Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dominik Wania Trio - Ravel (2013) ****

Dominik Wania Trio

Dominik Wania – piano
Max Mucha – bass
Dawid Fortuna – drums

Ravel (2013)

This album by a pianist Dominik Wania is nominally his debut. But in fact Wania is already fully matured artistic personality. Quick overview of recordings in which he took part in last couple of years is at the same time the testimony to stunning renaissance of Polish jazz: Piotr Baron's  "Jazz na Hrade", Maciej Obara's  "Equilibrium", Bronisław Suchanek's "Sketches In Blue" or Jacek Kochan's  “Filing the Profile” and “Man of No Words” are all creme-de-creme of jazz in Poland in recent times which are unimaginable without Dominik's creative contribution. Indeed by participation in above mentioned and other projects Wania has won such an esteem that his debut may be easily described as one of most anticipated in Polish jazz in last couple of years. 

No less promising are musicians invited by Wania to this project: drummer Dawid Fortuna and double bassist Max Mucha are among Polish top young jazz players on their respective instruments. Fortuna has become known to our audience through collaboration with the pianist Paweł Kaczmarczyk, while Mucha recorded with veteran drummer Arek Skolik, another talented youth saxophonist Jarek Bothur and in two interesting bands: New Bone and Inner Spaces. Not bad for a guy being just 22 years old...

As title suggests the CD is dedicated to Maurice Ravel. Ravel's importance for classical music far exceeds the fame of his best known composition "Bolero". He was one of so-called 'French impressionists', together with Claude Debussy and Eric Satie, who at turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries created music which, although often sophisticated, sounded deliberately rather simply, because its main goal was to speak through emotions. What is interesting in Wania approach to this material is that he carefully avoided playing this music literally as it was written by its composer. He treated material indeed very loosely, picking up scratches of melodies, harmonies but most of all emotions which Ravel strived to evoke.

The effect is extraordinary! Although recognizable Ravel, it is above all fresh and spoken in language of modern mainstream jazz. Vibrant with energy, exuberantly bop in its rhythm, it is nonetheless played with a great attention to detail and incredible technical proficiency. I must say that it is a true feast for any jazz lover who, as I am, was raised on the classical music. That's why I believe this album fully deserves to be placed among best Polish jazz recordings of year 2013 being the important part of recent movement of young jazz musicians towards re-interpreting anew classical music. In this context such powerful projects shall be mentioned as "Szymanowski" by RGG, "Polonezy" by Marcin Masecki or "Experiment: Penderecki" by Piotr Orzechowski. Clearly Dominik Wania's "Ravel" deserves  to be put among these elite albums because of originality of concept and of level of its execution.

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