Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Artur Dutkiewicz Trio - Comets Sing (2021)

Artur Dutkiewicz Trio

Artur Dutkiewicz - piano
Michał Barański - doublebass
Adam Zagórski - drums

Comets Sings

By Maciej Nowotny (link do polskiej wersji tekstu)

Good Lord! What a nice surprise. After all, Artur Dutkiewicz's trio has been present on the Polish stage - although in changing lineups – already for few decades. But let's start from the beginning. The permanent member of the trio is Michał Barański, bassist, who he has been playing since I don't remember when. In Poland he need not to be introduced or recommended to anybody, teacher, very sought-for sideman, great musician. Ages ago, before him, this position in the trio was occupied by phenomenal Darek Oleszkiewicz. There were more changes on the drums. For many years this spot was owned by well-known Łukasz Żyta, with whom, not surprisingly, it was difficult for the leader to part. Then came the young and talented Sebastian Frankiewicz, who stayed with the trio for couple of years and made a great name for himself. Apparently, time has matured for yet another change  on this position, because on the latest album we have another rising drumming star, 30-year-old Adam Zagórski, whose contribution to the sound of this album cannot be overestimated.

Of course, the leader himself does not need to be introduced. He has its place in the history of Polish jazz with his collaboration with Tomek Szukalski in duo and in his quartet being remembered by every Polish jazz fan. But with this album he proves that he still has motivation and creativity to write another chapter in history of Polish jazz and his trio. Despite of age he again manages to surprise, and his latest album, I dare say, may not only be his best album in years, but perhaps the best one at all.

What is so fresh and surprising in latest release by Dutkiewicz and his partners? First of all it is a bolder approach to improvisation. The structures are more open. Although the trio's machine remains disciplined, the equivalence of the instruments remains the credo, the music matters has the direction, and the moods are not random, the means of expression are chosen more spontaneously and a drop of madness has appeared in this music. The effect is captivating. In terms of pure sound, the album is stunning: its concreteness, weigh, mass is simply awesome (great credit to recording engineer). Still more important are formal features of this music: the changeability of rhythms, juggling with harmonies, charismatic melodies. They all contributed to successfully reconciling Scandinavian coolness and Slavic emotionality. It sounds as astounding as it reads, especially praiseworthy for the artist who in his mature age was not afraid  to throw himself into the Unknown. Bravo!

To summarize: the record is just great. Mainstream fans will find a language that sounds familiar enough for them to recognize themselves in the mirror. Free jazz fans in turn, will be amazed that Dutkiewicz sounds like their rebellious idols, but technically better and more mature conceptually. In short: Dutkiewicz is experiencing a second youth, which we are the first to officially announce on the Polish Jazz blog (just a joke of course, we are sure others will also notice it as well, and I predict more positive reviews of this album in various places).

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