Wednesday, August 29, 2012

RGG - Unfinished Story (Ecnalubma, 2007)by Adam Baruch

RGG (band)

Przemyslaw Raminiak - piano

Maciej Garbowski - bass
Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums

Unfinished Story (Ecnalubma, 2007)

This is the 3rd album by the Polish Jazz ensemble RGG, which consists of pianist Przemyslaw Raminiak, bassist Maciej Garbowski and drummer Krzysztof Gradziuk. As the title suggests, it is dedicated to the memory of the great Polish Jazz pianist / composer Mieczyslaw Kosz, who died tragically at the ridiculous age of 29, leaving behind him just a handful of recordings and a memory of a brilliant musician, who was destined for greatness, but missed the opportunity; an unfinished story indeed.

The Polish Jazz scene produced a multitude of tribute albums over the years, most of which commemorate the Godfather of Polish Jazz, pianist / composer Krzysztof Komeda. Many of these albums are excellent and worth listening to, but the decision made by RGG to follow a less obvious path (which seems to me their favorite modus operandi) and create a tribute to a much lesser known figure is truly courageous and admirable, especially in view of the fact that rather than present their interpretation of the music composed by Kosz, they created an "in spiritu" homage.

Of the twelve tracks on the album only two are compositions by Kosz and one is a classical piece, which he used as a basis for improvisation (see "Reminiscence", his only album released during his lifetime). The rest of the album is all original and was mostly composed by Raminiak, Garbowski or co-composed by these two. Two tracks are group improvisations and are credited to the trio. The members of RGG concentrate on the less obvious side of the Kosz musical heritage. Although mostly portrayed as a romantic and lyrical player in the Bill Evans vein, he also displayed an enormous longing for the free form improvisation, keeping the melodic fluidity intact, an element RGG members explore to the max. Therefore, although the album is seemingly almost romantically melodic, this is just a clever illusion masterfully created by the RGG musicians. In fact an attentive listening will reveal that most of the music is full of free elements, amalgamated in a way that emphasizes an "organized and orderly freedom".

As usual, RGG members display a phenomenal interplay, switching the spotlight from one instrument to another, changing tempi and melodic hints, all of that with elegance and flair, which keep them apart from most other piano trios in Jazz today.

Although not explicitly specified on the album's cover, it was recorded in the legendary Studio Tokarnia and engineered by Jan Smoczynski, the studio owner, a guarantee of superb sonic quality. The musical quality is of course beyond reproach, and this album joins the other albums by RGG as some of the most important Polish Jazz recordings and superb gems of piano trio Jazz.

By Adam Baruch

Track listing:
1. Sunrise [09:53]
2. Reminiscence [04:44]
3. Psalm III [05:19]
4. Signs [05:53]
5. Only Sadness Is Beautiful [03:39]
6. Threedom [05:33]
7. Loneliness [05:24]
8. Fate (Fryt BB-C) Travels [02:49]
9. Ikar's Flight [01:06]
10. We May Meet Up In The Sky [06:06]
11. Unfinished Story [04:38]
12. Polovitzan Dances [03:08]

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