Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mateusz Pałka Trio – Sansa (2017)

Mateusz Pałka Trio

Mateusz Pałka - piano
Piotr Południak - bass
Patryk Dobosz - drums


EMME 1704

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by young Polish Jazz pianist/composer Mateusz Pałka and his trio which also includes bassist Piotr Południak and drummer Patryk Dobosz. The album presents nine compositions, seven of which are originals by the leader, one is composed by Południak and one is a standard. The album was beautifully recorded at the RecPublica Studios and engineered by Maciej Stach. The album's title and artwork obviously hint as to someone's adoration of the "Game Of Thrones" imagery. The album was released by an Italian label, which means that the young Poles age definitely going places!

The music is deeply melodic and typical of contemporary mainstream European Jazz idiom, with emphasis on the Polish lyricism and melancholy, which are almost omnipresent on recordings by Polish Jazz musicians/composers. The themes are developed gradually and lingeringly, which adds to the tension this music creates and keeps the listener on edge. The overall level of composition is excellent and composition is the focus of this album.

The trio plays very well together, with the piano clearly dominating the proceedings, but the rhythm section being audible and leading the music amicably. Dobosz displays a wide array of percussive trickery, which suits the music perfectly, while Południak keeps his bass lines down to earth and solid like a rock. The overall sound and attitude of the trio is fresh and innovative, especially in view of the fact that it rarely swings in the traditional meaning of the term, but allows for a large degree of rhythmical space, which is intriguing and very effective.

Overall this is a stunning debut effort, as surprising as many other debut efforts by young Polish Jazz musicians, who seem to have found the formula to keep Jazz alive and kicking and intellectually challenging. These young lions are the hope of European Jazz, and in the not to distant future should achieve the acclaim they so well deserve. Wholeheartedly recommended!

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