Thursday, November 2, 2017

Almost Jazz Group – Fade Out (2017)

Almost Jazz Group

Paweł Nowak - accordion
Ignacy Jan Wiśniewski - piano
Maciej Sadowski - double bass
Antoni Wojnar - drums

Fade Out


By Adam Baruch

This is the third album by the Polish quartet called Almost Jazz Group, led by accordionist/composer Paweł Nowak and pianist/composer Ignacy Jan Wiśniewski. The rhythm section comprises of bassist Maciej Sadowski and drummer Antoni Wojnar. The album presents eight original compositions: two each by Nowak and Wiśniewski, three by Sadowski and one by Wojnar.

The quartet's name accurately describes the music that it presents, which is borderline Jazz, based on melodic themes which serve as basis for the improvisations, which are very tamed and stay within the strict mainstream idiom, bordering on Groove, Smooth Jazz and even Pop. Nevertheless the music is very well composed, coherent and harmonically pleasing, without being trivial or crossing over to kitsch.

Personally I love the accordion's sound and regret it is such a neglected instrument in Jazz, in spite of its enormous potential. The subtle balance between the accordion and the piano creates a wonderful atmosphere, which suits both the melancholic ballads and the swinging pieces. The bass supports the soloist amicably and very accurately, adding a crucial ingredient to the music. The drums are a bit too Rocky at times for this kind of music, but nothing dramatic which would break the charm. Both Nowak and Wisniewski play excellently and with obvious emotional involvement.

Overall this is a very pleasant, somewhat nostalgic album, very well recorded, which offers a splendid listening experience to connoisseurs of the lighter side of the Jazz spectrum, but still being honest, superbly played and definitely worthy of listening. I had a great fun listening to it and I'm sure it will work for many other listeners as well – recommended!

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