Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, Michal Miskiewicz: Trio (2005)
Trio is shorthand for pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz, and drummer Michal Miskiewicz, the talented Polish rhythm section that has backed trumpeter Tomasz Stanko on his last two ECM albums. This is the group's first domestic release sans Stanko, but the trio sustains intriguing atmospheres throughout.
It's tempting to invoke another longstanding ECM piano trio when describing this one. But while the level of group interaction reminds the listener of Keith Jarrett's work, in eschewing the blues in both form and feel, Trio is more in the lineage of Bill Evans.
There is a ruminative quality to much of the album, as if the trio were having a conversation, its members searching for just the right words. (The first and last tracks, two of five unrehearsed group improvisations, are titled "Trio Conversation. ) "Roxana's Song, by Polish composer Karol Szymanowski, feels like a long introduction, as if the trio were building to a main statement; it never arrives, but paradoxically this creates a satisfying effect.
In the absence of Stanko, Wasilewski emerges as the group's principal composer. His elegant "Shine occupies the center of the album and here and elsewhere, subtleties of melody and form emerge with repeated listening. His playing features spacious harmonies and melodic lines with wide intervals; when a rare blue note comes along, the effect is jarring, like being woken from a dream.
While the trio as a whole shows remarkable cooperative playing, in particular enough good things cannot be said for drummer Miskiewicz. Throughout Trio his energetic and off-beat interjections help lift the music off terra firma.
Track Listing: 1. Trio Coversation (introduction); 2. Hyperballad; 3. Roxana's Song; 4. K.T.C.; 5. Plaza Real; 6. Shine; 7. Green Sky; 8. Sister's Song; 9. Drum Kick; 10. Free-bop; 11. Free Combinations for Three Instruments; 12. Entropy; 13. Trio Coversation (the end).
Personnel: Marcin Wasilewski, piano; Slawomir Kurkiewicz, bass; Michal Miskiewicz, drums.