Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mateusz Puławski Lunar Quartet – Change Of Seasons (2016)

Mateusz Puławski Lunar Quartet

Mateusz Puławski - guitar
Itai Weissman - tenor saxophone
Fernando Sanchez - tenor saxophone
Hendrik Mueller - double bass
Aron Nyiro - drums
Evgenii Bondarev - trumpet
Esther Van Hees - voice, lyrics


Change Of Seasons

STEMRA MPLH02

By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish (resident in Amsterdam) guitarist/composer Mateusz Puławski and his Lunar Quartet, which also includes Israeli saxophonist Itai Weissman, bassist Hendrik Mueller and Hungarian drummer Aron Nyiro. Saxophonist Fernando Sanchez plays on three tracks, vocalist Esther Van Hees guests on two and trumpeter Evgenii Bondarev guests on one track. The album presents nine tracks, seven of which are original compositions by Puławski, one is a standard and one is by fellow Amsterdam saxophonist Emiel Wienholts.

The music is mostly well within the modern Jazz mainstream, based on melodic themes, which sometimes get lost within the proceedings when the quartet members and guests start to play their respective solos. The tunes develop slowly and hesitantly and the harmonics are harsh, which makes listening to the music an effort. When the music moves into less constrained environment, everything gets better, but that happens only on a couple of tracks.

Technically all the participants play well, with Puławski displaying an impressive fluency and proficiency as a player, but this is not translated effectively into creating notable music. The rhythm section and the saxophonist play straightforwardly and are obviously happy within that idiom, but offer no challenge or innovation as far as the music is concerned. Perhaps Puławski is still searching for his direction and personal voice, but at this stage he is not there yet. Nevertheless he seems to be consistently developing his career, and I can only wish him the best of luck.

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