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A mature statement by a still-young Polish band that already has 15 years of playing experience behind it. All group members shine here, with
Marcin Wasilewski again impressive as one of the most outstanding jazz pianists of his generation. The group has already a strong and still-growing
following both in their own right and as members of the Tomasz Stanko Quartet. (Additionally, profiles of pianist Wasilewski and bassist Kurkiewicz have been raised by their membership of the Manu Katché Group). Remarkably broad program of material. Repertoire includes music by Prince, Carla Bley, Gary Peacock, Tomasz Stanko, Ennio Morricone as well as original tunes by Wasilewski. This impressive album, coupled with the tour dates, will catapult this group to the spotlight of
the jazz community.
This is the young Polish piano trio that surfaced with that country s veteran jazz-trumpet star Tomasz Stanko
a few years back, and made a big impact on their own account with their debut for ECM in 2005. Part of the
group s secret is the patient ease with which they intertwine impressionistic music and powerful pulses, and
here Wasilewski s strong originals once again give much of the set its backbone.... The album may not appear
to be trying to hit you between the eyes, but in the long run it does that anyway. --The Guardian (UK)
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The production of the recording is just amazing and yet very typical for ECM. I expect nothing but pure perfection from them. I wouldn't tolerate any less in terms of engineering.
The music on this record is much more focused than their last one, which was simply titled "Trio." That record had many great moments, but I think the sound here is more cohesive and organic. The song selection is also much better.
Some highlights for me were "Vignette," "Diamonds And Pearls," "The Cat," and the title track, but in all honesty they are really good. The only one that I didn't particularly like was "King Korn" it was more of a free-form piece and I just thought it kind of ruined the flow of the album, but that is just a little gripe.
The interplay between Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, and Michal Miskiewicz is really astounding. They have really formed a tight bond over the last couple of years of playing with Stanko. I think he made them so much stronger.
I recommend "January' to anyone who's a fan of Bill Evans and to anyone interested in hearing a jazz piano trio with a lot of class.
Although they've obviously been influenced by the Keith Jarrett Trio, Wasilewski, Kurkiewicz and Miskiewicz have an unique and excellent style all their own.
Pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz have been playing together since their school days. These musicians know each other's playing very well. At their best they sound like 3 players playing the same chess game. In 2001, they played as a group with Tomaz Stanko and even later, with Jan Gabarek, another legend. I like them even more on their own.
The inevitable comparison to the Keith Jarrett Trio comes to mind so I listened to the live recording from London, "Inside Out" before writing this review. My first impression was that this group seems a touch slower than the Keith Jarrett Trio, a little less confident, a tiny bit more hesitant and certainly less challenging to the listener. Keep in mind that there is no really complex improvisional material on "January" as in "Inside Out".
Keith Jarrett`s play on "Riot" from "Inside Out" is amazing. Pianist Marcin Wasilewski is a superb musician but Keith Jarrett is such a genius. It's evident that Wasilewski is a step behind Jarrett in speed technique. Although I love Kurkiewicz on bass, Gary Peacock is really at another level as well. The surprise is the drummer, Miskiewicz. He may be the equal of Jack DeJohnette, an evaluation which may upset some of you.
When comparing the two CDs, "January" is more laid-back, less challenging to the listener. I find it much more enjoyable as well. Pianist Marcin Wasilewski doesn't take off into complex avant-garde improvisations as does Jarrett. "Inside Out" unapologetically challenges the listener into concentrated, focused listening. "January" is more inviting and presents itself to the listener in a more relaxed format. There is complex interplay here but not nearly as demanding.
"January" is a wonderful CD. So is their first release, "Trio". I hope ECM continues to develop this group because they will get even better with time!
The trio of young, yet seasoned, musicians doesn't break new ground as much as play jazz (cool, easy listening, reflective and intuitive) in a way that makes you forget about them and go into the music. They may be influenced heavily by Keith Jarrett, but I don't think I could make such a comment (and compliment) about him. Marcin Wasilewski on piano is clearly the leader (with the majority of the writing credits), but Slawomir Kurkiewicz (double bass) and Michal Miskiewicz (drums) both hold their own and blend seamlessly as well. And January is especially seamless. Fresh and grounded, soothing yet not dull, youthful and new but worthy of classic traditional distinction....these guys are great; bravo!