Monday, May 12, 2014

Mateusz Kolakowski / Dave Liebman – Live At Jazz Standard, New York (2009)

Mateusz Kolakowski - piano
Dave Liebman - soprano saxophone, wooden flute


By Adam Baruch

This is a live recording captured at the NY Jazz Standard club by a duo comprising of young Polish Jazz pianist Mateusz Kolakowski and legendary American saxophonist Dave Liebman. Although Kolakowski and Liebman were email buddies for quite a while, they actually met in person just a few moments before this music was recorded, which explains why the majority of the material is based on Jazz standards. Of the six pieces on this album, five are standards (one is even repeated twice, taken from two different sets) and the remaining one is a free on the spot improvisation.

Kolakowski was at the time a Classical Music student and his Jazz tendencies were all self cultivated, which is quite apparent when listening to the music. He not only quotes Classical music themes but his entire approach to harmony and rhythm is strongly based in Classical music. This dichotomy between Classical music and Improvised music has certain charm, but is also a hindrance, which is hard to ignore. Liebman, on the other hand, is Godly, as always, with every note just in the right place and his virtuosity, taste and spirit of cooperation being impeccable.

Since this is a duo album, the decisive factor is the way the two musicians perform together, rather than their individual statements. It seems that the fact this music works out one way or another is due only to the enormous experience and musicality of Liebman, who is able to cope with Kolakowski's limitations, rather than the duo's spiritual unity. Nevertheless the overall result is certainly entertaining and worth being listened two, especially in view of its "one of its kind" setting, which can also be educational. The fact that Liebman is always open to work with young and less experienced musicians is truly commendable.

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