Paweł Kaczmarczyk - piano
Maciej Adamczak - double bass
Dawid Fortuna - drums
By Adam Baruch
This is the fourth album by Polish Jazz pianist/composer Paweł Kaczmarczyk, recorded in a classic piano trio format with bassist Maciej Adamczak and drummer David Fortuna. This rhythm section is also known as the rhythm section of the New Bone ensemble. The album presents seven tracks, all of which are original compositions by Kaczmarczyk. It was mixed and mastered by the great Jan Smoczynski and released on the Slovak Hevhetia label, which releases lately a significant amount of Polish Jazz albums, opening new opportunities for Polish Jazz musicians, who face a very tough and crowded local recording market.
Kaczmarczyk stormed the Polish Jazz scene over a decade earlier as a young prodigy, winning awards from every possible competition and later recording and releasing three excellent albums as a leader. But the initial impact somewhat subsided over time and although he was visible on the scene quite recurrently, almost six years passed between the release of his last album and this one. No doubt these were years of reflection and reassessment of his musical attitude, as this album clearly proves. The return to the piano trio format and the much less complex arrangements of his compositions signal a kind of return to the roots.
Kaczmarczyk was always a great songweaver, and the collection of his new compositions confirms that status again. Wonderfully melodic, deeply lyrical and always full of grace, his music, presented here in a very basic down to earth form, is most effective exactly as it appears here. Gone are the elaborate and intricate rhythmic complexities, instrumental shenanigans and other tricks of the trade; instead we get Kaczmarczyk almost naked musically, but finally mature and truthful to himself.
Of course Kaczmarczyk is also a brilliant pianist and on this album, which is modest and very personal, there are limited possibilities to shine as a virtuosic performer; and yet Kaczmarczyk manages to pull this off, playing some amazingly sweet and inspired piano performances. The experienced rhythm section plays along tightly and supportively, being always there when needed. Adamczak plays several nice solos and stands by the leader both harmonically and rhythmically. Fortuna is a very busy drummer, but at all times stays in the background not disturbing the delicate trio balance.
In many respects this album could be seen as Kaczmarczyk's "return", an older, and more mature and focused version of the young star from a decade earlier. The lost charm of excitement and surprise was replaced by musical depth and developed compositional as well as performing skills. It was definitely worth the time we had to wait for this album and hopefully another long lingering will be spared. Welcome back!
Side Note: The promo version of this album includes also seven tracks, but two of them are different than those included on the formal album, which of course makes the demo a most desirable collector's item!