Monday, July 20, 2015

Maciej Grzywacz – Connected (2015)

Maciej Grzywacz

Maciej Grzywacz - guitar
Jakob Dinesen - saxophone
Daniel Franck - bass
Hakon Mjaset Johansen - drums


BLACK WINE 2015/001

By Adam Baruch

This is the sixth album by Polish Jazz guitarist/composer Maciej Grzywacz recorded in a quartet setting with three Scandinavian musicians: Danish saxophonist Jakob Dinesen, Swedish bassist Daniel Franck and Norwegian drummer Hakon Mjaset Johansen. The album presents eight original compositions, all by Grzywacz.

The music is a melodic contemporary Jazz, which sounds fresh and interesting from the very first notes and manages to keep the listener in suspense till the very last notes. The guitar/saxophone dual front line works very well, as both players move elegantly between the unisono parts to individual solos and back to the melody. Grzywacz does a wonderful job playing soft but complex guitar chords behind the saxophone solos and of course plays many well constructed solos. Dinesen is obviously the most expressive musician in this quartet, playing long stretches of improvisation, without loosing the melody line even for a moment. The rhythm section plays in typical Scandinavian pattern, with the bass driving the music forward with a steady pulse and the drums playing around the beat, rather that keeping time.

In spite of the fact that the album features three Scandinavian musicians, it does not suffer from the typical Scandinavian lethargy that puts many music fans to sleep very effectively. Most of the music is lively and up tempo, with virtuosic solos ripping the air. Even the slower numbers have a lot of energy and vigor and keep the listener in check. There is quite a lot of freedom in the way the quartet works together, giving each other space and respect. This album is one of many projects with Polish and Scandinavian musicians collaborating, like they did in the 1960s and 1970s, which is one of the many interesting aspects of the new Polish Jazz scene.

Personally I find the work of Dinesen especially rewording on this album, which is hardly surprising considering his huge success he enjoys back hope and internationally. Also this is surely the most complex and ambitious album Grzywacz recorded to date, which of course is commendable. Seeing him developing over time is truly rewarding. This is definitely a piece of music worth checking out as it holds many truly wonderful moments.

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