Jacek Namysłowski - trombone, flute
Łukasz Poprawski - alto & soprano saxophones
Łukasz Ojdana - piano
Andrzej Święs - bass
Paweł Dobrowolski - drums
By Adam Baruch
This is the debut album as a leader by Polish Jazz trombonist/composer Jacek Namysłowski, which comes rather late in his career as he has been active on the local scene for quite a while. He is a son of the legendary Polish Jazz figure saxophonist/composer Zbigniew Namysłowski, and since several years has been a member of his father's ensemble, as well as several other projects. The album was recorded in a classic quintet lineup with saxophonist Łukasz Poprawski, pianist Łukasz Ojdana, bassist Andrzej Święs and drummer Paweł Dobrowolski. It presents seven original compositions, all by the leader (although the album's packaging says nothing about this, I assume it is so). The album was recorded at the excellent Studio Tokarnia, engineered by Jan Smoczyński, with spectacular sonic quality.
The music is kept well within the mainstream Jazz milieu, which means solid melodic themes expanded to make room for solos by the ensemble members, with relatively steady rhythmic approach and no great surprises. The compositions are all well rounded and based on fine melodic themes, mostly lyrical and somewhat melancholic. This is definitely well crafted music, intelligent and subtle, which does not try to create flashy impressions but asks for attentive listening. In some respects it is somewhat similar to the music which Zbigniew Namysłowski wrote in the early days of his career, but does not venture into folkloristic influences, staying firmly within the well threaded Jazz path.
The individual performances are all quite excellent, as these are first-class experienced and gifted musicians. Namysłowski plays beautifully and demonstrates a personal voice, which is not easy to achieve for such a difficult instrument as the trombone. Poprawski plays several fiery solos; the young Ojdana demonstrates his exceptional ability once again, turning every little solo of his into an instant gem. The rhythm section does a perfect job driving the music forward steadily and smoothly with flair and obvious sensitivity.
Overall this is pleasant, well rounded mainstream Jazz album, with good music and excellent performances, which should make every Jazz fan happy. People looking for more adventurous outings might find this music somewhat "outdated", but honestly every candid and well played Jazz album has its place and its audience. Definitely worth investigating!