Sunday, October 8, 2017

Gniewomir Tomczyk – Event Horizon (2017)

Gniewomir Tomczyk

Andrzej Mikulski - keyboards, bass
Gniewomir Tomczyk - drums, samples
Piotr Schmidt - trumpet
Kuba Więcek - alto saxophone
Maciej Kociński - soprano saxophone
Marek Kądziela - guitar
Krzysia Górniak - guitar
Aga Derlak - flute
Zdzisław Kalinowski - keyboards
Mateusz Smoczyński - strings
and others

Event Horizon

SJ 017

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish duo Event Horizon, which comprises of drummer Gniewomir Tomczyk and keyboardist/bassist Andrzej Mikulski. A plethora of guest musicians, some form the echelons of the young Polish Jazz circles and others from different areas, add their contributions, including Piotr Schmidt, Aga Derlak, Krzysia Górniak, Mateusz Smoczyński, Kuba Więcek, Marek Kądziela and many others. The album presents ten original compositions (one repeated twice), recorded over a period of several years, five of which were co-composed and arranged by Tomczyk and Mikulski, others composed either individually by one of the duo members or co-composed with others, improvised or being arrangements of Classical themes, in short a very diverse collection of ideas. Three of the pieces feature texts/lyrics in English.

The music is strongly melody based and rooted in Jazz, but emphasizes production and sound at least as much as improvisation, creating wonderful contemporary vistas, which feel completely cross-genre and can be liked by a very wide spectrum of listeners, predominantly belonging to the younger generation. The music is intelligent and wonderfully coherent, offering a superb selection of melodies and harmonies, which often are absent in the so called "serious Jazz" recordings. Although this music can be categorized as Smooth Jazz for lack of a better definition, based on the "cool" and seemingly "smooth" approach, it is full of excellent musicianship and masterly music production.

Overall this is a classic example of "don't judge a book by its cover" (here both metaphorically and directly, as the album's cover art is rather bleak, completely uncharacteristic of its contents). What might be considered as a youthful experiment turns out to be a solid piece of excellent music, which stands its own ground, regardless what the Jazz purists might say. In many respects this album represents what the new generation of Jazz players feels about Jazz, respecting the tradition but reaching out to electronics, new sounds and original approach, which attempts to discover new ground, which after all is the most important aspect of music making. This is definitely one of the most interesting releases so far in 2017, as far as I am concerned. Well done Wonder Kids!

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