Saturday, January 26, 2013

Maciej Fortuna – Sahjia (2012)

Maciej Fortuna - trumpet
Piotr Lemanczyk - bass
Krzysztof Gradziuk - drums

PRIVATE EDITION






By Adam Baruch

This is the third album as a leader by young Polish Jazz trumpeter Maciej Fortuna and also his third album as a leader or co-leader released in 2012, which definitely seems to be his breakthrough year. The album was recorded in a trio setting with the excellent rhythm section comprising of bassist Piotr Lemanczyk and drummer Krzysztof Gradziuk (of RGG fame), recorded live during several of the trio's performances at various venues around Poland. Six of the tunes appearing on the album were composed by Fortuna and the remaining two by Lemanczyk. There is also an unlisted bonus track, which features pianist Lukasz Ojdana as a guest.

The album is obviously a document, capturing the trumpeter at this specific stage of his career, rather that a pre-planned studio recording, which usually is intended as a next stage in any musician's path of continuous development. As such it is absolutely perfect in what it does, with the natural open sound, no editing and somewhat casual straightforward capture of the music, including the audience's reaction. Clearly the music is at the center here and everything else is superfluous.

The most striking effect of these recordings is the importance of the teamwork, which is absolutely stunning. This is not a leader / sidemen situation, as all three players contribute equally to the overall result at all stages. These players are undoubtedly virtuosi on their respective instruments, as anybody familiar with the Polish Jazz scene already knows, but in this situation the trio is definitely much more powerful than the sum of its respective ingredients. Also the musical ambience prevailing on these recordings is significantly more free and open than on the earlier recordings by Fortuna, which enables him and his cohorts to take off and hover above the earthly plane defined by the basic melody and chord changes. With the support of this specific rhythm section, the possibilities seem to completely unlimited.

In addition to the leader's soloing, which of course is the albums focal point, both the bassist and the drummer solo extensively, turning the music into a spectacular listening experience, full of emotional fireworks and uplifting displays of sheer musical delight. We should be grateful that Fortuna decided to capture this music for posterity, as it would have simply faded out into the past leaving those, who didn't attend these concerts, without the opportunity to enjoy its glory.

Fortuna is definitely a player to be watched closely in the future. With 2012 behind us the future looks decisively very bright for him, and his position at the center of the local scene seems to be ensured. He deserves to be recognized worldwide and hopefully this will be the next stage of his career. In the meantime a big thank you for a wonderful musical 2012 - Well done indeed!

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