Thursday, May 4, 2017

Łukasz Korybalski – CMM (2017)

Łukasz Korybalski

Łukasz Korybalski - trumpet, flugelhorn
Borys Janczarski - tenor saxophone
Michał Tokaj - piano
Andrzej Święs - bass
Łukasz Żyta - drums
Zbigniew Namysłowski - alto saxophone (2)
Bogusz Wekka - shaker (4)

CMM

ALLEGRO 034

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album as a leader by Polish Jazz trumpeter/composer Łukasz Korybalski, known primarily for his work as composer of cinematic music. This album presents the music Korybalski wrote for the film "Całe Mnóstwo Miłości" (hence "CMM"), performed by a quintet which features the leader on trumpet and also includes saxophonist Borys Janczarski, pianist Michał Tokaj, bassist Andrzej Święs and drummer Łukasz Żyta; a most formidable team. Saxophone icon Zbigniew Namysłowski and percussionist Bogusz Wekka guest on one tune each. The album presents six original compositions, all by Korybalski.

The music is absolutely stunning from start to finish, typical melancholic Polish Jazz very closely reminiscent of early cinematic music by Krzysztof Komeda, with the same melodic hooks one just can't stop humming after the music is over. The similarity is so close, that if I didn't know what album is playing, I'd suspect that a newly discovered Komeda album is on. This is not only reflected by the music, the melodic approach and the harmonic progressions, but also by the way the quintet performs the music, which has a tinge of wonderful "out fashioned" nostalgia to it. Even the one relatively "free" composition on the album is spiritually almost identical to Komeda's famous composition "Astigmatic".

The instrumental performances are all top notch. Korybalski displays some Miles Davis modal influences, all being in the most elegant form, Janczarski has a warm and smooth tone and Tokaj, one of Poland's best pianists, sadly relatively rarely heard on albums, is a dream. The superb rhythm section cements the lineup with amicable support for the soloists and wonderful drive.

Albums like this one are a persuasive proof that contemporary melodic mainstream can be intelligent, creative, fascinating and aesthetically fulfilling. It simply has something that sets it apart from thousands of other mainstream albums, firmly standing in a class of its own. It also shows why European Jazz left the American Jazz in a fifty years slumber. Overall this is one of the best Polish Jazz albums that I have had the pleasure to listen to in many years. It is perfect in every way, it bridges the tradition with contemporary ideas, it pays tribute to its cultural background and sources; in short it is it! Absolutely not to be missed!

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