Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Aleksandra Kutrzepa Quartet – Impressions (2018)

Aleksandra Kutrzepa Quartet

Aleksandra Kutrzepa - violin
Bartłomiej Garczyński - guitar
Michał Studniarek - bass
Robert Kutrzepa - drums
Patryk Czyżewski - piano
Anna Gadt - voice



By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Polish Jazz violinist/composer Aleksandra Kutrzepa recorded in a quartet setting with guitarist Bartłomiej Garczyński, bassist Michał Studniarek and drummer Robert Kutrzepa. Vocalist Anna Gadt and pianist Patryk Czyżewski appear as guests on selected tracks. The album presents eight original compositions, all by Aleksandra Kutrzepa.

The music offers a series of contemporary Polish Jazz compositions, full of lyricism, melancholy and even romanticism, all developing slowly and based on solid melodic themes. Stylistically the music displays a strong touch of Fusion, especially when the guitar is featured up front, but also due to the unique sound and manner of playing the violin that Kutrzepa utilizes, which has strong ties with the French Fusion violin school (Jean-Luc Ponty/Didier Lockwood) rather than with the Polish Jazz violin school (Zbigniew Seifert/Michał Urbaniak).

As already mentioned above, Kutrzepa manages to achieve a unique and very personal violin sound and mannerism, which is quite different from the numerous other young generation Polish Jazz violin players, and which is quite remarkable by itself. She is very aloof, minimalist and reserved creating incredible tension and anticipation, which is extremely effective.

The rest of the players on the album are all highly professional and talented. Garczyński serves as a contrast to Kutrzepa's laid-back phrasing with his energetic and expressive solos, like a musical cold-hot or yin-yang seesaw. The rhythm section supports the soloists amicably and displays inventive and fully responsible ensemble playing, always solid and reliable. The guests add spice and panache to the proceedings, as expected, with Gadt taking the music slightly towards more imaginary ground on the last track with her beautiful vocal contributions. Personally this is my favorite piece on the album and perhaps points towards the direction the music might take in the future.

Overall this is an excellent debut offering, obviously well planned and rehearsed, original and ambitious, and most importantly offering elements previously unheard and exploring uncharted territory, which after all happens quite rarely. For lovers of intelligent Fusion this album is a true gem and should not be missed, and judging by the potential it displays, Kutrzepa is definitely a Lady to keep a close watch on, both as a composer and a player, which I definitely intend to do in the future, wishing her all the best on the way.

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