Saturday, September 1, 2012

RGG Trio - Scandinavia (2003) by Adam Baruch

RGG Trio

Przemysław Raminiak (piano)
Maciej Garbowski(doublebass)
Krzystof Gradziuk (drums)

Scandinavia (2003)

This is the debut album by the Polish Jazz ensemble RGG, which consists of pianist Przemyslaw Raminiak, bassist Maciej Garbowski and drummer Krzysztof Gradziuk. The album was recorded live in the Polish Radio Studio in Katowice as a result of the trio winning a competition the preceding year. At the time the trio was not using the RGG moniker and was known simply as Raminiak-Garbowski-Gradziuk Trio. The album includes seven original compositions, four of which are by the pianist and three by the bassist.

Although obviously a work of young musicians, this is an incredibly impressive debut recording by any standard. The performances are remarkably mature and the compositions are both beautifully melodic and startlingly complex and excellently crafted. The overall level of this album is a clear indication of the potential this trio would fully develop in the years to come, reaching the status of one of the best Jazz ensembles in Europe today.

As usual with RGG, it is all about interplay and cooperation. Although on this recording they perform similarly to the "classic" piano trio, with the piano often in the lead, the amount of solo space given to the rhythm section is higher than normal, expressing the egalitarianism and full sharing of performance duties by all three musicians. The arrangements of the compositions allow for expanded solo improvisations, which results in the individual tracks to be longer (mostly over ten minutes long) than the trio would utilize in future recordings. The drums are slightly too loud and dominant (at times), again something the trio will learn to avoid later on. But in all fairness, all things considered, this is still an astounding debut, way better than many albums recorded by Jazz veterans of international repute.

In retrospect one can see that in the span of the decade since RGG got together, their recordings are a wonderful evidence of artistry in the making, getting stronger and above all constantly developing. After all they are still incredibly young and the world is all ahead. I do wish them all the best as they give me so much pleasure in their music. God Bless!

This album is only available in a limited edition pressing and I doubt it is available anywhere, so perhaps it's time to consider a remastered reissue?

By Adam Baruch

1. A Moment Worth A While
2. Three For Brad
3. Everything About You
4. Scandinavia
5. The Truth
6. Victoria
7. In Him We Trust

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