Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jacques Kuba Seguin – Litania Projekt (2013) ***

Adam Baldych - violin
Jacques Kuba Seguin - trumpet
Jonathan Cayer - piano
Frederic Alarie - bass
Kevin Warren - drums


By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by Canadian (of Polish origin) trumpeter / composer Jacques Kuba Seguin, recorded in a quintet lineup which features the Polish violinist Adam Baldych and Canadian musicians: pianist Jonathan Cayer, bassist Frederic Alarie and drummer Kevin Warren. They perform seven original compositions, five by Seguin and two by Baldych.

Musically the material is all over the place; starting with an obvious wink towards the music of the legendary Polish Jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stanko - the album's title and opening track are dedicated to him - it moves towards contemporary Classical, Blues and Modern Jazz, but doest not sit really in place in any specific style, which sometimes works fine but in this case is just chaotic. There are some nice melodies, but overall the music simply goes nowhere. Even the two tunes by Baldych, who usually writes excellent music, in this case, although better than the rest, are still way below his usual standard.

The performances are even more problematic. The trumpet and violin unisono sound is really dissonant and even painful at times, as if both are out of tune; as a result the combination of these two instruments is hard to swallow. Although all five musicians are highly skilled professionals, the overall result simply falls apart. There are problems with tempi, hesitation and basic lack of togetherness, which is essential in a small ensemble setting. Seguin and Baldych play several impressive solos, but those are hardly enough to save the day.

Some of the a.m. problems might be the result of a very problematic recording sound quality, which is harsh and unpleasant, badly balanced and seriously damaging the listening experience.

This is a classic example of an album which has a tremendous potential and turns out to be a failure. Good intentions don't cut it this time.


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