Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Henryk Miskiewicz / Simple Acoustic Trio – Lyrics (2001)

Henryk Miskiewicz - saxophone
Marcin Wasilewski - piano
Slawomir Kurkiewicz - bass
Michal Miskiewicz - drums


By Adam Baruch

This is an excellent album by veteran Polish Jazz saxophonist / composer Henryk Miskiewicz, accompanied here by the best Polish piano trio called at the time of the recording Simple Acoustic Trio, which consist of pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz. There is a family connection of course as Michal is Henryk's son. The quartet performs seven tunes, four of which are original compositions by the leader, one by Wasilewski, one is a standard and the remaining one is by the US composer Maria Schneider.

Neither Miskiewicz nor Simple Acoustic Trio needs any introductions to people familiar with the Polish Jazz scene; Miskiewicz has been active on the scene since the early 1970s and over time played in several important ensembles like Sun Ship and was member of groups led by many of the leading Polish Jazz musicians as well as leader of his own groups. Simple Acoustic Trio are commonly recognized as the leading Polish piano trio, propelled to fame as the rhythm section on the seminal ECM recordings by trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and now recording for ECM on their own.

Therefore there are no surprises here as far as the level of performances, which are simply spotless. Miskiewicz plays some great lyrical lines and the support from the trio is simply phenomenal, inventive and daring in some aspects but always solid and within the boundaries specified as the albums motto: music as a device to tell a story in a non-verbal setting. All the compositions selected for this album, original or not, fit the bill perfectly and the overall result is a prime example of intelligent modern mainstream Jazz, which remains fresh and moving in complete disregard of the passing time.

This is definitely an album no Polish Jazz music collector will be able to skip in their collection and a great example of how mainstream Jazz can remain valid and artistically sound today. Highly recommended!

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