Forces Within" is an excellent album, worthy of recommendation to all mainstream jazz lovers. 

Track listing:
1. Right Balance [08:43]
2. Forces Within [06:58]
3. Chinook [06:19]
4. 26-2 [05:39]
5. More Than Four [06:37]
6. Central Park West [05:35]
7. Half an Apple [05:44]

By Robert Buczek

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