Sunday, November 26, 2017

Michał Bąk Quartetto - Quartetto (2017)

Michał Bąk Quartetto

Piotr Chęcki - tenor saxophone
Emil Miszk - trumpet
Michał Bąk - double bass
Sławek Koryzno - drums



By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by young Polish Jazz ensemble called Michał Bąk Quartetto (the Italian reference remains obscure), led by bassist/composer Michał Bak and also featuring trumpeter Emil Miszk, saxophonist Piotr Chęcki and drummer Sławomir Koryzno. Miszk, Chęcki and Koryzno are also members of the Algorhythm quartet, with another bass player. The album presents nine original compositions, all by Bąk.

In a recent conversation with a fellow Polish Jazz journalist the subject of debut albums by young Polish Jazz groups released in 2017 came up and the conclusion was that relatively very few of those albums dealt with Free (at least to some degree) Jazz, concentrating mostly on melody and harmony. This album, although still based on melodic themes, demonstrates a much wider degree of freedom, which balances the overall output very nicely.

The music is typical Modern Polish Jazz, based on beautifully lyrical/melancholic compositions, expanded into lengthy statements, full of opportunities for improvisation by the quartet members, which here demonstrate the freedom and space which can be achieved within music, which is still within the traditional boundaries of the idiom.

All the players on this album demonstrate a high level of professionalism and obvious talent, and to those who follow their consecutive recordings, also a consistent path of personal development. The fact that this quartet is pianoless and still manages to sound fully harmonic speaks firmly as to the quality of these musicians and their mutual respect and ability to cooperate. Miszk plays some superb solo trumpet parts and is also a great accompanist when playing behind Chęcki, who is the romantic soul most of the time but also delivers some truly biting solos. Bąk gets a lot of exposure as a bassist, both as part of the rhythm section and as a soloist, and his performances are all top notch. Koryzno is the rhythm machine driving the music forward and he is excellent both as an illustrator on the slow and free parts and the pusher behind the up-tempo swinging parts, demonstrating an overall exquisite drumming technique and feel.

Overall this is an impressive debut album, which presents daring, intelligent and adventurous music and brilliant personal abilities by the players. Connoisseurs of Modern Jazz, especially those following the Polish Jazz scene, are in for a refreshing, invigoration experience. Definitely one of the most interesting debuts of 2017 – highly recommended!

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