Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kuba Stankiewicz – The Music Of Bronisław Kaper (2016)

Kuba Stankiewicz

Kuba Stankiewicz - piano
Darek Oleszkiewicz - bass
Peter Erskine - drums

The Music Of Bronisław Kaper


By Adam Baruch

This is the second installment in a series of albums by Polish Jazz pianist/composer Kuba Stankiewicz dedicated to the music written by the composers of Polish/Jewish origins, who are know primarily as the great American composers of many classic Jazz standards, and their true origins are almost completely unheard of. Same as its predecessor, which was dedicated to the music of Victor Young ("The Music Of Victor Young"), this album was recorded by the piano trio with Polish (resident in the US) bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz and veteran American drummer Peter Erskine and presents this time nine compositions by Bronisław Kaper (two of which were co-composed by Walter Jurmann, his musical partner for many years), including his most famous standards and a few much lesser know pieces.

Stankiewicz, as usual, took great pains to conduct a serious research about the composer's life and music before he selected the compositions included on this album. He is definitely quite a perfectionist in what he does, and this deserves our outmost admiration. The album includes a very educational write-up about Kaper by Anna Ferens as well as an introductory text by Stankiewicz (in Polish and English) and the album's artwork continues the design originated on the previous album. In short this is a very professional and highly aesthetic piece of music production in every aspect.

The music is of course divine, its beauty timeless and these particular performances treat it with the respect these classics deserve. Stankiewicz and his cohorts play sparingly and delicately, treating each and every note like it was a priceless jewel. The rhythm section accompanies the pianist amicably and harmoniously, filling in the space but never disturbing the piano melody line and the improvised sections.

In many respects this is a classic piano trio with a dream team playing perfect music – what else can we ask for. This is the Jazz traditions at its best, without being pretentious or condescending. It is an absolute must for all piano trio connoisseurs, and a great piece of Jazz history. As usual Stankiewicz, who happens to be a friend of mine, emerges victorious and highly accomplished, for which all lovers of great Jazz, myself included, thank him wholeheartedly. Not to be missed!

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