Sunday, March 1, 2015

Aga Derlak Trio – First Thought (2015)

Aga Derlak Trio

Aga Derlak - piano
Tymon Trąbczyński - bass
Bartosz Szabłowski - drums

First Thought


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by a young Polish Jazz trio led by pianist/composer Aga Derlak with bassist Tymon Trąbczyński and drummer Bartosz Szabłowski. The album presents five lengthy original compositions, all by Derlak.

It takes a lot of courage to take the bold step of recording a debut album in the classic piano trio format and play one's original compositions, like Derlak and her cohorts do on this album. Piano trio is a "naked" environment, where every note, every nuance, even every touch of the keyboard is perfectly audible with absolutely nothing to hide behind. Such endeavors are often quite risky and perilous and therefore I'm happy to say that in this particular case the courage pays off big time.

The music is mostly very lyrical and melancholic, almost meditative, even on the mid/up tempo compositions. The melodic statements played as the usual at the entry point of each track develop into lengthy improvised passages, which feature extensive dialogues between the piano and the rhythm section, which gets much more exposure on this album that usually accepted on piano trio albums. Trąbczyński and Szabłowski both perform wonderfully throughout, using the almost universal approach in today's young piano trios, where the bass is actually playing the rhythm and the drums are allowed to play "around", often polyrhythmically. There is an obvious empathy and comradeship between the trio members, which is always the best glue which turns musicians into one harmonious entity.

Of course not everything is perfect, which is quite understandable considering the age of these young Lions and a Lioness. The extensive improvisations, which last on three of the tracks well over ten minutes, are honestly a bit over the top. It takes a lifetime of playing Jazz to be able to keep an audience on the edge for ten continuous minutes… Perhaps inclusion of at least a couple of additional tunes and shortening the timings considerably would have produced an even more impressive album? But of course these are just my personal musings.

Overall this is a most impressive debut, which hopefully will be followed by many more mature albums in the future. I intend to follow the careers of these youngsters, as they are surely a promising bunch. Well done Lady and Gentlemen!

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