Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January (ECM)

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The Marcin Wasilewski Trio: New York 2007
Marcin Wasilewski Trio: January (ECM)

If you go to the Thomas Stanko essay/review under Absolute Elsewhere (see tag) you may read at the end my cheap witticism about the names of these guys.

That said, it works for me -- I took one look at the names here (pianist Marcin Wasilweski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz) and remembered them immediately.

When you are teaching little ones to read they call unusual words like "hippopotamus" and "Lorax" high-interest words -- and because they are the kids remember them. I sure remembered these high-interest names here because previous albums by this trio -- notably their debut album Trio for the ECM label in 2005, and when they play with Stanko -- have always been very special.

An "appealingly austere sound" I called that of Trio -- and this new one is only marginally more lush. But lush, it ain't.

These guys can be as spacious as the rolling landscape of Poland, and it doesn't matter if they are interpreting Prince (Diamonds and Pearls), Gary Peacock (Vignette) or their originals from pianist Wasilweski.

Marcin does let a little romanticism creep in on the Prince piece, but mostly they play in an almost pointillistic manner where less becomes so much more over the 10 tracks.

Part impressionistic (Balladyna) and part abstract (the very lively and Monk-like treatment of Carla Bley's King Korn), they gently dissect melodies and reconstruct them with considerable care.

If that doesn't sound like much fun then the failing is in my description: there is also a lightness of touch which can be quirky and humorous and this is some way more approachable than that impressive Trio album.

But still very Elsewhere.

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