Saturday, June 27, 2015

Marek Malinowski Quartet – Alone (2015)

Marek Malinowski Quartet

Marek Malinowski - guitar
Michał Michota - trumpet
Paweł Urowski - double bass
Albert Karch - drums

Alone

REQUIEM 89



By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish Jazz guitarist/composer Marek Malinowski, recorded with his quartet which also includes trumpeter Michał Michota, bassist Paweł Urowski and drummer Albert Karch. The album presents nine original compositions, seven of which were composed by Malinowski and one each by Michota and Urowski.

The unusual guitar/trumpet front line of the quartet is immediately apparent while listening to this album, as are the melodic and very lyrical, sometimes almost ambient compositions, which dominate it. The music is pretty standard Jazz mainstream, except for the very last two minutes of the last tune, which are like a wakeup call after a long period of floating between dream and reality; which in my case leads to a question why isn't more of this album's music of the same character as the very last verses.

Malinowski is a very skillful player, with a nice open, almost acoustic guitar sound, which suits the delicate melodic lines well. There is very little typical guitar flashiness and highly technical showoff, which makes his playing somewhat modest and subdued. However there is a lot of delicate beauty in his playing, which is revealed after patient listening. Michota displays a much flashier attitude, trying to impress with his staccato phrases, which still need some polishing. He is definitely a promising youngster but the trumpet scene in Polish Jazz is incredibly crowded in the last decade.

The rhythm section comprises of two already established players, who are usually associated with a much freer musical environments. Both musicians play excellently of course and their input is what makes this music work as a whole. Urowski emerges as one of the leading bass players in the last decade and his work is always a delight.

Overall this is a respectable debut effort, which shows a lot of future potential for the leader. The compositions are a bit restricted and after a while bring on a déjà vu impression, with a lethargic Scandinavian atmosphere calling the shots. It is definitely worth checking out.

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