Monday, November 18, 2019

Marek Jakubowski Quartet – Colors (2019)

Marek Jakubowski Quartet

Marek Konarski - saxophone
Jacek Szwaj - piano
Damian Kostka - bass
Marek Jakubowski - drums



By Adam Baruch

This is the third album as a leader by Polish Jazz drummer/composer Marek Jakubowski. The first two albums, recorded in a classic piano trio format, were recorded in 2013 (i.e. six years ago) and this debut album in a quartet setting was recorded in 2017 (i.e. two years ago), which means that Jakubowski is certainly taking his time to create new music for his releases, not like many other musicians who somehow feel obligated to release albums in an almost obsessive paste. The quartet includes saxophonist Marek Konarski, pianist Jacek Szwaj and bassist Damian Kostka, all members of the young and upcoming generation of the Polish Jazz scene. The album presents ten original compositions, all by Jakubowski.

The music is all well within the modern mainstream Post-bop mold, but the compositions are all very well weaved and complex enough to serve as excellent vehicles for the quartet members to show their chops. The ballads display the characteristic Polish melancholy, which of course is expected. As usual with Jakubowski's albums, the focus is certainly on the compositions rather than on the performances, which of course does not mean that those are inferior in any way. In many ways Jakubowski is almost a class of his own as far as Jazz compositions on the Polish scene are concerned, and deserved a much wider recognition than he enjoys today.

Both Konarski and Szwaj offer excellent soloing, showing deep empathy with the compositions and Kostka stands shoulder to shoulder with the leader to keep the music well on track rhythmically, also soloing superbly on the way. This is European mainstream Jazz at its finest hour and a delightful listening experience to all fans of this idiom.

It is good to see (hear) Jakubowski back on the track, hoping he will not keep us waiting so long next time, as he is certainly is one of the most talented Polish Jazz composers with a deep love and respect to all that is characteristically Polish in music, going back to Frederic Chopin's legacy. A true beauty warmly recommended!

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