Thursday, November 8, 2012

Marcin Olak Trio - Crossing Borders (2012)

Marcin Olak Trio

Marcin Olak - classical and acoustic guitar
Maciej Szczyciński - bass
Hubert Zemler - drums
Mikołaj "Miki" Wielecki - percussion (tracks 7 & 8)

Crossing Borders (2012) 

By Maciej Nowotny

"Low profile" is an adjective which is rather difficult to translate into Polish language. Yet I like it very much when it applies to jazz. Nowadays there is so much hype around music that it often completely covers up its true artistic value. All these bouncing butts, fake boobs, swollen lips cannot hide from careful listeners that behind the sounds there is nothing. No spirituality, no adventure, no freedom but only money. Cash. Dough. So if you are after true artistic experience look for the projects which are low profile. New album by Marcin Trio may be very good example of such an attitude.

Its is very aptly titled  "Crossing Borders" since it crosses the artificial boundaries of music genres. Music is inspired as much by jazz, blues but also Polish folk and traditional Church music. Though narrative is told in language of mainstream, its soul is free. Because of that it may appeal as much to those who like traditional jazz but also to those who look towards avantgarde for something fresh and inspiring.

It is third recording by this trio after "Zealot" realeased in 2005 and "Simple Joy" in 2008. To be honest I wasn't great fan of this last record. It sounded for me much too predicatble, sweet, superficial. I therefore appreciate more how the music of this band has matured over last few years. It gained in diversity, in depth and in interplay. This is due as much to sophisticated composing and exquisitive playing by the leader as to the development of talent of young players who make up the rhythm section.

Hubert Zemler is one of the most interesting young drummers on Polish scene. This year he released excellent solo drum album "Moped" and he also is an important player on Warsaw avantgarde scene with such succesful projects like Kapacitron, Horny Trees or Namanga to be mentioned. Unlike Zemler who played also on "Simple Joy", bassist Maciej Szczyciński is new person in trio and replaced no less talented Wojtek Traczyk. Szczyciński is known for his versality, he may feel equally at ease on solid mainstream album by Dominik Bukowski (like "Times Get Changed") or in out-of-control enterprise by Joanna Duda ("Muzyka do bólu"), what makes him one of the most sought-after young bassists on our scene.

But of course main focus is on Marcin Olak's guitars. What immediately catches the attention is a beauty of the sound. The background is often minimalistic and Zemler and Szczyciński deserve great applause for being able to communicate effectively without making too much a noise. On this setting filigree improvisations by Olak cause astonishment and it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by delicate appeal of this music. Wholeheartedly recommended!

Tracklist: 1. Crossing Borders – episode 1, 2. Hej, od Krakowa jadę (Blue Deconstruction), 3. Ach, mój Jasieńko (Quasi ad libitum), 4. Na jabłoni jabłko wisi (Work Song), 5. Just One More Day, 6. Blue Study, 7. Waterfall, 8. Olive Tree, 9. Responsorium, 10. Katwar, 11. Infundybuła chronosynklastyczna, 12. Crossing borders – episode 2.

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