Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sebastian Zawadzki - Luminescence (2014)

Sebastian Zawadzki - piano

Luminescence (2014)










By Maciej Nowotny

We witness here on this blog many debuts that are often good or very good. It usually means that young musicians mastered their instrument to the degree allowing them a free pursuit of their own artistic destiny. But few of them do that. There is a vast difference between becoming the musician and... the artist. The more we appreciate when it happens that the debutante turns out to be at the same time a unique artistic individuality. This is a case with the pianist Sebastian Zawadzki.

Approximately two years ago he started to bomb us with his albums issued at a rate of machine gun. In 2012 "Tone Raw" by  Tone Raw, in 2013 "Live at Torun" by International Jazzpocalypse and "Tage" by Zawadzki / Prasniewski / Wosko featured him as a member of young promising bands. Although he was only one of many in these projects but I immediately realized that the scale of his talent hugely exceeds what is usual, typical or ordinary. It was obvious he is singing the song that is entirely his own. Even then I was wondering what this young artist may accomplish if he decides to speak in his own name.

Much earlier than one could expect he was given by For Tune Records an opportunity to record his own album. I then learnt with great surprise that he intends to record a solo recital with all originals composed by himself. That sounded to me extremely risky and I was waiting for the outcome of this challenge with impatience accompanied by some apprehension. But the result of this enterprise leaves me not just satisfied but rather astonished as much by Zawadzki's courage but first of all by the mastery, so rare in so young the artist, with which he accomplished his idea.

And this idea is to create on this album his own peculiar world. Built upon very strong inheritance of classical music, saturated with unique Polish sense of blues and animated by the spirit of jazz improvisation. But it is first and foremost the treatise on the melody.  Melody that is so often in retreat in modern jazz which is sort of dominated by free jazz tradition where collective improvisation in a sense limits the possibility of using the melody. Zawadzki does not follow this path. Neither he is imitating anybody from the past as much of jazz or of classical music. The uniqueness of his voice lays in its utter simplicity, the innocence, the unpretentiousness with which he reveals his most intimate emotions. This album contains music that should not be overlooked as it stands out as one of most potent messages I heard from Polish jazz musicians in recent years even if spoken in so simple and childlike words. Outstanding achievement!

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