Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Rafał Sarnecki – Climbing Trees (2018)

Rafał Sarnecki

Rafał Sarnecki - guitar
Bogna Kicińska - voice
Lucas Pino - tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Glenn Zaleski - piano
Rick Rosato - bass
Colin Stranahan - drums

Climbing Trees


By Adam Baruch

This is the fourth album by Polish (resident in NY) guitarist/composer Rafał Sarnecki and the second album recorded with the same sextet, which includes vocalist Bogna Kicińska, saxophonist Lucas Pino, pianist Glenn Zaleski, bassist Rick Rosato and drummer Colin Stranahan. The album presents ten original compositions, all composed by Sarnecki.

The music is a continuation of the path paved by this album's predecessor "Cat`s Dream", which amalgamates a plethora of different influences, including modern mainstream Jazz, but also adding World Music influences and contemporary Classical approach. This album is significantly more open and Freely Improvised than his previous recordings, and as such is noticeably more difficult and complex than anything he recorded earlier on.

All of the sextet members contribute significantly towards the overall result, each in his special way. Kicinska's vocalese parts are a highlight of the music and she manages to handle the complex and neck breaking parts with stunning ease and elegance. Zaleski lays down the harmonic layers and plays splendid solos, Pino is the calm and cool cat, who adds almost romantic elements, before his improvisations wander into the Free vicinity. The rhythm section handles the tricky tempi and constantly changing beat with flair and obvious dedication and finesse.

Sarnecki limits his guitar performances to the same level of presence as the rest of the band, definitely not dominating the music with his guitar parts, which are just one more voice of the sextet's overall output. He is obviously a very gifted instrumentalist, but his role on this album concentrates on the compositional level, leadership of the sextet and production.

Overall this is a strong, mature statement, which takes Sarnecki one step further towards his own voice as a composer and instrumentalist, with the music being certainly more ambitious and demanding. Some listeners might need several listening sessions before penetrating the depth of this music, but this ambitious music definitely deserves to be heard and admired. Well done!

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