Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Henryk Miskiewicz - Full Drive 3 (2012)

Henryk Miśkiewicz - alto, soprano, sopranino saxes

Marek Napiórkowski - guitars
Robert Kubiszyn - bass
Michał Miśkiewicz - drums

Michael 'Patches' Stewart - trumpet

Full Drive 3 (2012)

By Monika Okrój 

Full Drive 3 is a follow up to the two previous recordings by the group: Full Drive (2004), Full Drive 2 (2007). The leader Henryk Miskiewicz is one of the most important Polish saxophonist and actually the only regular member of the band. Like the previous albums this is also a live recording, the fruit of two concerts in Jazz Cafe Łomianki. You can hear Miskiewicz's announcements, spontaneous cheers, long rounds of applause; all this undoubtedly creates a mood of “free and easy”, full of positive vibes. 

Almost every musician plays here on several instruments, so we have saxophones, guitars, basses, and drums. Although the band went through many personnel changes, Miśkiewicz proudly admits, that all the musicians know each other inside out and create a reliable band to record such projects live. In the latest interview he says: „I really like the live recordings, just because you can hear all kinds of stuff, and it's simply natural. Any grides or mistakes, it all creates an atmosphere. And also you can hear how the audience reacts”. 

As on the previous albums, special guest also appear here, and it is not a singer this time (Dorota Miśkiewicz – Full Drive, Kuba Badach – Full Drive 2), but an excellent, New Orlean's trumpeter - Michael „Patches” Stewart, presented in a playful way by Miśkiewicz, as „one, who plays with all”. In fact, Patches worked with stars – Marcus Miller, Quincy Jones, David Sanborn, George Duke and Whitney Houston. His role in Full Drive 3 can’t be overestimated, he perfectly fits in the funky/bebop climate of the tunes, playing strongly forward, sometimes evoking of the most prominent fusion band, with Miles Davis in the lead. 

It's no secret for Miśkiewicz, that his approach to the team as a whole, is inspired by the Cannonbal Adderley, both in new compositions and arrangements. Musicians play intensely and heavily if needed, driven by funk energy. Their music is recognizable after one note, what is – not exaggerating - a phenomenon on a global scale! What makes Full Drive unique is that every single piece is truly rocking and melodies are catchy. The opening theme by soprano saxophone, “Song About Song”, sounds like the harmonica's motive from Stevie Wonder. "Montalcino Blues", in turn associated clearly with Hancock's “Chameleon”. Fusion, ambiental backgrounds, with indispensable guitar sound of Napiórkowski, refer to Weather Report, such as in “In a Silent Way” by Joe Zawinul, the composition also recorded by Full Drive 3. 

The idea of Full Drive's music has been consistent in its form from the very beginning, but calling it boring and trivial is out of the question. Anyway, the question is – how long such an orthodox kind of playing will be working live? Musicians seem careless about what is going on at the moment in the international „jazz scene”, I mean in all these neo-avant-garde and experimental streams. However, the band's concert experience shows us, that they can fill a room and it's because the third proposal of Full Drive still sounds fresh and convincing. So we can hear in the end of the recording the audience singing in two voices Zawinul's “Walk Tall”, the tune that became like an anthem, played on the first Full Drive releases.

1. Song about song - H. Miśkiewicz
2. In a silent way - J. Zawinul
3. Montalcino Blues - M. Napiórkowski
4. Don't you know - M. Miller
5. Crisis - F. Hubbard
6. Ponta de Areia - M. Nascimento
7. Shibuya Drive - R. Kubiszyn
8. Brunatny Twist - H. Miśkiewicz

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