Sunday, April 19, 2015

HoTS – Harmony Of The Spheres (2015)


Mikołaj Poncyljusz - guitar
Radek Nowak - trumpet
Adam Prokopowicz - double bass
Jakub Kinsner - drums

Harmony Of The Spheres

V 006

By Adam Baruch

This is the debut eponymous album by the young Polish Jazz quartet Harmony Of The Spheres (a.k.a. HoTS), led by guitarist/composer Mikołaj Poncyljusz, which also includes trumpeter Radek Nowak, bassist Adam Prokopowicz and drummer Jakub Kinsner. The album presents eight original compositions, all by the leader.

There is no doubt that HoTS emerges as a fresh voice on the local melodic mainstream scene, which happens relatively rarely. Their minimalistic, reserved and very "cool" approach is instantly recognizable and bears a certain "retro" approach reminiscent of early European Jazz. The music is lyrical and melodic, with the melody lines clearly stated in the heads of all the tracks, using typically the trumpet as the leading melodic voice. The guitar serves mostly as the harmonic accompaniment behind the trumpet's solo work, when not soloing of course. The rhythm section serves as the backbone of the music, keeping excellent time but staying mostly in a respectful background. The pulsating bass lines are kept well on the level with the soloists, but the drums are (it seems) kept down in the mix and are often barely audible in the overall sound, which creates a very spacey and open ambience, with lost of breathing air, which serves the music perfectly.

The trumpet is definitely placed in the centre of the listener's attention and gets most of the limelight. Nowak plays some very impressive passages for sure and his overall performance is formidable, especially in view of his age. Poncyljusz emerges mainly as a composer, although his guitar work is also without reproach. The sound of the guitar uses too much reverb, which can be unnerving at times, but obviously the band is still seeking its definitive sound and is doing quite well so far.

This is definitely a formidable debut and HoTS will slowly gain a respected position and the European Jazz scene once they hit the clubs and festivals circuit and continue to release albums of such quality as this one. Wholeheartedly recommended of course!

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