Sunday, December 30, 2018

Kamil Piotrowicz Sextet – Product Placement (2018)

Kamil Piotrowicz Sextet

Kamil Piotrowicz - piano, synthesizer
Kuba Więcek - alto saxophone
Piotr Chęcki - tenor & baritone saxophones
Emil Miszk - trumpet
Andrzej Święs - double bass
Krzysztof Szmańda - drums, vibraphone


Product Placement

HOWARD 1

By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by Polish Jazz pianist/composer/bandleader Kamil Piotrowicz recorded with the same sextet lineup which recorded the previous album a couple of years earlier. Besides Piotrowicz the sextet also includes trumpeter Emil Miszk, saxophonists Kuba Więcek and Piotr Chęcki, bassist Andrzej Świes and drummer Krzysztof Szmańda. The album presents eight original compositions, all by Piotrowicz, one of which is an epic multipart eighteen and a half minutes long piece and another is a short bonus track closing the album.

The music on this album makes a bold step towards Free Jazz and other less constrained musical forms in comparison to the two earlier albums, with the traditional sense of composition almost completely lost in the process. Of course the music has a coherent continuum and sense of direction, but there are almost no melody lines or steady rhythmic passages. As a result the music simply flows propelled by its intrinsic drive and allows the instrumentalists to create the sound on the fly. It is often very difficult to distinguish between the "composed" and the improvised ingredients of this music, not that it really matters, as the end result is what counts, similarly to an attempt to analyze an abstract painting and try to find in it the pre-designed and the spontaneous smears of paint.

The album is a stupendous exhibit of ensemble work, without which the entire creation would have simply collapsed on itself. The level of conversation and mutual influence, as displayed by the sextet members, is simply phenomenal. Obviously they are all superb instrumentalists, as is clearly heard all along the way, but this music is all about fusion of individual statements into an amalgam, which is way grander than just a sum of its ingredients. Piotrowicz obviously plays a central role in the entire process and his piano lines and synthesizer parts serve both as the glue and the backbone of the entire musical structure, strangely playing more a role of a conductor rather than a soloist.

In spite of the devilish complexity, multi-layered and multi-directional structure, unusual approach and even eerie sound at times, this music is remarkably lucid and comprehensible and as a result accessible. In complete contrast to most Avant-gardish statements of such scope, this album is a true pleasure to listen to, which hopefully will help this music to reach as wide an audience as possible.

Overall this is another brilliant album made by young Polish Jazz musicians and another pretender to the title of one of the best albums of 2018. It is also another statement of quality, which puts the Polish Jazz right at the very top of the European level. By now Piotrowicz has entered the "serious" league of contemporary European Jazz Artists, well earned and praiseworthy by any standards. Personally I already can't wait for the next album. Well done messieurs and hats off high!

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