Monday, September 28, 2020

Kasia Pietrzko Trio - Ephemeral Pleasures (2020)

Kasia Pietrzko Trio

Kasia Pietrzko - piano
Andrzej Święs - doube bass
Piotr Budniak - drums

Ephemeral Pleasures


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish pianist/composer Katarzyna Pietrzko recorded again in a classic piano trio setting, this time with veteran bassist Andrzej Święs and young drummer Piotr Budniak. The album presents ten pieces, four composed by Pietrzko, one by Święs and five are not credited and are assumably improvised by the trio. The music was recorded at the excellent Monochrom Studio. The names of the rhythm section musicians and the name of the recording engineer are not mentioned on the cover art, and the CD is a CD-R, which somewhat spoil the fun.

Pietrzko debuted a couple of years earlier with an excellent album, which introduced her as a new player on the local scene and a promising composer and which was warmly received. The decisive strength of the debut was the strength of the compositions rather than the actual piano playing ability.

This sophomore effort moves from the modern mainstream Jazz environment into a much more open territory. The five compositions are still melody based, but the melodic content is less emphasized and the improvisations take over. The five improvised "Episodes" are all naturally dedicated to free expression. As a result the album is overtly less melodic, and as such loses much of the charm of the debut, taking the pianist into a much more treacherous territory, undermining the pianist's capabilities.

Pietrzko piano playing did not develop significantly since the debut and is still somewhat limited, which results in the rhythm section de facto taking over the proceedings, especially Święs, who dominates the performances with his excellent, but very strong presence, emphasized by the bass being rather high up in the mix. Overall this is an interesting and ambitious effort, which shows the young pianist exploring new ground and growing, which is commendable. The result is somewhat uneven and less coherent, but Pietrzko is certainly an important new arrival worth being watched.

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