Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Marcin Masecki – Mazurki (2015)

Marcin Masecki

Marcin Masecki - piano



By Adam Baruch

This is a solo piano album by Polish Jazz pianist/composer Marcin Masecki, dedicated, as the title suggests, to the Polish folk dance, the mazurka, which is often used in Polish Classical Music, especially by the Polish National composer Frederic Chopin. The album presents ten original compositions, all by Masecki, which are more or less associated with the mazurka. A radio edit of the opening track is added as a bonus track.

Masecki, the enfant terrible of Polish Jazz, is one of the most unconventional musical personalities on the local scene. A recognized brilliant Classical pianist, he completely disregards all conventions and does only what he considers is worth pursuing, recording a series of bold, unconventional and often plainly insulting albums, slaughtering holy cows like there is no tomorrow. Obviously his music is often at the epicenter of heated discussions between his fans and supporters and his critics.

On this album Masecki continues his interest in Polish musical folklore, having previously recorded an album dedicated to another Polish folk dance, the polonaise. It is also worth to mention that other Polish Jazz pianists, like Piotr Orzechowski, also recorded solo piano albums dedicated to Polish folk dances, like the oberek in Orzechowski's case.

Although I usually like Masecki's music very much, I find this project less convincing. The ten pieces present here, clearly linked to the mazurka, sound quite mechanical and unnatural to me, simply not connecting the dots. Obviously Masecki had a clear idea behind what he wanted to achieve here, but I fail to see what it might be. There are numerous transformations and variations on the basic mazurka form, but they sound to me as if a computer program was generating these variations given some basic parameters. This is definitely an intellectual exercise, but I fail to find any emotional involvement or the reasoning behind it.

Of course it is quite possible that it is only my personal shortcoming being unable to enjoy this music, but so far this is the weakest Masecki's project as far as I am concerned. Of course he'll surely surprise us all shortly with another of his brilliant ideas.

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