Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rafał Sarnecki - The Madman Rambles Again (2011) by Maciej Nowotny

Last year I had an opportunity to listen to three CDs of young and very talented Polish mainstream guitarists: Daniel Popiałkiewicz "The Hope For Tomorrow" (2010), Przemek Strączek "Light & Shadow" (2010) and Rafał Sarnecki "Songs From A New Place" (2008). And couple of days ago I got Rafał Sarnecki's new album "The Madman Rambles Again", second after abovementioned debut recording. I am glad to write that it is step forward which evidenced on three different levels. 

First, the music is more diversified than on his previous CD since he added a horn section. Lucas Pino, alto saxophonist from Phoenix, is living in New York now, where he met Sarnecki who then was studying there at Aaron Copland School of Music. Pino has an interesting sound, a little edgy yet meticulous phrasing shows evident influence of great New York masters of past as Parker, McLean, Konitz and present like David Binney, Steve Lehman and most of all Chris Potter. He is accompanied by Jerzy Małek, a top young trumpeter from Poland, a type of player who fits well everywhere, like in recent recording with above mentioned guitarist Przemek Strączek, where they played dialogues in Jim Hall and Chet Baker cool jazz manner. Here Jerzy Małek plays on more aggressive, bopish note and he is equally good. Outstanding! It is noteworthy that Sarnecki kept intact a very decent rhythm section from "Songs From A New Place" in persons of Paweł Kaczmarczyk (piano), Wojciech Pulcyn (bass) and Łukasz Żyta (drums) who in two songs (tracks 4,5) is replaced by Paweł Dobrowolski. On two tracks (1,3) pulse is augmented by percussion of Jose Manuel Alban Juarez.

Second, all songs on this record are originals composed by Sarnecki and as Tomasz Stańko noted, who made a kind introduction to this album, "(they) are cohesive and interesting". Some of them are real vamps, "The Student Protest" being an example, a film with which I enclose at the end of this post and recommend to take a look at. Generally speaking music is accessible, melodic, mainstream jazz with clear New York bopish as well as Latin influences.

Third, the album is issued by good label Fresh Sound New Talent for which Piotr Wyleżoł recorded his noteworthy "Children's Episodes" (2009). Congratulations for both Rafał Sarnecki and Spanish label for being able to identify an interesting young player. It is available worldwide through Blue Sounds and Amazon distribution.  

"Student Protest" is an opening tune, truly a vamp, evidencing Sarnecki's extraordinary talent for composing catchy melodies:

Author of text: Maciej Nowotny (

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