Marcin Wasilewski Trio
Polish pianist Marcin Wasilewski is a disciple of the great trumpeter/composer Tomasz Stańko – in fact Wasilewski’s rhythm section (Slawomir Kurkiewicz on double bass, Michal Miskiewicz: drums) were former Stańko sidemen too. So this, the trio’s first live album (recorded in 2016, released in late 2018) is dedicated to the memory of their former leader – one of the most important Polish musicians and one of the greats of modern free-jazz.
This trio works lithely through a set of mostly originals – alternating between ballads and more frenetic post-bop excursions – with clever arrangement of two covers, The Police’s Message in a Bottle (where Miskiewicz gets to shine with a lengthy solo in the spaces in and around Masilewski’s piano notes) and a closing romp through the Herbie Hancock staple, Actual Proof.
There are dazzling displays of musicianship throughout this album – and the swell of the music is emotionally vibrant. Take Three Reflections which has a gentile statement of theme before the propulsive rhythm section takes it higher, faster, harder…
There’s multiple syncopations to Night Train To You as the piano, bass and drums all take their turns to provide the funk – we’ll hear more of that on the closer, Actual Proof.
But in terms of sustained balladry, Austin is a beautiful piano piece with a wash of cymbals and swirl of bass in support.
The trio reminds me, often, of e.s.t. at their best. The Bobo Stenson Trio too. But there’s some of Keith Jarrett’s lushness in Wasilewski’s approach. And little hints of late-night Bill Evans in the balladic moments too.
A love piano trio album full of highlights.