Thursday, February 1, 2018

Stanisław Słowiński Sextet – Visions|Between Love And Death (2017)

Stanisław Słowiński Sextet

Stanisław Słowiński - violin
Zbigniew Szwajdych - trumpet, flugelhorn
Szymon Mika - guitar
Kuba Płużek - piano
Justyn Małodobry - double bass
Dawid Fortuna - drums

Visions|Between Love And Death


By Adam Baruch

This is the second album by Polish Jazz violinist/composer Stanisław Słowiński, recorded in a sextet setting with two of the musicians who played on his debut: trumpeter Zbigniew Szwajdych and bassist Justyn Małodobry and three new players: guitarist Szymon Mika, pianist Kuba Płużek and drummer Dawid Fortuna. Vocalist Joanna Slowińska guests on one track. The album presents seven original compositions, six of which were composed by Słowiński and one is a collective improvisation.

The music is a continuation of the approach initiated by the debut, with major emphasis on the compositions, which have a suite-like structure, such that the entire album could be considered as one continuous piece of music. Although clearly melody based, the music allows individual freedom of expression and personal interpretation by the sextet members. The melodic themes are again mostly very lyrical and somewhat melancholic, but at the same time dynamic and multi-layered enough to keep the listener at his toes.

As expected form the sextet's lineup, which consists of some of the most prominent representatives of the young Polish Jazz scene, the individual contributions are all fabulous. Szwajdych is the romantic element, Mika the Fusion oriented vigorous voice and the leader takes the role of a charmer, with his violin seductively swirling around the basic melody lines. With these three front-line players sadly there is very little solo space left for Płużek, who is an excellent player but is limited here mostly (except for one track) to the role of an accompanist, which of course he fulfills perfectly. The dynamic rhythm section is an integral part of the sextet and steers the soloists safely across the sometimes troubled waters of the tricky compositions.

Overall this is an excellent sophomore album, which definitely stands up to the expectations aroused by the debut. The Polish Jazz violin school is proudly developing before our very eyes, which is a source of joy, and albums like this one confirm that Polish/European Jazz is doing well and manages to avoid stagnation. Well done indeed!

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