Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Mateusz Smoczyński Quintet – Berek (2017)

Mateusz Smoczyński Quintet

Mateusz Smoczyński - violin
Jan Smoczyński - piano
Konrad Zemler - guitar
Wojciech Pulcyn - bass
Michał Miśkiewicz - drums

Berek

UNIVERSAL 602557610710


By Adam Baruch

This is the third album as a leader by Polish violinist/composer Mateusz Smoczyński, recorded again in a quintet setting with guitarist Konrad Zemler, his older brother pianist Jan Smoczyński, bassist Wojciech Pulcyn and drummer Michał Miśkiewicz. The album presents twelve original compositions, one of which is repeated twice, seven of which were composed by Jan Smoczyński, two were composed by Mateusz Smoczyński, two were co-composed by the Smoczyński brothers and one is credited to all five members of the quintet. The album was recorded in the legendary Studio Tokarnia and engineered by Jan Smoczyński, with spectacular sound fidelity.

In the last decade Mateusz Smoczyński, both as a solo artists and member of the already legendary Atom String Quartet, has been consistently paving his way to the Top of the Polish Jazz violin school, which has very little competition in any other part of the world. That top, extremely overcrowded by young musicians, is simply exploding with talent and incredible dexterity, to the delight of Jazz lovers, both in Poland and the world over, and is just one of the symptoms that characterize the Polish Jazz scene in general.

On this album Mateusz Smoczyński does not have to prove anything anymore, and therefore he is able to concentrate on his total delivery of the music, his personal style and the finesse of his skills. The exquisite compositions by Jan Smoczyński suit ideally his expressive style and their intrinsic elegance and lyricism, as well as superb Swing are simply ideal vehicles for the music to come forward.

Of course he is splendidly supported by the members of the quintet, all of which are Top Polish Jazz players with extensive experience and outstanding talents. The almost completely acoustic sound of the album allows for delicate and intricate interactions between the musicians, full of mutual respect. The round sound of the quintet, and the blooming sound quality, create a wonderful aural experience, which should leave no listener cold.

The music is a wide amalgam of many influences, none of which are particularly dominant, but to a sensitive ear are obviously audible, such as some Classical stylistic hooks, Polish Folklore motifs, tribute to past Polish Jazz violin legends, and many others. Of course these elements are perfectly well balanced and manage to create a new entity, which simply speaks for itself.

Overall this is a "perfect" album, one that has nothing that should be changed or added to it in any sense. It is beautifully performed and offers wonderful music, full of European aesthetics. There are no false pretences, no exhibitionism and no boring derivative fillers, just honest, straightforward great music from start to finish. So far definitely one of the best offers in 2017 that landed on my desk (or in my ears). Chapeau bas!

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