Monday, May 21, 2018

Mateusz Gawęda Trio – Falstart (2018)

Mateusz Gawęda Trio

Mateusz Gawęda - piano
Alan Wykpisz - double bass
Grzegorz Pałka - drums


AUDIO CAVE 004-2018

By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by young and upcoming Polish Jazz pianist/composer Mateusz Gawęda, recorded with the same trio that was featured on his debut album with bassist Alan Wykpisz and drummer Grzegorz Pałka. The album presents seven original compositions, all by the leader.

Gaweda managed in a relatively short span of time to establish a respectful position on a local Jazz scene, both as a musician/composer and a colorful personality, which is a magnet of attention. His unique music and performances as well as his flamboyant dress code and glitzy/ritzy looks create a figure, which might have just stepped out form a black & white Hollywood gangster movie, in the best meaning of the idiom of course: elegant, stylish, charismatic and unmistakably himself.

Almost the same metaphor applies to his music, which slowly but consistently keeps metamorphosing into a unique personal style and musical approach, unlike anything else currently present on the Polish Jazz scene, which of course is quite phenomenal, considering how vital, diverse and full of talent that scene is in the last couple of decades. Gawęda's music is further and further moving away of the conventional Jazz idiom, creating a contemporary fusion of Jazz tradition with modern classicism, electronics and ambient music. Although recorded in a classic piano trio format, the powerful and imaginative music manage to overcome the limitation of the trio and with a slight help from electronic devices simply breaks away into new territory.

Of course the music is still full of the typical Polish melancholy and lyricism, not only within the melodic themes, but in the entire sonic expression the trio creates. Introvert, reflective and mercilessly serious, the music is completely overwhelming and stunning, but as usual in such cases requires truly attentive listening and repeated listening to get to the true essence of it.

The individual performances by the trio members are perfectly suited to the music of course. It is virtually impossible for Gawęda to play any "better" that already demonstrated on his earlier recordings, and therefore the focus on his role here should be on the compositions, rather than on his playing, which is simply stupendous, as always. It is really heartwarming to see the progress of Wykpisz, who is another example of a young lion charging the Polish Jazz scene with amazing consistency and talent, able to play anything between Swing and Avant-Garde with the same strike of brilliance. Pałka, of the same generation, plays no less spectacularly, showing what it means to play the drums rather than just keep time.

Overall this is a brilliant and highly rewarding piece of complex, but elegant and awe-inspiring music, which truly expands the Jazz idiom and which deserves both praise and attention. It is also another milestone album on the Polish Audio Cave label, which in the last four years managed to release some of the best Polish Jazz albums, consistently maintaining the highest possible level of artistic achievement. Well done and hats off!

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