Friday, November 29, 2013

Maciej Fortuna / Krzysztof Dys – Tropy (2013) ****1/2

Maciej Fortuna - trumpet
Krzysztof Dys - piano

FM 011

This is the debut recording by the Polish Jazz duo comprising of trumpeter / composer Maciej Fortuna and pianist Krzysztof Dys. Fortuna is a relatively new arrival on the local scene, but his prolific and outstanding achievements in the last few years are so impressive, that he immediately emerged as a serious candidate to become a member in the very exclusive club of top Polish Jazz musicians. Dys, with a slightly longer presence on the scene is primarily known as a member of the wonderful Soundcheck quartet. The album includes seven original compositions all co-composed by the duo, and was recorded inside a church, which adds a wonderful ambience to the recording.

From the opening notes of this album, any listener familiar with the Polish Jazz scene is immediately transferred a few decades into the past, when the Polish Jazz scene was majestically emerging in the late 1960s as one of the most important Jazz World centers. A young trumpeter named Tomasz Stanko was one of the great hopes of that scene and in years to come he evolved into one of the top World Jazz Masters. Fortuna's playing evokes exactly the same feelings and emotions, which early Stanko recordings stirred then. The same vibrato, staccato, tone and even melodic motifs are present here, with the same intensity, expressiveness and brilliance. Also the unusual setting of a trumpet / piano duo has been utilized by Stanko some thirty years earlier on the album "Korozje" recorded with pianist Andrzej Kurylewicz.

Of course the tonal similarity does not imply, not even in the slightest, that this is a form of replication or copying pre-existing music. On the contrary, this music, in spite of the fact that it brings up fond memories of great music from the past, is completely and utterly original. Fortuna and Dys, who emerges as a wonderful co-creator, manage to create a world of their own, where the combination of the two spirits turns out to become greater that the sum of its ingredients. The music portrays a rare affinity between musicians who shift lead responsibilities between themselves, compliment each other with great sensitivity, respect each other's space and individuality and above all communicate. Consequently this is not only an example of great music but also a living proof of camaraderie and musical co-existence of the highest level.

This album is surely one of the strongest releases on the Polish Jazz scene in 2013 and a candidate to the "classic" status in the days to come. It is also probably the strongest statement made so far by Fortuna, although all his recordings to date are simply excellent. I'd even go as far as saying that I wish Maestro Stanko would return to playing music like this one… This album is an absolute must to every Polish / European Jazz connoisseur!

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