Friday, May 12, 2017

Grzech Piotrowski – Six Seasons (2016)

Grzech Piotrowski

Grzech Piotrowski - saxophone
Marcin Wasilewski - piano
Jarosław Stokowski - bass
Robert Luty - drums
Mariusz Patyra - violin
Mateusz Smoczyński - violin
Aleksandra Jarosińska - viola
Krzysztof Lenczowski - cello

Six Seasons


By Adam Baruch

This is the seventh album by Polish Jazz saxophonist/composer Grzech Piotrowski (a.k.a. Grzegorz Piotrowski), recorded in a quartet setting with pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Jarosław Stokowski and drummer Robert Luty, and with a superb string quartet, which includes violinists Mariusz Patyra and Mateusz Smoczyński, violist Aleksandra Jarosińska and cellist Krzysztof Lenczowski. The album presents six original compositions, all by Piotrowski, named after the usual four seasons with two additional seasons added ("pre-spring" and "pre-winter"), which together constitute a suite-like structure.

The music is an ambitious Jazz-Classical Fusion project, beautifully melodic and gently flowing from one part of the suite to another, full of melancholy and tranquility. In some respects it often sounds like a soundtrack of an imaginary movie, inspiring colorful visions in the mind of the listener. It is all about precision, delicate relationships between the harmonies and elegant melodic vistas, with no much space left for spontaneity.

The performances by all the participants are perfectly suited to this specific musical environment, with Jazzy improvisation being relatively limited, due to the strict arrangements, but nevertheless quite impressive. This album is not intended to present individual virtuosity as much as it is about coordinated effort, perfectly matched and working towards a common goal.

Some critics will probably say that this music is way too sweet and organized and borders on Smooth Jazz or even pastiche. Admittedly, such music as presented herein, quite often ventures into these territories, but in this specific case it does not happen at all. Yes, the music is pleasant and easy on the ear, but at the same time it is full of original melodic themes, superb orchestration and arrangements, topped with flawless execution. There is an obvious effort and talent invested here by Piotrowski, and the resulting music can be seen as a tribute to Romanticism and Classical Music tradition, wonderfully intertwined with contemporary tools of the trade, used in Jazz and Pop.

Personally I had a wonderful time listening to this music, which despite its pleasurable appearance, offers many inspiring moments, superb instrumental solos and fifty minutes of calmness and tranquility, which in our world happen way to infrequently. The album comes in a hand-made packaging, which adds another highly personal dimension to the entire project. Definitely not for everybody, but hopefully many listeners will find this gorgeous music deeply moving and penetrating their souls.

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