Sunday, March 11, 2018

Leszek Kułakowski feat. Mikael Godee/Ebba Westerberg - Chopin Impressions (2017)

Leszek Kułakowski feat. Mikael Godee/Ebba Westerberg

Leszek Kułakowski - piano
Mikael Godee - soprano saxophone
Piotr Kułakowski - double bass
Tomasz Sowiński - drums
Ebba Westerberg - percussion

Chopin Impressions


By Adam Baruch

This is an album by veteran Polish Jazz pianist / composer / bandleader / educator Leszek Kułakowski, recorded in a quintet setting with Polish rhythm section: bassist Piotr Kułakowski (Leszek's son), drummer Tomasz Sowiński with Swedish saxophonist Mikael Godee and percussionist Ebba Westerberg. Together they perform eight compositions by the Polish Classical composer Frederic Chopin, arranged for a Jazz quintet by Kułakowski and Godee, each contributing four arrangements.

Over the years Chopin inspired Polish Jazz musicians very often and the number of Jazz albums based on Chopin's music is truly abundant. Kułakowski visited Chopin's music several times throughout his recording career, but obviously his fascination with the essence of Polish music, which Chopin represents more than any other Polish composer, refuses to let go.

This album presents a more gentle and reflective approach to Chopin's music than Kułakowski's earlier recordings. The intrinsic melancholy dominates the proceedings and the minimalistic and delicate touches of the keyboard are the most essential and enjoyable moments this music offers. The saxophone parts are mostly straightforward leaving the centre stage as far as improvisation is concerned to the piano. The soprano saxophone sounds a bit like flute at times. The rhythm section does a beautiful job filling the blanks and keeping the pulse of the music clear and steady. The percussion parts are mostly decorative and are typically heard on the up-tempo pieces.

Overall this is a fine album, which should make the many connoisseurs of Jazzed up version of Chopin's music very happy, especially since it includes some of the most well known pieces composed by Chopin. It is made with obvious love of the subject matter and profound dedication and is a true joy to listen to.

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