Saturday, February 10, 2018

Soundmeck – Eruption (2017)

Soundmeck

Sabina Meck - vocals
Paweł Surman - trumpet
Łukasz Kokoszko - guitar
Adam Tadel - bass
Szymon Madej - drums

Eruption




POLSKIE RADIO 2109

By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish Jazz vocalist/composer/lyricist Sabina Meck (a.k.a. Sabina Myrczek) and the first under the ensemble moniker Soundmeck, a quintet led by Meck and also including trumpeter Paweł Surman, guitarist Łukasz Kokoszko, bassist Adam Tadel and drummer Szymon Madej. The album presents eight original songs, one of which has a short instrumental introduction. Seven of the songs feature lyrics in English and one song has lyrics in Polish. Meck wrote all the music and the lyrics.

The music on this album is quite different from what Meck presented on her sensational debut a year earlier. The ensemble has a much richer sound than the previously featured classic piano trio and the sound is much more contemporary, electric, vibrant and sparkling. The music, although still very much Jazzy, opens out to other directions, like Pop, Rock, Cabaret and other genres. Meck's songwriting reaches here the full bloom and presents her as a diverse, sensitive and sophisticated songweaver.

Meck's vocal performances on this album are also a major step forward, again presenting a wider, much more varied vocal technique, use of vocalese and theatrical trickery, which is fascinating and extremely attractive. She handles the English lyrics well, perhaps not completely "properly" as far as the pronunciation is concerned, but her idiosyncrasies are charming rather than problematic. Personally I still love the song with the Polish lyrics best, but that is just me.

The accompanying quartet's instrumental performances are all absolutely brilliant. Kokoszko plays a really tasty guitar and solos abundantly and it is his stylistic diversity that takes the music out of the strict Jazz environment into other areas. His Rock oriented solo on one of the tracks is one of the best Rock guitar solos I came across in a long time. Surman plays less up front, but his unisono parts with Meck are exquisite and are one of the trademarks of the music presented on this album. The rhythm section is also superb all along, keeping the complex music afloat and supporting the vocals amicably, always with grace and elegance.

It is remarkable to hear the delicate balance between the vocals and the instrumental work on this album, one of the best examples of such cooperation. There is an implicit sharing of responsibilities between the ensemble members, mutual respect and a sense of common goal. The time span of vocal and instrumental parts is beautifully balanced, which of course emphasizes the ensemble effect.

Overall this is a remarkable and outstanding album in every respect, definitely one of the best Polish Jazz (and beyond) vocal albums so far this year and a giant step forward for Meck and her compadres. The average age of these musicians is nothing short of astounding and the proportion between their ages and abilities is frightening – in the best way of course. A brilliant piece of music from start to finish, which deserves nothing but praise and respect!

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